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

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  #76  
Old 11 Sep 17, 01:41
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
But StuGs have no place in the "hurly-burly of a mobile tank battle". If they end up there, someone have screwed up royally

The exchange rate between StuGs and tanks in terms of cost are nowhere near 2:3. If you look at StuGs vs Panzer IIIs and IVs, it is more like 4:5. Your wargame should reflect that if it has any aspirations about realism.

The Germans never produced StuGs because they could not afford to make tanks, they made them because they wanted StuGs.
Exactly.

The StuG was originally designed to be mobile, direct fire, artillery to support infantry and they belonged to the artillery branch. The early war infantry regiment had 6 x 75mm for direct fire support (plus 2 x 150mm) and manhandled them into position to attack enemy infantry defenses during an attack. When they had an attached a StuG battery or platoon then the AGs could move into position much faster and were well protected compared to the organic regimental artillery. Same role as the infantry guns, but faster and more flexible.

When the StuG were up-gunned they gained a strong AT capability. They were still intended/used for direct fire support, but now they could also be used defensively against (counter-)attacking enemy tanks. The regimental commander could send a platoon from the attached battery to one flank to help guard against a Russian counterattack until the AT guns could move into position, then move the StuG platoon back to the main assault.

Even in a Panzer or Panzergrenadier Division any organic or attached StuGs were intended to be support for the infantry.

StuG were cheaper and faster to produce, so in the late war period they did get used more in mobile battles. They were not as good as tanks in mobile action after an initial ambush, and most of the PzJg types were better suited for an ambush role due to longer range and/or larger caliber guns.

I can't speak for the Brits, but there was no benefit in having the US design and produce AGs based on the M4 chassis or anything else, so they didn't do that.
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  #77  
Old 11 Sep 17, 08:09
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Originally Posted by NoPref View Post
Exactly.

The StuG was originally designed to be mobile, direct fire, artillery to support infantry and they belonged to the artillery branch. The early war infantry regiment had 6 x 75mm for direct fire support (plus 2 x 150mm) and manhandled them into position to attack enemy infantry defenses during an attack. When they had an attached a StuG battery or platoon then the AGs could move into position much faster and were well protected compared to the organic regimental artillery. Same role as the infantry guns, but faster and more flexible.
The US infantry regiment (which started as a fairly close copy of the German infantry regiment) also had a cannon company. It went through a couple of iterations of equipment, but AIUI, most employed M3 105mm in combat. Instead of pushing forward, the US ended up being tied in to the direct support field artillery battalion and used to augment indirect fire capability. This may have been possible because of the more common usage of US tanks. After the war, the US replaced the regimental cannon company with a tank company (and a 4.2" mortar company), and augmented the direct support field artillery from 12 guns to 18 (6 vs 4 gun batteries)- effectively getting the best of both worlds.
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  #78  
Old 11 Sep 17, 11:59
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In Cannon Companies after WWII the US Army preferred to use tanks armed with the 105 howitzer. Some divisions still had Shermans with a 105 in the inventory during Korea. Many had gone to a M-26 or Pershing with a 105.

I recall during WWII many divisions had Self Propelled Howitzers on Halftracks in the Cannon Companies. These started off with 75mm French guns, but moved on to 105's and some even had 155's. I recall seeing a 155 SP in a picture from the 3rd Infantry Division in Italy. This was a good use of obsolescent artillery.

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  #79  
Old 11 Sep 17, 20:46
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Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
In Cannon Companies after WWII the US Army preferred to use tanks armed with the 105 howitzer. Some divisions still had Shermans with a 105 in the inventory during Korea. Many had gone to a M-26 or Pershing with a 105.

I recall during WWII many divisions had Self Propelled Howitzers on Halftracks in the Cannon Companies. These started off with 75mm French guns, but moved on to 105's and some even had 155's. I recall seeing a 155 SP in a picture from the 3rd Infantry Division in Italy. This was a good use of obsolescent artillery.

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http://www.history.army.mil/html/boo...Pub_60-3-1.pdf

The initial design (1 Apr 42 TOE) of the cannon company, which mirrored the German organization, was 6 SP 75mm and 2 SP 105mm (page 63). They were eliminated in the 1 Mar 43 TOE, but returned in the 15 Jul 43 TOE, with towed howitzers instead of SP (page 64). The 1 Jun 45 organization replaced the towed howitzers with 105mm howitzers in tanks. The cannon company and anti-tank company were eliminated in the 1947 TOE, replaced by a heavy mortar company and a tank company in each infantry regiment.

Since a number of divisions were in combat by Mar 43, I expect that they had SP howitzers in their infantry regiments. These divisions included 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 25th, and 34th. Some of these were in the Pacific, and additional units were deployed but training in either North Africa or the UK and at least potentially reorganized under the new tables. I don't know for sure.

I've never heard of 155SPs in infantry regimental cannon companies. Much more likely to have been in DIVARTY, although tank destroyer or anti-tank units might be possibilities, too.
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  #80  
Old 12 Sep 17, 00:32
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Not many Half Tracks with 155 Howitzers saw service. Most of the Veteran divisions kept weapons they liked. The Half Track carried 75 Pack Howitzers, 75 French, 105 Howitzers, and 155 French Howitzers. The 155 Howitzer could have been used as a substitute for 105 Howitzers.

The picture of the 155 SP Half Track was from after they were supposed to have traded them in. I have the Osprey book in storage somewhere.

There were 75mm Half Tracks in the Philippines. The Army shipped them over but not crews for them. They were able to cobble crews by mixing American, Philippine Scouts and Philippine Army personnel. I would imagine Americans were needed to drive them as there were only a few vehicle drivers in the PI back in 1941. The Philippine Army soldiers could have served as loaders. These vehicles were sent to become Tank Destroyers but were used as mobile Artillery instead.

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  #81  
Old 13 Sep 17, 18:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
But StuGs have no place in the "hurly-burly of a mobile tank battle". If they end up there, someone have screwed up royally
Yes, ideally the tanks should be up front duking it out, and the Stugs should be slightly behind in support looking for good uncluttered fields of fire, but a lot depends on the terrain and mission objectives etc.
For example in french bocage like below, Stugs would be useless if held back because they wouldn't see a blind thing, so they'd have to be up front with the tanks and risk getting zapped in the side/rear with a bazooka shot or whatever..
(PS- another disadvantage with all Stug-type AFV's is that their guns were too low down to see over hedgerows and walls etc)


http://www.mission4today.com/index.p...iewforum&f=134

Last edited by Poor Old Spike; 13 Sep 17 at 18:24..
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  #82  
Old 23 Sep 17, 20:00
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Assault guns had their genesis during WW1. The Kaiserschlacht in 1918 failed because the German infantry outran their artillery support, and infantry, unsupported by artillery, dies very quickly. Whether true or not, Manstein is often given credit for assault guns supporting the infantry. Effectively, they were to be used much like British infantry tanks in taking a position. However, they did not have turrets, and were equipped with howitzers (Stuk 37), rather than AT guns. The HE they provided to attack specific targets point blank, proved their worth. The British later copied the German example in providing their infantry tanks with better HE weapons (75mm QF), rather than better hole punchers (6pdrs) in the main.

The Soviets really liked the AG philosophy and produced their own assault guns in vast numbers. Many were light weight SU-76's or similar, right up to the latter, and heavier, ISU-152's.

The basic reason why both the Soviets and Nazi's were using such weapons was due to logistics. The Germans still used horses to transport much of their kit and supplies, especially ID artillery. The Soviets were using cavalry corps very late in the war, simply because they did not have enough motorized elements to replace them. A battalion of relatively cheap assault guns often made the difference in several battles.

The CW, and especially the USA, were not handicapped by such issues. They preferred self propelled artillery, such as the Priest or Sexton, so much so that an AG was never used. AG's are less effective than tanks in a direct role, or SP artillery in an indirect role. What AG's do is allow an available tank chassis to be used to carry a bigger gun, and at a reduced price, turrets being very expensive.

The Eastern Front is the reason that AG's were successfully used. The front line was huge, and needed to be defended in depth. There was not enough tanks and artillery, even with lend-lease, for the Soviets to have combined arms units throughout the sharp edge. The Germans were several levels below the Soviets in material capability for much of the war. What AG's do is provide both artillery and AT ability in one package. It's not particularly good at both, but when considering the huge length of the Eastern Front, it becomes an acceptable afv.
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  #83  
Old 27 Sep 17, 15:54
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Quote:
In October 1943, the Organisationsabteilung reported that there were 370
tanks operational. A further 1,117 were in need of repair; this was more
than 75 percent of the total strength. The shadow of defeat began to shroud
the eastern front.
From a report from Guderian on Oct 19 1943 to Adolf Hitler . This was during a low point on the Eastern Front where the PzW was severely damaged after Kursk.

(source: PzWaffe 2, Anderson)

Quote:
An increase in the production of the Panzer IV has been requested, and
this is easily achievable. The urgent call for more Sturmgeschütz,
although quite understandable given the situation, must be balanced by
the fact that this proven and necessary weapon has a restricted range of
application; a Sturmgeschütz is always inferior to a tank. The countless
reports received praising the superiority of the Sturmgeschütz, come
mainly from infantry units and have to be assessed accordingly. The
rigidly-mounted weapon has a small amount of traverse [24° compared
to 360°], making it vulnerable to attack from the side and also the rear.
The lack of sufficient observation means and by not having a closedefence
weapon, defines the Sturmgeschütz as a support weapon for the
infantry, which in turn is always dependent on an infantry escort. The
lower losses, when compared to the Panzer, can be explained by it having
thicker frontal armour and that they are always carefully committed and
supported by infantry. The main advantage of the Panzer is that is has
greater manoeuvrability and speed in open terrain, and can be used in an
attack without infantry support. The Panzer IV now has the same frontal
armour (80mm) as the Sturmgeschütz, which gives it a clear superiority.
A Panzer can be the substitute for a Sturmgeschütz, but not vice versa.
*There was inter-arms competition/politics between Guderian (representing the PzWaffe) and the General of the Artillery (representing the Stug interests)
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