Unit upgrades in WW2

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heinzrondorf
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Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by heinzrondorf » Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:00 pm

In the game we can easily upgrade a unit, especially within the same unit family, by the click of a button. A Bf 109E can easily and for a very low prestige cost become a Bf 109F and a Panzer IVD can easily and overnight become a Panzer IVE or later.

This system of upgrading units in the game got me thinking about how it worked in real life WW2 where it was obviously a bit more complex.

I think we have all read in history books etc about dates when new versions of fighters and tanks were introduced and rolled out to fighter squadrons, panzer divisions etc but I never thought about the process behind it. How were existing planes, tanks etc "upgraded" and replaced when newer versions became available?

Were for instance Bf 109Es sent back to the factory to be “upgraded” when the F model became available? Or were older fighters now deemed inadequate for frontline service sent back to reserve squadrons and flight schools etc and replaced by factory new fighters for the frontline units? Or did they remain in service until they malfunctioned, were shot down, crashed etc and only then replaced by newer models while the old ones were used for spare parts?

Or was it “as usual”, a combination of different factors?

My example with Bf 109E/F and Panzer IVD/E are just examples so my questions are not about these particular units but in general.

I am very curious to hear people's thoughts on this, not just from the German perspective but in general.

fgiannet
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:54 pm

It is an interesting question and I think the answer depends on the nations industrial productivity along with their current fortunes in the war.

The British had good industrial productivity and could swap out/retire entire tank regiments in the beginning of the war. They could replace all the MK VIs of a regiment in Egypt with crusaders for instance. When they were hard pressed at El Alamein, however, you can find a wide range of tanks being used within the same brigade (Crusaders, Grants, Sherman’s, and sometimes a few Honeys as well). Their recent losses required them to make use of everything available. They would go back to swapping out whole units with new equipment once the strategic situation improved and supplies from the US increased (most British armored forces were using Sherman tanks by 1944 due to their availability).

Germany could switch out entire units over to new equipment early in the war (almost 1/2 of the tanks that invaded France were still Pz I or Pz IIs) but the immense logistical requirements of Barbarossa required them to use the equipment of their conquered enemies. 2 entire Panzer divisions were equipped with Czech tanks due to a lack of German tanks (approximately 1/4 of the total tanks were still Pz Is and Pz IIs). These were phased out in 1942 and used, as you intelligently suggested, as trainers as well as for other uses (as antiaircraft platforms, for use in Yugoslavia against ill equipped partisans, etc.). There was rarely any (if ever) “down time” on the Eastern Front so units often only retired an entire class of equipment when they were pulled from the line and relocated. I have read about units officially receiving new equipment but have seen the older equipment in action with the same unit in pictures from a later date. The needs were always dire and the unit frontages were very large, regardless of the sector, on the Eastern Front. They did not have the luxury of letting equipment go easily (even if it was obsolete). Losses were so high that attrition could quickly consume older equipment as well (it is hard to comprehend how much fighting took place everyday on the Eastern Front).

The Soviets had both a high industrial productivity (once the relocated factories in Urals were up and running) and high attrition so units could fight until practically nonexistent and be reformed entirely with upgraded/new equipment. Entire units could swap out old for new equipment before large offensives as well due to their high national productivity (although there were reports of BT-7s being used even in 1943 so the Soviets did not let equipment go to waste either).

Logistics were an important consideration as well as the overall change to the equipment. You have to carry spare parts for everything (the main German Tank Depots behind each Eastern Front Army Group we’re actually manned by civilians) or cannibalize parts from other tanks of the same model if you do not (equipment could be “relocated” from the Eastern Front only to arrive in Germany as an entirely stripped down hull). How much of an upgrade is important as well. Has the fuselage of the plane been changed or are only machine gun blister packs being added (in which case it is a simple field modification). An entire unit could be “re-equipped” with the “new model” in under a week with field modifications performed at the airbase. In other cases, it is as you have said, a squadron in Germany receives all new Fock-Wulfs while the old 109s equip another squadron or replace losses in Russia.

The US had a strong industrial productivity without a dire strategic situation so you could see whole units switch out equipment at once. An example of this is their tank destroyers switching out M-3 halftracks for M-10s before Operation Husky. The Allies are deciding when to invade so they can do this. The initiative rests entirely with them and there is no dire necessity to keep old equipment in the field. Once they were in France you could see new equipment being phased in, such as the M-36 for the M-18 in a tank destroyer battalion, due to urgent matters in the field but everything would be swapped out within weeks. At this point the US had massive productivity and the initiative to do so. *It is interesting how the US Panzer Corps Campaign revives the old WW2 US Tank Destroyer Doctrine. I don’t know if this was intentional but it certainly was how the US Army planned to fight enemy tanks.*

This is what I think based on my study of the subject but I too would love to hear other information or anecdotes regarding upgrades.

Cerberus51
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Cerberus51 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:28 am

The true cost of upgrading a unit depends on what is actually required to be done. The cost of upgrading a complete Russian tank regiment, both in game and in real life, from T34/41's to T34/43's is pretty minimal. Obviously you have to replace all the tanks and some upgrading of the supply chain for replacement parts would also be needed. However there is no need for much training or anything else. Upgrading a 76mm gun T34 to a T34-85 on the other hand is a bigger change. Likewise, the RAF upgrading a squadron of Spitfire VB's to Spitfire Mk IX's is not such a big change in itself (although the IX is significantly better than the VB at high altitude).

So in PzC it depends on what you are changing a s to what it should cost.

Real life is generally more messy. In WW2 units could be withdrawn from active service and completely re-equipped but unless they were being reconstituted after heavy losses it was probably not that common to completely upgrade a unit. What actually tended to happen was piecemeal upgrades. So a German infantry battalion would get some new equipment, such as enough MG 42's to replace MG 34's in half of its infantry companies. That would complicate supply of spare parts and would require some retraining. Or tanks would be replaced with new models to cover losses leading to units fielding a mixture of tank models and having to cope with all the inherent difficulties of that - which would adversely affect the effectiveness of the unit.

As the war progressed the Western allies, backed by US production, became more inclined to pull units out, completely upgrade and retrain them and then send them back to front line service. Conversely Germany became unable to do the same and tended more and more to piecemeal replacement of equipment.

So the game does not fully reflect reality but no game can without becoming bogged down in detail.

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by PeteMitchell » Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:40 pm

For Germany, maybe worth noting that certain divisions were often prioritized for receiving (the limited) new equipment (e.g. Panther and Tiger as well as other motorized/mechanized equipment), and then also often used in some sort of "firefighting style", i.e. at various different places along the moving front, e.g.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzergre ... eutschland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_SS_Pa ... olf_Hitler
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481

heinzrondorf
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by heinzrondorf » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:35 am

fgiannet wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:54 pm
Germany could switch out entire units over to new equipment early in the war (almost 1/2 of the tanks that invaded France were still Pz I or Pz IIs) but the immense logistical requirements of Barbarossa required them to use the equipment of their conquered enemies. 2 entire Panzer divisions were equipped with Czech tanks due to a lack of German tanks (approximately 1/4 of the total tanks were still Pz Is and Pz IIs). These were phased out in 1942 and used, as you intelligently suggested, as trainers as well as for other uses (as antiaircraft platforms, for use in Yugoslavia against ill equipped partisans, etc.). There was rarely any (if ever) “down time” on the Eastern Front so units often only retired an entire class of equipment when they were pulled from the line and relocated. I have read about units officially receiving new equipment but have seen the older equipment in action with the same unit in pictures from a later date. The needs were always dire and the unit frontages were very large, regardless of the sector, on the Eastern Front. They did not have the luxury of letting equipment go easily (even if it was obsolete). Losses were so high that attrition could quickly consume older equipment as well (it is hard to comprehend how much fighting took place everyday on the Eastern Front).
Thank you for a very well written and good post!

I think this is in turn opens up another very interesting question both in real life and in the game. Do you reward your best, experienced, units with new equipment or do you assign the newest, most modern, equipment to less experienced, greener units.

The experienced units “deserve it” and could go from being a good unit to a great unit if given the most modern equipment. However, the greener units perhaps “need it” more and it could make the difference of the unit surviving in the battlefield altogether.

It’s a tough call and I can see arguments for both cases. I can definitely see it affecting morale if the experienced units find out that green units are getting better equipment than they have. Experienced units then sort of become “victims of their own success” who are expected to do more with less just because they have done well in the past. On the other hand, it is difficult for green units as it is so they need all the help they can get in order to survive.
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:40 pm
For Germany, maybe worth noting that certain divisions were often prioritized for receiving (the limited) new equipment (e.g. Panther and Tiger as well as other motorized/mechanized equipment), and then also often used in some sort of "firefighting style", i.e. at various different places along the moving front, e.g.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzergre ... eutschland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_SS_Pa ... olf_Hitler
How did the different nations see this dilemma during the war and what would you (everyone reading this) do if you had to make these kind of decisions? Obviously this type of decision was more of an issue for Germany than for the U.S and Soviet Union especially at the end of the war.
Last edited by heinzrondorf on Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

heinzrondorf
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by heinzrondorf » Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:43 am

Cerberus51 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:28 am
Real life is generally more messy. In WW2 units could be withdrawn from active service and completely re-equipped but unless they were being reconstituted after heavy losses it was probably not that common to completely upgrade a unit. What actually tended to happen was piecemeal upgrades. So a German infantry battalion would get some new equipment, such as enough MG 42's to replace MG 34's in half of its infantry companies. That would complicate supply of spare parts and would require some retraining. Or tanks would be replaced with new models to cover losses leading to units fielding a mixture of tank models and having to cope with all the inherent difficulties of that - which would adversely affect the effectiveness of the unit.
That's very interesting and one can imagine all the problems using and fielding many different types of equipment (within the same unit) leads to both in training, tactics and logistics/spare parts. What a nightmare.

Cerberus51
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Cerberus51 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:53 am

heinzrondorf wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:35 am
Do you reward your best, experienced, units with new equipment or do you assign the newest, most modern, equipment to less experienced, greener units.

The experienced units “deserve it” and could go from being a good unit to a great unit if given the most modern equipment. However, the greener units perhaps “need it” more and it could make the difference of the unit surviving in the battlefield altogether.

It’s a tough call and I can see arguments for both cases. I can definitely see it affecting morale if the experienced units find out that green units are getting better equipment than they have. Experienced units then sort of become “victims of their own success” who are expected to do more with less just because they have done well in the past. On the other hand, it is difficult for green units as it is so they need all the help they can get in order to survive.
PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:40 pm
For Germany, maybe worth noting that certain divisions were often prioritized for receiving (the limited) new equipment (e.g. Panther and Tiger as well as other motorized/mechanized equipment), and then also often used in some sort of "firefighting style", i.e. at various different places along the moving front, e.g.:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzergre ... eutschland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_SS_Pa ... olf_Hitler
How did the different nations see this dilemma during the war and what would you (everyone reading this) do if you had to make these kind of decisions? Obviously this type of decision was more of an issue for Germany than for the U.S and Soviet Union especially at the end of the war.
The situation for Germany was pretty straightforward. The best divisions got the best equipment as they were the ones who could make best use of it. So by the time of the Battle of the Bulge the Waffen SS units mostly had MP43 assault rifles compared to the regular Wehrmacht line infantry who were still using Kar98K rifles with a few G43's as well.

By 1945 what new army equipment there was went to the Waffen SS and a few elite Wehrmacht units. The handful of jet aircraft that were produced to specially formed units composed of the few experienced pilots left (Kommando Nowotny as one example).

What would I have done? Not got into that situation in the first place (I would like to think so anyway).

fgiannet
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:39 pm

Thank you for the kind words Hienzrondorf! This is the first forum I have ever joined and the first time I have ever had people to talk with about WW2 in-depth (as my roommate in the Army told me: “No one cares about this stuff NOW much less what they were doing 50 years ago”).

Your question about equipment is actually deep and delves into psychology. One of the hardest things to get a soldier to do is to kill another individual. It is actually very rare in nature as well. Species do not typically kill their own kind. Soldiers will shoot towards the enemy without aiming, they will reload weapons and give them to their buddies to use, or they can just go through the motions without actually firing. This is true even of US Civil War battles with tremendous high casualties. Those battles were fought over the course of many, many hours (days even) in order for the casualties to reach their height (I think around a 1/3rd of the weapons found on the Chancellorsville battleground were found double or even triple loaded because soldiers were often pretending to fire and then reloading). There was a great book, On Killing, written by an Army Ranger turned psychologist about the phenomenon. So the best equipment, bearing this fact in mind, goes to your best troops. That way it is being used to best effect (to kill the enemy). You might take care of your green troops by putting them in a quiet sector until they gain experience but you can’t take the chance of your newest/best equipment being destroyed because they “froze” when things “got real”. In some cases(armies) green troops are not worth anything until they survive their first battle (they will be used as cannon fodder before the veterans risk themselves). A real mercenary mindset prevails and they have to prove themselves first.

It is interesting to me that whenever people write about German successes on the Eastern Front they seem to focus mostly on tactics. This is important but I wonder if an even bigger factor is the fact that they were efficient killers after two years of war. The Soviet soldiers were still mostly “ordinary average guys” at this point, not instinctive killers, and high losses meant that there were often many new people relatively innocent to the horrors of war in the Soviet lines. I have read some German memoirs were the German soldiers, clearly suffering from very very deep PTSD, talk about wanting to kill people (arrogant rear line troops, etc.) while on leave in Germany (one soldier wrote his wife “Yes, I know very well why they won’t let me carry my firearm back home”). These hard men were quick to anger and could act on it without any remorse (which may be the most decisive factor on the battlefield). Patton once said; “Leadership is a mixture of character and tactics. If you are to be without, one let it be tactics.”

It also depends who is up the chain of command and how glorious the unit’s history. By 1944 most US infantry Divisions in France had a separate tank and antitank battalion attached to them. The 1st Infantry Division had 3 additional tank battalions attached for the invasion of Normandy. That means they had more tanks under their control than a standard tank division (or any other invading infantry division). Other times they would be assigned a combat command from the 3rd Armored division and, again, would have 4 tank battalions to an Armored Division’s 3. Their attached antitank bn was one of the first to get the M-36 Jackson as well (primarily because they were attached to the Big Red One). They were veterans and often the spearhead of operations but some divisions, such as the 3rd, 34nd, and 45th IDs actually logged more days in combat and received much less support (and press some would say). So having friends in high places helps as well.

With the 45th Infantry Division we can actually see the effects of sustained combat leading to a complete devaluing of human life. They had been in combat for around 511 days (one of the highest totals of any US Division in WW2 by a lot), no doubt suffered heavily from PTSD, and had numerous instances of killing non-combatants. Ideally, from a military perspective and to bring this back around, you would want the best equipment in their hands because they will actually be shooting to kill (and in some armies they will say they have earned it).

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Horseman » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:36 pm

Nice post fgiannet. I feel you make some very valid points here.

Studies have been done on the subject - I think it was something like 100,000 shots fired per casualty in WW2.

Studies have also shown that only around 15-20% of combatants actually fired their weapons at the enemy (and not all of those would have been AT someone rather than in the general direction I feel) - IIRC this study was based mainly on American troops but is reasonable to expect the numbers to not be too far off for most other nations.

Those are some quite amazing numbers.

Is it any wonder that a lot of propaganda during the war was aimed at dehumanising the enemy, we weren't fighting the German people but the "dirty Hun" for example.

In conclusion - Yes you give the best gear to your best troops. The ones you know will fight and Kill. (And the SS would have been number one for this because well, we all know our history)

Cerberus51
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Cerberus51 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:48 pm

I can't quote sources directly but there have been a number of studies of the causes of casualties in WW2, mostly for US divisions. The main finding was that artillery was the biggest cause of casualties. You can't get much more impersonal that turning dials and feeding shells into an artillery gun.

The other interesting finding was that a tiny proportion of soldiers were responsible for most of the casualties inflicted by infantry. The theory seemed to be that a proportion of soldiers were psychotic, either in a good way or a bad way. The good way is cases like the British sergeant who had taken raw recruits through training and on into Normandy. Confronted by a German bunker pinning his men down he ran forward, threw several grenades into the bunker and by the time his men caught up he was standing on top of the bunker with his Sten gun covering around 30 German soldiers who had their hands in the air. When asked why he did this his answer was that he could not let his lads go through that.

The bad way is summarised by a quote from a British soldier who served in the Falklands concerning another soldier who was more than willing to kill, that he was killed in action and that was probably the best outcome for everyone. Most of us, when confronted with someone who actively wants to kill you, have the sense to get out of there if at all possible.

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:19 am

Wow Horseman! That is a very intelligent thing to say about Propaganda. I had never thought about it in those terms. This way you are not killing someone with a wife and kids....someone like you....instead it is almost like hunting a “lower” species (which is a much more natural thing to do in nature). That actually further develops my concept on Barbarossa. The Germans were able to inflict such disproportionate casualties and conquer so much territory because they had many years, before the war even stared, of propaganda telling them the Soviets were “subhuman” in a sense (and the Germans were superhuman). Then the Soviet Propaganda caught up, along with the general effects of the war such as devastation/lost family members, and the Soviets wind up viewing the Germans in the same manner. Before long you have the bitterest conflict in modern history.

That is an excellent point Horseman. You can see it through history once you start to understand it. It explains why the Spanish Conquistadors were able to crush Aztec armies many times larger then their own. The Aztecs were fighting for slaves to sacrifice (fighting between neighbors often gets more ritualized and more bloodless as the centuries wear on, partly because they become more human to each other) while the Conquistadors are charging right at their leaders in order to kill them outright. The Aztecs were frightened by new technology, horses, etc. but the Spanish won battles over truly staggering numbers even after the Aztecs had lost some of their awe to them. Now you are really making my mind think.....I remember a story about the King of the Incas looking at a scouting party of Spanish Conquistadors. They were in camp and a knife fight broke out over a card game. The Incan king thought those men could not be too much trouble because they couldn’t even get along with themselves but he should have drawn the opposite conclusion. They were so dangerous precisely because they could kill (even each other) over trivial matters without remorse. Those Spanish, in that sense, were the real savages.

We can also see this during the Mexican-American War. Sometimes the Mexican Army outmaneuvered the US military and had a much greater position yet the US inflicts greater casualties and wins the battle. I am an America and I suspect the key difference was the American troops were much more savage, on average, then the Mexicans. Some of the first person accounts I have read made it clear the US troops did not feel they were killing people like themselves. Even the constant Mexican infighting/revolutions produced nowhere near the death those Americans brought them. Well that and.....

Crew served weapons! Hats Off to Cerebus51 for talking about crew served weapons! Crew served weapons often inflict more casualties for just the reasons observed by Cerebus51. It is less personal. Even machine guns can be deadly without being directly aimed at anyone in particular (“just keep sweeping it over the line mate!”). Many Mexican soldiers were killed by horse drawn US artillery while the US gunners were not aiming directly to kill individuals so much as at a crowd. The crew served weapons killed and not any individual member of the team (so they can feel free to keep firing as fast as they could load). This is also the logic behind the US entrenching tool being one of the most dangerous weapons in hand to hand combat. It is easier to hit someone with a shovel compared to plunging a bayonet into their chest. You might kill a man with a shovel but it doesn’t feel like that is what you are doing when you are doing it (forcing a blade into someone’s lungs is a different story). This is also why the US Army sharpened the edge of their entrenching tools; they understand the psychology of what happens. The further you are from the actual killing (in the artillery vs the trenches) the less likely you are to experience remorse/trauma from it even if you see the results of your weapon later.

Your comment about psychotics was spot on as well Cerebus51. Really, really, profound.

It is fascinating that a soldier who shot and killed someone can suffer from deep depression while a bomber crew, who may have killed thousands, can be untroubled because they were not aiming at anyone directly but that is often human psychology (neither participant has much choice in the matter, they are both being drawn into a much larger thing). That is why our governments owe it to us to keep our military engagements as clear as possible (because even when they are people take on a lot of trauma.....there have been war heroes, nationally recognized heroes even, who have taken their own lives because of what they experienced in completely clear and justified wars). People can volunteer for noble reasons and feel responsible when situations on the ground are not. In that book, On Killing, the author talked about how to thank a war veteran for their service. I can not remember it completely but some of the main points were to acknowledge that there is no way someone can understand what they went through (now matter how good the movie), they were asked to do the impossible, and they performed their duty bravely. I have stressed these points to a veteran I knew and it seemed to take a great burden off of him (in fact, we have not talked about Iraq since).

This forum is full of good people!

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:38 am

And...to bring it back to Panzer Corps....great job on their part for having a higher SA value for the German Infantry. Those crew served german machine guns provided great support (high rate of fire) at the squad and platoon level. Much better than the US equivalent (the Browning Automatic Rifle) and I think they even had more machine guns in a German Infantry Company compared to a US. More crew served weapons, more casualties inflicted, greater success at the small unit level. The Germans clearly understood the importance of this from the highest to the lowest levels. Success starts with the basics.

We aren’t just talking about weaponry (rate of fire, etc.) but psychology as well. How great is that!

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:23 am

fgiannet wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:38 am
And...to bring it back to Panzer Corps....great job on their part for having a higher SA value for the German Infantry. Those crew served german machine guns provided great support (high rate of fire) at the squad and platoon level. Much better than the US equivalent (the Browning Automatic Rifle) and I think they even had more machine guns in a German Infantry Company compared to a US. More crew served weapons, more casualties inflicted, greater success at the small unit level. The Germans clearly understood the importance of this from the highest to the lowest levels. Success starts with the basics.

We aren’t just talking about weaponry (rate of fire, etc.) but psychology as well. How great is that!
The German tactical doctrine was arguably the only one that recognised that the machine gun was the firepower of the squad and that the main purpose of the squad was to keep the machine gun in action. Adopting the MG34 then the MG42, the first true GPMG's, made that work. Even the MG42 had flaws. The rate of fire was limited by the barrel starting to melt after around 400 rounds of continuous fire, but good training and a barrel that could be changed in 7-8 seconds minimised the drawback. Add in that it was one of the few weapons that would keep firing even in the depths of a Russian winter and it was rightly very well regarded (so much so that when the German Army was reconstituted in the 1950's they preferred it to anything else available, took some original 42's out of museums and reverse engineered them to put the gun back into service). At a time when most armies used different weapons for squad and sustained fire roles and their squad weapons were magazine fed with 20 or 30 round magazines German infantry had a real advantage in this area.

That advantage was maximised because more than any other army, the Wehrmacht expected even relatively junior NCO's to use their initiative and get on and solve problems. This, even more than good weaponry, made German units so effective for much of WW2.

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:39 am

I would also like like to compliment the decorum of the forum (I am a poet and didn’t even know it).

People could trash the game over silly things, say things that are based solely on personal opinion, or even say things that were historically incorrect and this board has always kept a professional/balanced response. It really is unique among other forums.

I was hesitant to post about things because I felt, maybe, the board would be upset with me for being too real but you all are right along with the reality of things. We can enjoy the game, honor history, and begin to understand what people before us went through all at the same time.

I have read every post about the 2017 Tournament (I think it was 2017) and the main thing that sticks out to me is the commitment brotherhood and decorum. The overwhelming sense that people like goose_2 and slitherine professional staff wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy the experience rather then indulge in their own individual ego gratification (which is very natural).

I believe I once read of a player who stated he would “let other players get ahead in multiplayer just so they could feel confident and learn about the game”. No doubt an older gentleman but what an amazing amount of dignity. We are enjoying this together (opposing sides does not mean we have to be enemies). Truly a rare an forgotten sort of class exists on this board! And....I would have won even if he didn’t give me a wicked head start but anyway!!!! :lol: :oops: :roll:

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by fgiannet » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:25 am

Cerberus51, you are awesome man! You know your stuff. As I am reading your post things are trickling back into my brain (sometimes from over 30 years ago). All of what you said comes back to me except the part about their GPMG effectiveness in Russian winter. I don’t think that I have every read that (or at least remember it being stressed) but Holy Crow does that makes sense! Why won’t an excessively hot barrel be an asset in a -40 winter? And again, crew served weapon makes it even more important in the equation (you are always teaching me something and, after 30 plus years of studying the subject, I love to learn something new). I do remember reading about them reverse engineering 42s from museums in the 50s. That is wild to contemplate, right?!

Your statement about the NCOs is spot on, and still true for all armies today. I do not think there was a concept of “Blitzkrieg” in the German Army. The US might have even created the term. The German Army focused on individual initiative and successfully completing the mission. It was a very practical approach to war that prevailed at even at the lowest levels. I remember reading Guderian’s book. During the breakthrough to the English Channel he told his division commanders to keep going until they hit water. He did not tell them how to do it or even what to expect. They were division leaders and were expected to respond to situations as encountered.

At least early in the war. I remember reading a book about the destruction of Army Group Center during Operation Bagration. It was written by the Chief of Staff for the 3rd Panzer Army. Every time he spoke to Field Marshal Busch about things the guy almost always said the same thing; “I’ll call Hitler”. Field Marshal Busch was in charge of over 1/2 a million men but had to call Hitler for every little thing. Again, I am not criticizing him nor anyone who has been in battle (including people who have cut and run) because I have never been there. I just feel that there is an astonishing change in doctrine/expectations over a few short years. But then again.....the real/independent leaders were often removed by that point.....

Your awesome Cerberus51, you really know your stuff and I appreciate it. It really makes my day to read your input. Thanks.

Cerberus51
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Cerberus51 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:09 pm

One of the plus points about getting older is that you have had more time to read and learn about stuff. Military stuff has always been an interest of mine, ever since I started building model kits as a child.

I recently bought a book on the German infantryman by Haynes* (better known for their car maintenance manuals), at quite a good discount in a local store, It includes sections on the growth of the Heer in the 930's, education under the Nazi regime, uniforms, tactics, medical services and communications as well as weapons and equipment. The entry for the MG 42 notes that various factors would affect rate of fire and that it would be at the bottom of the scale, according to one commentator "firing several thousand rounds against attacking hordes of Red Army. Stuffed to gills with carbon residue, grit in rails, feeding from a frozen belt on the bank of the Dnepr during winter 43/44 when the temperature is -22C". Most weapons simply gave up in such comditions but the 42 didn't.

* German Infantryman, The German soldier 1939-1945, Operations Manual. ISBN 978 1 78521 168 3.
www.haynes.com

Well worth a look if you can pick a copy up at a reasonable price.

JaM2013
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 am

In some cases, tanks were actually upgraded in the field... for example Panzer IV received additional armor plates, so it practically become closer to different standard (PzIVD -> PzIVE - difference was just in 20mm applique plates applied on front hull and sides) For example many early M4 Shermans that did not have loader's hatch, had been modified and hatch was cut into old turret... so its quite situational and varies on type of weapon

and with Soviets, they actually lost huge amount of tanks, so there was no need to "swap" T34 M1940 for M1941.. units just got the new versions when they lost old one.

anyway, in game terms, i think upgrades should be allowed only for certain units where crew could take over without need to retrain (upgrade dont reduce XP) but, for others, even from same series, if they require retraining, they should be handled as a separate (PzIVD -> PzIVF1 - same gun, no need to retrain crew but PzIVF2 -got long gun, therefore gunner needs to be retrained, some XP should be lost)
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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by captainjack » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:25 am

It can be a good challenge to restrict upgrades to convenient break points in a campaign. So for example, you can upgrade after Poland or after the first stage in France, but not during the scenarios between these points. This is (for me) even more stressful if you only allow buying overstrength at the breaks, as your fighting capacity decreases visibly as you progress through a campaign.
You could reasonably allow field upgrades during a campaign but you could perhaps restrict this to one unit per scenario - there's only so many workshop crews to go around.

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by Horseman » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:34 am

captainjack wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:25 am
It can be a good challenge to restrict upgrades to convenient break points in a campaign. So for example, you can upgrade after Poland or after the first stage in France, but not during the scenarios between these points. This is (for me) even more stressful if you only allow buying overstrength at the breaks, as your fighting capacity decreases visibly as you progress through a campaign.
You could reasonably allow field upgrades during a campaign but you could perhaps restrict this to one unit per scenario - there's only so many workshop crews to go around.
That's a really interesting way to play, might have to give it a go myself at some point.

Do you allow yourself to purchase new units outside of the breaks or is not doing so to mich?

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Re: Unit upgrades in WW2

Post by captainjack » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:16 pm

It seems reasonable to buy later models for new units, as that's what's being produced. Then you get a better unit with no experience or hero, Not such a big deal early on, but more challenging ifrom 42 onwards.
It's interesting to see how long you can keep a unit going before you have to upgrade. Goose2 had a panzer 1b well into his double Rommel, and on a much easier setting I once kept Rondorf in a 4* Panzer 2G into 44 East before a lack of fuel at the wrong time ended that experiment

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