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Armor in World War II Discuss all aspects & disciplines of World War II Armor here.

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  #46  
Old 12 Dec 16, 19:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Even if that were correct, that would be the actual strength of one DLM, whereas you had started with the on-paper strength of the theoretical, but never existing in reality, Panzerdivision.

I see a problem with such an approach, don't you?

That said, the 3čme DLM had, on the contrary, and in reality, not as an on-paper ideal,

6 truck-mounted companies of Dragons,
3 motor-cycle mounted companies of Dragons,
total 9 motorized infantry companies.

By way of comparison, the 2. Panzerdivision had, also as "Ist" (actual) strength,

1 armored halftrack-mounted company of Schützen,
6 truck-mounted companies of Schützen,
4 motorcycle-mounted companies of Schützen.

So it's 11 to 9, as opposed to the 12 to 3 you were talking about a few posts ago. Less infantry, yes, but nowhere near the staggering difference you incorrectly presented.

Please acknowledge.
Looking this up on several different sources, the panzer divisions had 11 to 15 companies of infantry mounted on trucks, halftracks, or motorcycles... mostly trucks and motorcycles.
2nd Panzer according to Nafzigler, Neihorster, et.al., has 9 companies of infantry in three battalions and 2 companies of motorcycle troops available.

The DLM also has the problem of how their troops are organized in larger units. Each battalion of dragoons has just two companies of infantry. Therefore if they go one on one with a German battalion the Germans have three companies of infantry, along with both having a heavy weapons company. But, the Germans have more mortars and artillery along with way more "real" machineguns as almost all the French ones are really 20 round magazine automatic rifles similar to a BAR.

So, there is really a staggering difference. The French unit lacks the depth to take casualties. If it sticks both companies of infantry in the line it has almost no reserves.

The French motorcycle units are the same way. They're really short on infantry.
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  #47  
Old 13 Dec 16, 05:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Looking this up on several different sources, the panzer divisions had 11 to 15 companies of infantry mounted on trucks, halftracks, or motorcycles... mostly trucks and motorcycles.
2nd Panzer according to Nafzigler, Neihorster, et.al., has 9 companies of infantry in three battalions and 2 companies of motorcycle troops available.
Yes - as I have already pointed out in previous posts.

Quote:
The DLM also has the problem of how their troops are organized in larger units. Each battalion of dragoons has just two companies of infantry.
No.
Look the sources up.
Each battalion of dragoons has one company of infantry on trucks, one company of infantry on unarmored halftracks, and one company of infantry on motorcycles. If you don't want to count the dragoons on motorcycles as infantry, fine, then let's do the same with the German infantry companies of the Panzerdivisionen. To keep working on the 2., instead of 11 infantry companies, it will be down to 7, because the motorcycle battalion had 2 companies and two of the motorized infantry battalions had each one motorcycle company.

Quote:
Therefore if they go one on one with a German battalion the Germans have three companies of infantry, along with both having a heavy weapons company. But, the Germans have more mortars and artillery along with way more "real" machineguns as almost all the French ones are really 20 round magazine automatic rifles similar to a BAR.
The squad weapon of the French infantry was not like the squad weapon of the German infantry, and I can agree the German one is better.
But that is not the point I was in disagreement with. The point was the notion that only the Germans had a combined-arms, complete armor large unit.
Under this respect, it's interesting that you mention the BAR. Would you say that an armored division whose mechanized infantry is armed with BARs instead of high-ROF LMGs is not a complete combined-arms formation?

Quote:
So, there is really a staggering difference. The French unit lacks the depth to take casualties. If it sticks both companies of infantry in the line it has almost no reserves.
No, it's just that you didn't look carefully at the sources.

But since you seem interested in equipment, now, instead of in the number of infantry companies, or of men, I'm game. Let's do a well-informed comparison.

For instance, one of the things you seem to have overlooked is that not all of the Panzerdivisionen in 1940 provided each motorized/mechanized infantry squad with 2 LMGs. The 7. and 8. did, for instance, so that each infantry company had 18 LMGs. But the 1., 2. and 3. did not, so that each infantry company had 9 LMGs.
On the other hand, the infantry squad of the RDPs each had 2 squad weapons.
So what's better, 1 LMG or 2 BARs?

I'll now compare the I. Abteilung, 2. Schützen-Regiment, 2. Panzerdivision, with the Ier bataillon de Dragons Portés, 11čme RDP, 3čme DLM.


German French
infantry squads, on armored halftracks 9 0
infantry squads, on trucks 9 9
infantry squads, on unarmored halftracks 0 9
infantry squads, on motorcycles 9 8
total infantry squads 27 26

engineer squads, motorized 3 0

squad automatic weapons 40 52
grenade launchers 0 36
light mortars (50mm or 60mm) 9 3
medium MGs 14 16
medium mortars (81mm) 6 4
infantry guns (75mm) 2 0
anti-tank guns (25mm or 37mm) 3 4
tankettes 0 23


Yes, the French have one infantry squad less than the Germans. If you want to count the German engineer platoon, then it's 30 squads to 26, not a staggering difference as you claim.
The French also clearly are at a disadvantage when it comes to indirect fire capabilities at medium ranges, with less mortars and no IGs. At closer ranges, they make it up, for what that's worth, with the grenade launchers.
On the other hand, the French have a greater direct fire power, with their MGs and SAWs.
And finally, yes, the Germans have 9 armored halftracks. OTOH the French have 23 tankettes.

I still don't see the German battalion as clearly much stronger than the French one.

Now, to recap your position.
You started claiming that the French battalion was actually a company.
Now you have come to acknowledge it had two companies.
Once you understand you have to count the motorcycle company too, you'll have to acknowledge it had three infantry companies.
I.e. as many infantry companies as the German battalion.
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Last edited by Michele; 13 Dec 16 at 05:29..
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  #48  
Old 04 Jun 17, 02:07
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I have some unfinished business with this thread -

Exploring the idea that if the French armor had been organized differently, they could have beaten the Panzers.
I may have been wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
I have to argue with that.
The FT-17s should have made up the bulk of what was overseas, and those FMCs should have been right there with them.
...

I went over the lists, these right here -
Quote:
33 Indépendant Battalions sent to various Infantry Divisions, and 12 Indépendant Companies as follows;

Twenty Battalions with R-35 light tanks.
Two with H-39 light tanks
two with FCM-36 light tanks
eight with obsolete FT-17 from WW1
and one with the Char 2C (never saw action)
All had 45 tanks except the FT-17 units that had 63, and only a few Char-2C were ever built.

Five Companies had 11 x Char B1
Two had 15 x Char D-2
three with 10 x Ft-17
two with 15 x H-39.
So, what to do with all these odds & ends?

Oversees Colonies first;
Africa; 4 x Battalions of FT-17, 1 x Battalion of FCM-36.
French holdings in Africa were vast, but only on the Tunisian/Libyan border was there any threat of meeting any enemy tanks.
Syria; 1 x Battalion of FT-17, 1 x Battalion FCM-36
Yes, I am putting those oddball FCM out of France. Only 100 were ever made thanks to the high cost, so making them the Colonial tank makes sense.
Indo-China; 2 x Battalions of FT-17, 2 x Companys of H-39
Why H-39? Those tanks have higher Horse-power, something tanks will need in the rough and soft ground in that area. A two-way split with the units allows them to cover both danger areas; the Haiphong area and western Cambodia.

One Battalion and three companies of FT-17 stay in France. Why? To cover places where armor is demanded but is not needed for fighting other tanks. Things like airfields or other possible targets of paratroopers ... or places of purely Political consideration.

Now, back to the Divisions that already exist;
The DCR are fine for tanks, but they have NO recon at all and could use more Infantry. So, why not take the logical step and combine three of the DLC with them, directly?

That leaves two other DCL, and then need armor, badly. So we have 2 x Battalions of H-39 to add to the Company they already have. There are also 2 x Companies of D-2 Mediums we can give them to enable them to have some staying power in a confrontation with the Panzers.
Basically, we just made them a couple of ACRs in fact as well as name.

I also reduced the number of real Armored Divs to 6, with the two Armored Cavalry Regiments to go with them. The BEF only has the one Armored Brigade on site at the time, so that's 7 major armored units to confront 10 x Panzer Divs. The 4th DCR comes on line only after the fighting has started, something more is needed and the DLMs already have the rest of the H-39 and the Soumas...

So, we take the 5 x Companies of the (somewhat) formidable B-1, and combine them with 5 x Battalions of R-35.
Call it a DC+, or a DRC-bis maybe. With 280 tanks and a recommended 6 x Battalions of Infantry, this will be the slowest and the hardest-hitting of all the Tank Divisions in Europe.
Now, those H-35 have the short 1918 gun, not much of a threat to armor except at very short range. This is why you have 45 of them to escort 11 of the B-1. The German method of dealing with those heavies was to get in close and hammer away at the flanks... which gives the H-35 its best chance of getting some kills as well as saving the heavies.

They need recon, and there is something odd about the TO&Es from page one. There were only 200 AMR built, so the DLMs can't have 60 each if the DCL have 20. Reduce the quota to 30 for the DLM and you have 10 left over, drop the number of Panhard-178 to the same number and you have 30 armored cars.
Very sufficient, I like this DC+ idea, if I do say so myself.

What we have left now is the other 15 x Battalions of H-35. As mentioned, they aren't so great against tanks, and we can't form a whole Division with just that one type of tank.
IMHO, they will just have to be left as they are, independent units attached to the infantry. However... instead of giving them to certain Divisions, I say make them a Corps asset. This makes them the responsibility of a sightly higher command and increases the likelihood that they will deployed at the critical place.
That, and the Infantry will be expecting their support, they have trained that way.

So... 9 x major plus 2 x minor Armored units vs. the 10 x Panzer units.
I'm not sure if this would be a worthwhile move, or not.
But its the best I can come up with.
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  #49  
Old 09 Jun 17, 05:57
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Sorry, it would be easier to assess if you provided the final, hypothetical TO&E of these units, adding for each subunit a (!) if it actually existed, or a (?) if it would have to be created somehow (for instance, yes the independent battalions and companies of tanks existed, but it seems to me the necessary infantry, artillery etc. for at least some of your proposed divisions are not already in existence somewhere else).

If you do that, I'd be glad to have a look.
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Old 09 Jun 17, 11:55
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  #51  
Old 11 Jun 17, 01:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Sorry, it would be easier to assess if you provided the final, hypothetical TO&E of these units, adding for each subunit a (!) if it actually existed, or a (?) if it would have to be created somehow (for instance, yes the independent battalions and companies of tanks existed, but it seems to me the necessary infantry, artillery etc. for at least some of your proposed divisions are not already in existence somewhere else).

If you do that, I'd be glad to have a look.
Well, there is a huge problem with that.
With the Mechanized Infantry, specifically. They didn't have their own trucks. Their wheels came from a general pool in the Army itself, the idea being to shuttle them around and get them in position, then drive away to take care of something else.

This is just too much for me to deal with, it shows that this Army didn't really have any grasp on mechanization, but was firmly weeded to the idea of fighting the last war with new toys... conservatively.
I can't work within this structure, I don't see how any of this can really be made any better in any serious way.
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Old 12 Jun 17, 07:22
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OK, thank you, but I know (well, I know where to find) the actual and even the historically planned TO&Es. I was asking for the hypothetical TO&Es proposed by the Exorcist.
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Old 12 Jun 17, 15:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele View Post
OK, thank you, but I know (well, I know where to find) the actual and even the historically planned TO&Es. I was asking for the hypothetical TO&Es proposed by the Exorcist.
.
I was wondering whether this thread should be in Western Armour or the OOB sub forums?
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Old 12 Jun 17, 16:10
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The problem is more one of French doctrine than organization. Reorganizing the French armored formations does nothing if the underlying doctrine of "Methodical Battle" remains in place. To fix the later, the French Army would have needed probably the better part of a decade to retrain its officers and troops in how to operate under a new doctrine, using different tactics.
It probably would have required some new or different equipment like more telephones and radios in units, and how these were netted. I can't see a simple reorganization of French units doing them much good when the methods by which they'll fight are still crap.
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Old 12 Jun 17, 17:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
The problem is more one of French doctrine than organization. Reorganizing the French armored formations does nothing if the underlying doctrine of "Methodical Battle" remains in place. To fix the later, the French Army would have needed probably the better part of a decade to retrain its officers and troops in how to operate under a new doctrine, using different tactics.
It probably would have required some new or different equipment like more telephones and radios in units, and how these were netted. I can't see a simple reorganization of French units doing them much good when the methods by which they'll fight are still crap.
Agreed. Doctrine is the problem. Defense in depth would have stopped the panzers, but France (nor Britain) understood the German way of war at this time.
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