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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 24 Dec 16, 12:22
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Some number of AFVs with a 6-inch gun more adequate than M12 GMC in assault role would be good.
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  #47  
Old 26 Dec 16, 01:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post

...

What continues to puzzle me, is that the development of the StuG in the German Army 1935-1945 and what drove it is well known. So why does this faulty economy-argument keep popping up? There is not a shred of evidence that anyone in Germany ever thought of the StuG that way.

Particularily as StuGs were not all that cheap. Not counting weaponry, the StuG III cost 85% of the cost of a Panzer III. It cost 80% of a Panzer IV. So best case scenario would give you 5 StuGs in exchange for 4 tanks.
I'm guessing that the faulty argument was derived from data rather than from actual records of planning/production decisions:

The StuG III and IV are cheaper (and perhaps a bit faster/easier) to build, so they must have been built because they were cheaper and easier.
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  #48  
Old 26 Dec 16, 03:29
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The Stug III already was carrying a 75 main gun. True it was the Infantry Gun version, but it was simple to convert damaged Stugs and change the production line to higher velocity 75's. The problem was getting enough high velocity guns to the troops to combat Soviet Tanks. A Mark III with a 75 low velocity 75 or high velocity 50 was not really going to fill the role. Later on there was a need for more Stugs and Jadgpanzers and they went to a bigger chassis, the Mark IV which could be up gunned to a 75/70 gun.

Money saved was not the really important factor, it was getting high velocity guns that could handle the KV and T-34 series. They did mount 76, 75 and 88 main guns on open mounts in the rush to get bigger guns to the Front. These were stop-gaps.

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  #49  
Old 26 Dec 16, 10:26
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Given that after the phase out of the Pz III the Germans found themselves with surplus of chassis & plants dedicated to building a well proven and reliable means of propulsion complete with spares infrastructure I would say the decision was a no-brainer.
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Old 26 Dec 16, 17:42
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Originally Posted by dutched View Post
If you are right show us the named StuG Brigaden equipped with Jagdpanzer IV Jagdpanzer V and Jadpanzer VI and even Jadgpanzer 38 (t) for completeness. You have not convinced me, more over the German army had a bit of a problem finding a 'home' for their Sturmartillerie hence the rise of the independent StuG Brigade.
I could turn the argument around - I've been visiting tank discussion sites on the internet for 20 years, seeing this economy argument and been asking people to provide any sort of evidence that the Germans considered economy, when deciding to build StuGs. No one has come up with anything - nada - zilch. Nor have I ever seen any such evidence in books, at least not those that use references to primary sources.

If you want to understand this, you have to view the StuG as the Germans did - a particular weapons system designed and developed for infantry support. All those vehicles mentioned in my previous post were initially referred to as StuGs because that is what they were (see the various Spielberger books on the StuGs). Jagdpanzer was just a label stuck on later developments as the inspectorate of armoured troops took over responsibility for StuG production and issue in late 1943. This development is documented in Guderians memoir.

What you will also find in Guderians memoirs, is his plans for incorporating StuGs into the anti-tank battalions of the German Army. This was a not a new idea, Manstein had proposed the same thing in his 1936 memorandum on StuGs, suggesting that StuGs could replace either an artillery battalion or the divisional anti-tank battalion.

So basically, the tug-of-war over StuG control between the artillery and the Panzertruppe was built in from the start and was never really solved, the artillery retaining control over part of the StuG formations, while the Panzertruppe took over the StuG formations organized as part of the anti-tank units.

So, one should not be confused by the fact that the same weapons system had different names attached to it or was used in different types of formations. It reflects an on-going discussion about organization and control, not any change in the weapons system itself or what it was intended for.

The use of StuGs in anti-tank battalions began in 1943, initially by issuing StuG IIIs - the only available StuG at the time - to anti-tank units. You can find the organisation in KStN 1149 which speaks of "Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung in Panzer-Jäger- Abteilung". Slightly confusing, perhaps, is the use of "Abteilung" for both company and battalion

Now, it is hardly surprising, that the bulk of StuG IIIs continued to go to the artillery StuG units as these were already operating this type of vehicle. StuGs IVs seems to have ended up mostly with infantry anti-tank units (according to Jentz) as did Hetzers. Jagdpanzer IVs mostly went to the anti-tank battalions of armoured divisions, that were already operating Panzer IVs. Panzer IV/70 A ended up in armoured regiments, anti-tank battalions and to large extent in the StuG Brigades.

But regardless of where they went, they did same, basic job of supporting infantry in the attack or in the defense against enemy armour.
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  #51  
Old 26 Dec 16, 19:10
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100mm/105mm-152/155mms were needed for heavy duty targets (heavy armor and heavy pillboxes). They were also more efficient than firing many rounds of 75mm into a building.

2GTA history has lots about this, including the much superior effectiveness of the 100mm mounted on the SU-100 to clear out strong positions.

The Sherman 105mm in the CCs of the AD's appeared to have been valued but there were not many of them.
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  #52  
Old 27 Dec 16, 07:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
I could turn the argument around - I've been visiting tank discussion sites on the internet for 20 years, seeing this economy argument and been asking people to provide any sort of evidence that the Germans considered economy, when deciding to build StuGs. No one has come up with anything - nada - zilch. Nor have I ever seen any such evidence in books, at least not those that use references to primary sources.

If you want to understand this, you have to view the StuG as the Germans did - a particular weapons system designed and developed for infantry support. All those vehicles mentioned in my previous post were initially referred to as StuGs because that is what they were (see the various Spielberger books on the StuGs). Jagdpanzer was just a label stuck on later developments as the inspectorate of armoured troops took over responsibility for StuG production and issue in late 1943. This development is documented in Guderians memoir.

What you will also find in Guderians memoirs, is his plans for incorporating StuGs into the anti-tank battalions of the German Army. This was a not a new idea, Manstein had proposed the same thing in his 1936 memorandum on StuGs, suggesting that StuGs could replace either an artillery battalion or the divisional anti-tank battalion.

So basically, the tug-of-war over StuG control between the artillery and the Panzertruppe was built in from the start and was never really solved, the artillery retaining control over part of the StuG formations, while the Panzertruppe took over the StuG formations organized as part of the anti-tank units.

So, one should not be confused by the fact that the same weapons system had different names attached to it or was used in different types of formations. It reflects an on-going discussion about organization and control, not any change in the weapons system itself or what it was intended for.

The use of StuGs in anti-tank battalions began in 1943, initially by issuing StuG IIIs - the only available StuG at the time - to anti-tank units. You can find the organisation in KStN 1149 which speaks of "Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung in Panzer-Jäger- Abteilung". Slightly confusing, perhaps, is the use of "Abteilung" for both company and battalion

Now, it is hardly surprising, that the bulk of StuG IIIs continued to go to the artillery StuG units as these were already operating this type of vehicle. StuGs IVs seems to have ended up mostly with infantry anti-tank units (according to Jentz) as did Hetzers. Jagdpanzer IVs mostly went to the anti-tank battalions of armoured divisions, that were already operating Panzer IVs. Panzer IV/70 A ended up in armoured regiments, anti-tank battalions and to large extent in the StuG Brigades.

But regardless of where they went, they did same, basic job of supporting infantry in the attack or in the defense against enemy armour.
Perhaps one reason that Stugs are viewed as 'cut price Panzers' was their later deployment in Panzer units proper. I had a quick scan through 'Fire Brigades' by Kamen Nevenkin and it lists at least thirteen Pz Regts (2; 3; 35; 33; 29; 4; 36; 2; 39; 21; 23; 24; 16) all of which incorporated Stugs and/or PzJags within their Pz Bns; also at least three SS Pz Regts (of 2nd, 9th and 10th SS Pz Divs). When you see a Pz Regt of one Pz V Bn and one Pz Bn with two Pz IV Coys and two Stug Coys, it's hard not to see those latter as placeholders for Panzers proper. I understand the original plan was for Pz Regts to consist of one Bn each of Pz V, Pz IV and Stug, but the last two units largely ended up being merged into a single Bn.

When you have Stugs with artillery units, that's where they are meant to be. When you have Stugs in anti-tank units, that's no big surprise given the enormous variety of German SP atk equipment. When you have Stugs and JagdPanzers in Pz Bns proper is it because they are fulfilling a distinct tactical requirement, or because it's proving difficult to produce enough Pz IVs but there are surplus SP guns available?

Gary
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  #53  
Old 27 Dec 16, 10:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Kennedy View Post
Perhaps one reason that Stugs are viewed as 'cut price Panzers' was their later deployment in Panzer units proper. I had a quick scan through 'Fire Brigades' by Kamen Nevenkin and it lists at least thirteen Pz Regts (2; 3; 35; 33; 29; 4; 36; 2; 39; 21; 23; 24; 16) all of which incorporated Stugs and/or PzJags within their Pz Bns; also at least three SS Pz Regts (of 2nd, 9th and 10th SS Pz Divs). When you see a Pz Regt of one Pz V Bn and one Pz Bn with two Pz IV Coys and two Stug Coys, it's hard not to see those latter as placeholders for Panzers proper. I understand the original plan was for Pz Regts to consist of one Bn each of Pz V, Pz IV and Stug, but the last two units largely ended up being merged into a single Bn.
I think you are right. If one assumes, that the weapons system is defined not by its characteristics but by the organisation that uses it, you could easily get the impression that StuGs were built as tank replacements and that there was significant differences between the StuGs called Jagdpanzers and StuGs called StuGs.

Quote:
When you have Stugs with artillery units, that's where they are meant to be. When you have Stugs in anti-tank units, that's no big surprise given the enormous variety of German SP atk equipment. When you have Stugs and JagdPanzers in Pz Bns proper is it because they are fulfilling a distinct tactical requirement, or because it's proving difficult to produce enough Pz IVs but there are surplus SP guns available?Gary
Until 1943, StuGs were found only in artillery units, mainly in independent StuG battalions. Two things happened in 1943:

1. German tank production could not fill the void left by massive tank losses in the winter of 1942-43. Panzer III production was being reduced as factories were retooling for Panther production, Panzer IV production was still in the process of speeding up (only about 100 in November 1942, 200 in April 1943 but over 300 in June 1943) and Panther production was just starting - and the Panthers they made not very good.

2. Guderian initiated the process towards incorporating StuGs in the anti-tank battalions, leading to an increase in the demand for StuGs, production rising from 100 pr. month in November 1942 to more than 400 in October 1943.

This development meant that starting in May 1943, large number of StuGs were issued to armoured regiments in stead of tanks, predominantly to the armoured battlions in Panzergrenadier-divisions.
Also, with more StuGs being made, more were available as stop-gap replacements for tanks in armoured divisions. StuGs were not particularily well suited to that role and using them this way detracted from the capabilities of the armoured regiments.

You didn't say which period you were referring to with regards to Nevenkins figures nor if he is referring to the TO&E of those regiments?
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  #54  
Old 27 Dec 16, 13:32
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Nevenkin focusses pretty much entirely on the 1943-45 period. He provides an overview of KStN tables, but not much more than summary details.

For an example Pz Regt 3 is shown as forming its I Bn in Jul43 equipped with Pz V. II Bn is shown as moving to all Pz IV from Jan44, then on 6th Nov44 is ordered to convert two Coys to Stug III. Also in 2nd Pz Div the Atk Bn (38) is shown as switching its two SP Coys to Stug III in Oct44 and Dec44. His notes for AFV deliveries show a total of 49 Stug III in Oct+Nov44.

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Old 28 Dec 16, 09:27
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Originally Posted by Gary Kennedy View Post
Nevenkin focusses pretty much entirely on the 1943-45 period. He provides an overview of KStN tables, but not much more than summary details.

For an example Pz Regt 3 is shown as forming its I Bn in Jul43 equipped with Pz V. II Bn is shown as moving to all Pz IV from Jan44, then on 6th Nov44 is ordered to convert two Coys to Stug III. Also in 2nd Pz Div the Atk Bn (38) is shown as switching its two SP Coys to Stug III in Oct44 and Dec44. His notes for AFV deliveries show a total of 49 Stug III in Oct+Nov44.
The example you give seems typical of the use of StuGs in armoured divisions.

The anti-tank battalion gets StuGs as part of the general plan to upgrade these units with StuGs and the Panzer IV battalion is recieving parts of its replacements as StuGs as not enough Panzer IVs are available.

PzRgt 3 was one of those all but destroyed in Normandy in the summer of 1944 and several of these got StuGs instead of Panzer IVs. The same happened to PzRgt 33, 16, SS-PzRgt 2 and SS-PzRgt 9. The situation was pretty much the same as in the spring and summer of 1943, when StuGs first found their way into armoured regiments.

In January 1943, German monthly tank production plummeted from nearly 400 to a little more than 200 and it did not fully recover until May 1943. This was caused by the change from Panzer III production to Panther production. At the same time, StuG production was steadily climbing, not being interrupted by changes in production. Massive tank losses in the winther of 1942-43 combined with the interruption in medium tank production meant that more StuGs than tanks were available as replacements.

In July 1944, German medium tank production peaked at nearly 700, dropping to about 500 in September. This was done deliberately, as Panzer IV production was cut by 40% when Nibelungen-Werke started Panzer IV/70 A production. At the same time, StuG production was rising rapidly, exceeding tank production by June 1944 as more and more manufacturers were turned over to StuG production. When PzRgt 3 was being rebuilt post-Normandy, there were a lot more StuGs available as replacements than tanks.
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  #56  
Old 30 Dec 16, 02:44
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In a sense, the West/USA started the war with an "AG" in the form of the M3 Medium Tank Lee/Grant with it's hull mounted 75MM. Early tank on tank experience showed this a rather cumbersome approach, but the design could have lent itself to modification for an "AG" role.

One version would have been to remove the 37MM turret and upgrade to a 90mm ~ 105mm gun in place of the 75mm.

Another version might take this a step further and place a smaller and lighter turret on top, say something like that found on the M8 armored car. I can see where ussing this with a 76/90mm high velocity gun would have made an interesting "tank destroyer" type of AG.

Alternatively, with a 105mm main gun and a shielded .50MG on the open top, you get something more along the line of an infantry support AG.

Perhaps some interesting "hacks" here for the modelers, but I believe that the 'costs' of shipping were a major factor in seeking to stay with the M4 turreted tank approach in going for a versatile and ubiquitous AFV that could multi-task.

M3 Medium, Lee/Grant;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M3_Lee
http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww..._Lee_Grant.php

M8 Armored Car - Greyhound;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M8_Greyhound
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  #57  
Old 30 Dec 16, 02:51
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Actually a number of Grants/Lees were lost in North Africa when the Machine Gun turret on top was hit by antitank gun fire. That is a lot of bouncing around inside the tank! With this "extra" on top it was too tall and could not hide as easily as other tanks. The Sherman used a similar hull and engine, but left off the MG turret and did fine. Actually the US Army would have tried a 3" antitank gun before trying to shoe horn a 90mm anti aircraft gun inside. A 105 Howitzer had a chance and indeed, the M-7 Priest was born.

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Old 31 Jan 17, 20:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
The only problem with that reasoning is that the Germans did not build StuGs because they were cheaper, they build them because they decided it was the best solution for their infantry support needs.
So we agree on this one
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
StuG III -> Was built in the chassis of a first-line tank, the Panzer III. It worked, so they continued using that chassis as a basis to the wars end, but that has nothing to do with cost.
But it was cheaper and that may have lead to the understanding that the StuG III was especially later in the war a kind of ~Erzatz~ tank
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StuG IV -> Only came about because one of the main producers of StuGs (Alkett) was bombed at a time when there was an increased need for StuGs. Nothing to do with cost.
That is only partly applicable. As a move to minimalise the number of chassis build, it was, all-be-it briefly, considered to drop the chassis of the StuG III altogether and continue only with the production of the IV chassis. This was later revised again briefly to swing towards dropping the IV chassis in favour of the III chassis. Later again both were to be dropped and vehicles to be build on V and 38 (t) style chassis and later developments.
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Jagdpanzer IV -> Was designed as an improved StuG to fullfill the same role - infantry support and anti-tank defense.
Panzer IV/70 V -> Essentially and improved Jagdpanzer IV, i.e. a StuG.
If so why were these alotted to Panzerjager units and not to Sturmgeschutzabteilunge?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Panzer IV/70 A -> A last ditch attempt at making something usefull out of the Panzer IV tank and the only StuG-type vehicle actually made as a tank replacement. Still, a lot of them ended up in StuG or Panzerjäger units rather than being tank replacements in armoured regiments.
Again why were these alotted to Panzerjagerabteilunge and not to Sturmgeschutzabteilunge?
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) -> Due to the previously mentioned bombing of Alkett, Czech factories were to build StuG IIIs. As they could not handle a vehicle of that size, a StuG was designed around available parts that the factory could handle. Same type of vehicle, same role as the StuG, nothing to do with economy.
Not sure about this bit. The Czechs allegedly wanted a bit of the pie and developed the Panzerjager 38(t) idea.
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Ferdinand/Elefant -> A heavy StuG - nothing to do with economy.
The Porche Tiger did not get built so the 90 chassis already built were put to good use. .
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Jagdpanther -> A heavy StuG - nothing to do with economy.
Once more Panzerjagerabteilunge exclusively.
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Jagdtiger -> Another heavy StuG - nothing to do with economy.
Exclusively Panzerjagerabteilunge.
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
What continues to puzzle me, is that the development of the StuG in the German Army 1935-1945 and what drove it is well known. So why does this faulty economy-argument keep popping up? There is not a shred of evidence that anyone in Germany ever thought of the StuG that way.
The Stug III happened to be cheaper than the Panzer III. It is very likely that the argument stems from this detail.
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Originally Posted by cbo View Post
Particularily as StuGs were not all that cheap. Not counting weaponry, the StuG III cost 85% of the cost of a Panzer III. It cost 80% of a Panzer IV. So best case scenario would give you 5 StuGs in exchange for 4 tanks.
I do agree.

Generally speaking I have no problem with your position on all the above. The only remark I am making is that the German military somehow made the distinction between Sturmgeschutzabtailungen and Panzerjagerabteilungen, from which follows that the German army saw these as being different. Now excepting the StuG III all of your other 'StuG' were in first instance seen as Panzerjager. Next the Heer also had something called Panzerartillerie. In the end all were Infantrie support, but with small distinctions in their main tasks within the German army.
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Last edited by dutched; 31 Jan 17 at 20:47..
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Old 31 Jan 17, 23:13
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The 75/70 gun in the Panzer IV burned out barrels quickly and had to have them replaced. The 75 used in the Sturm Panzer IV was not as powerful and could carry more shells. The IV 75/70 was therefor better suited as a Tank Hunter.

It was actually the Germans running the Czech armament factories that came up with the Hetzer. Many T-38's were converted into Marders and the Hetzer was a way to get the main gun under armor.

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Old 01 Feb 17, 08:06
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The Stug III happened to be cheaper than the Panzer III. It is very likely that the argument stems from this detail.
Out of interest, if the Stug requires fewer man hours and material to build while offering the same main armament, there is not some economic attraction? I am aware that they fulfill a different role to a fully-fledged tank and are intended for a different part of the force, but given the opportunity cost of the 2 designs versus the requirement to get guns to the front, is there not an element of economy in Stug production in terms of providing anti-tank and anti-infantry capability without diverting Panzers to provide this role.
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