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  #46  
Old 12 Aug 17, 03:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
There were boys as young as 12 in the Volkstrum. In the last year they were drafting the 16 year olds and Guderian claimed he prevented the 15 year olds from being called up. They fought in the Volkstrum instead. A twelve year old with a Panzerfaust scared the Hades out of American Tankers.

Pruitt
I have heard about those but never met them Pru. We were in Germany a short while then were Flown north to take part in the occupation of Kiel.lcm1
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  #47  
Old 12 Aug 17, 03:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Yeah, but not WWII vintage I'm afraid.
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  #48  
Old 12 Aug 17, 06:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nastle View Post
I'm sure this has been discussed before.But would like to get opinions of others
A lot of people consider the german military and its weapons almost supernatural
bismarck best battleship
panzers best tanks
etc
What is the reason for this ? why this tendency to exaggerate the capabilities of german weapons ?
The best American historian who studies the war on Eastern Front is David Glantz. He says the Soviets defeated the Germans tactically and operationally and this is a fact, regardless of what the German literature wrote after the war.

Also, he says German intelligence throughout the war was very poor, and the Soviets could put their divisions on trains and such and move them around the country at will, without revealing their location. As a result, German commanders had only very superficial understanding who was facing them and what was their quality and numbers. That's why during famous Russian counteroffensives like Moscow 1941 or Stalingrad 1942, the Germans are always surprised and have no clue where the fresh Soviet troops have come from. I'm not a professional soldier, but this makes the Germans look incompetent.

Glantz says after the war when German officers wrote their memoirs there was a deliberate effort to shift responsibility to make it look like the Wehrmacht didn't screw up. Blame was shifted on Hitler, on the weather, on Soviet numerical superiority and so forth. This is where German memoirs started to created this mythology of superior German arms that you mention.

Glantz says during the key campaigns the Soviets did not have numerical superiority at the points of engagements, not in decisive way. What was decisive was the quality of the Red Army soldier. He was truly an excellent soldier, hard, used to hardships, well-trained, happily eating crude food rations like kasha or black bread.
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  #49  
Old 12 Aug 17, 06:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
There were boys as young as 12 in the Volkstrum. In the last year they were drafting the 16 year olds and Guderian claimed he prevented the 15 year olds from being called up. They fought in the Volkstrum instead. A twelve year old with a Panzerfaust scared the Hades out of American Tankers.

Pruitt
15 year old Hans-Georg Henke after being taken prisoner - doesn't look very frightening.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/...03_306x423.jpg
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  #50  
Old 12 Aug 17, 10:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
German logistics were often by a shoestring. Artillery shells and ammo could be scarce. Fuel was also limited. As the railroads were disrupted, so was the lines of supply.

The German troops used to attack in the Ardennes were accumulated by the Head of the Reserve Army to use in the coup to overthrow Hitler. The Germans used all the replacements, arms and equipment they had not been sending to the front to refill the divisions. The Navy and Luftwaffe were combed out and the men became Infantry.

There was a severe shortage of Junior and Field Officers. The 3rd and 5th Fallschirmjaeger divisions went around the field in bunches. American Field Observers for the Artillery could not believe their eyes.

Several Volksgrenadier Divisions had a good cadre of leaders and experienced NCO's and did very well. The SS divisions underperformed. The 1st and 2nd SS Panzers had been tasked to provide cadres to new SS Divisions.

Pruitt
thanks
doesn't this mean that the military fought even better, if they were short/etc on supplies? generally speaking
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  #51  
Old 12 Aug 17, 11:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
Yeah, but not WWII vintage I'm afraid.
Didn't you know, that was a secret German wunderwaffe that the Americans stole the technology for...?
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  #52  
Old 12 Aug 17, 11:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
15 year old Hans-Georg Henke after being taken prisoner - doesn't look very frightening.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/...03_306x423.jpg
There is a famous picture of an underage Hitler Jugend soldier that showed him after the Canadians captured him in Normandy. He was showing a Black Eye and looked like he had been roughed up a bit. Of course the HJ shot some Canadian POW's in Normandy so the boy was lucky to be alive. The 12th SS was full of fanatical teenagers and some volunteered before they were 17.

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  #53  
Old 12 Aug 17, 23:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
There is a famous picture of an underage Hitler Jugend soldier that showed him after the Canadians captured him in Normandy. He was showing a Black Eye and looked like he had been roughed up a bit. Of course the HJ shot some Canadian POW's in Normandy so the boy was lucky to be alive. The 12th SS was full of fanatical teenagers and some volunteered before they were 17.

Pruitt
Yes I don't doubt it Pru, but the German youngsters that I met were like us around the 18 mark. Must admit no ages were asked but you can tell in most cases the difference between a 16 year old and an 18 year old. ( Particularly when you are one yourself. ) I have just thought about the German fighter pilot they pulled out of the sea off of 'Sword', now he looked a real youngster. ) lcm1
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  #54  
Old 12 Aug 17, 23:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nastle View Post
it is and that is much more justified by i always see this perception amongst people that german WEAPONs were better

not talking about ww2 history buffs but general public
Some were, some were not.
The 88mm is famous for a lot of reasons, but what stands out for me is the fact that it was available from day one, and was always built with ground action in mind.

The USA wasn't too interested in anti-tank guns in the 1930s, we had the 50-cal MG. Then we wound up copying the German 37mm, and then it was the British 57mm. At the end, we had Navy 3" AA guns converted to AT guns... always coming up a day late and a dollar short in this field.

And then there were things like the Panzerfaust and the "S" mine and the MG 42. You have to forgive the Grunts for looking at stuff like this envy, and fear.

Then again, things like the Mauser K98, MP-40, Me-109 (2nd half of the war) and their field artillery were... spectacularly hum-drum.

When it comes to total crap, there was always stuff like the Me 110-410, foolishly huge cannon, and the Mark II panzer.

A mixed bag, to be sure. On the average, they probably had an edge over their opponents in terms of individual weapons, but not by as much as most people think.
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  #55  
Old 12 Aug 17, 23:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Some were, some were not.
The 88mm is famous for a lot of reasons, but what stands out for me is the fact that it was available from day one, and was always built with ground action in mind.

The USA wasn't too interested in anti-tank guns in the 1930s, we had the 50-cal MG. Then we wound up copying the German 37mm, and then it was the British 57mm. At the end, we had Navy 3" AA guns converted to AT guns... always coming up a day late and a dollar short in this field.

And then there were things like the Panzerfaust and the "S" mine and the MG 42. You have to forgive the Grunts for looking at stuff like this envy, and fear.

Then again, things like the Mauser K98, MP-40, Me-109 (2nd half of the war) and their field artillery were... spectacularly hum-drum.

When it comes to total crap, there was always stuff like the Me 110-410, foolishly huge cannon, and the Mark II panzer.

A mixed bag, to be sure. On the average, they probably had an edge over their opponents in terms of individual weapons, but not by as much as most people think.
Garand vs Mauser?

Did that at a range. Won with the Mauser but his gun broke a spring... Just saying simple is sometimes best...
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  #56  
Old 13 Aug 17, 00:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubleD View Post
There's an element to I'm sure of, well using an analogy:

It's better to have beaten the New England Patriots than say the Cleveland Browns.
well said !
esp in the case of Bismarck an average BB for its time with green crew, based on WW1 design.Operating in hostile seas w/o aircover.Hunted down by multiple battle groups inc BB and AC.Ultimately hounded by destroyer attacks and pounded by numerically and technologically superior battleships
Hardly a glorious episode of naval history

by contrast the Raid on Taranto was a much bigger success for RN but not 1/10th as famous

Last edited by nastle; 13 Aug 17 at 00:08..
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  #57  
Old 13 Aug 17, 00:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Some were, some were not.
The 88mm is famous for a lot of reasons, but what stands out for me is the fact that it was available from day one, and was always built with ground action in mind.

The USA wasn't too interested in anti-tank guns in the 1930s, we had the 50-cal MG. Then we wound up copying the German 37mm, and then it was the British 57mm. At the end, we had Navy 3" AA guns converted to AT guns... always coming up a day late and a dollar short in this field.

And then there were things like the Panzerfaust and the "S" mine and the MG 42. You have to forgive the Grunts for looking at stuff like this envy, and fear.

Then again, things like the Mauser K98, MP-40, Me-109 (2nd half of the war) and their field artillery were... spectacularly hum-drum.

When it comes to total crap, there was always stuff like the Me 110-410, foolishly huge cannon, and the Mark II panzer.

A mixed bag, to be sure. On the average, they probably had an edge over their opponents in terms of individual weapons, but not by as much as most people think.
There were some german weapons that were for sure great, but ironically they are no so famous ( atleast not amongst the general public)
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  #58  
Old 13 Aug 17, 00:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulin View Post
against the 3 greatest powers-- plus
Which only goes to show how stupid the German leadership were in getting themselves into such a position in the first place.
So, in the end, what was their military competence worth ?
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Old 13 Aug 17, 02:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
Some were, some were not.
The 88mm is famous for a lot of reasons, but what stands out for me is the fact that it was available from day one, and was always built with ground action in mind.

The USA wasn't too interested in anti-tank guns in the 1930s, we had the 50-cal MG. Then we wound up copying the German 37mm, and then it was the British 57mm. At the end, we had Navy 3" AA guns converted to AT guns... always coming up a day late and a dollar short in this field.

And then there were things like the Panzerfaust and the "S" mine and the MG 42. You have to forgive the Grunts for looking at stuff like this envy, and fear.

Then again, things like the Mauser K98, MP-40, Me-109 (2nd half of the war) and their field artillery were... spectacularly hum-drum.

When it comes to total crap, there was always stuff like the Me 110-410, foolishly huge cannon, and the Mark II panzer.

A mixed bag, to be sure. On the average, they probably had an edge over their opponents in terms of individual weapons, but not by as much as most people think.
The 88 was designed from the get go to have ground sights in case they had to fire at ground targets. The mark 18 was extremely vulnerable to enemy fire.

The Soviets also bought the German 3.7cm antitank gun, but they wanted more and scaled it up to 4.5cm. The British Two Pounder was , to me a bit over complicated. They could have done better with a simple design.

The Americans had plants to make 3" antiaircraft guns, so it made sense to keep making them. We did not use Navy designs. The problem was there was no replacement in the system for several years. The 90mm was slow to get into the inventory and the AA service got just about all of them. Army Ground Forces did not see a need for a tank with a main gun larger than 75mm. The British used a Naval design for their 6 Pounder Gun. They had to delay production of it to keep producing 2 Pounders. The British has used 6 Pounder Artillery for quite a while.

German aircraft designs were coming from the companies and not so much the Luftwaffe. While the Germans built a number of underachievers, so did the other countries. Anyone remember the P-39?

The Americans had the Springfield to start the war, although the Garand had been in production for years. The Germans used a different system than the Americans. They wanted slow, accurate fire from the Mausers while the Machine Guns and Infantry Guns produced most of the weight of fire for a German Company/Battalion. The Assault Weapons they produced like the Sturmgewehr were arguably better value than the Garand.

The German Artillery was outstanding. The Americans had more and outshot the Germans.

Pruitt
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Old 13 Aug 17, 07:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The 88 was designed from the get go to have ground sights in case they had to fire at ground targets. The mark 18 was extremely vulnerable to enemy fire.

The Soviets also bought the German 3.7cm antitank gun, but they wanted more and scaled it up to 4.5cm. The British Two Pounder was , to me a bit over complicated. They could have done better with a simple design.

The Americans had plants to make 3" antiaircraft guns, so it made sense to keep making them. We did not use Navy designs. The problem was there was no replacement in the system for several years. The 90mm was slow to get into the inventory and the AA service got just about all of them. Army Ground Forces did not see a need for a tank with a main gun larger than 75mm. The British used a Naval design for their 6 Pounder Gun. They had to delay production of it to keep producing 2 Pounders. The British has used 6 Pounder Artillery for quite a while.

German aircraft designs were coming from the companies and not so much the Luftwaffe. While the Germans built a number of underachievers, so did the other countries. Anyone remember the P-39?

The Americans had the Springfield to start the war, although the Garand had been in production for years. The Germans used a different system than the Americans. They wanted slow, accurate fire from the Mausers while the Machine Guns and Infantry Guns produced most of the weight of fire for a German Company/Battalion. The Assault Weapons they produced like the Sturmgewehr were arguably better value than the Garand.

The German Artillery was outstanding. The Americans had more and outshot the Germans.

Pruitt
Thanks for the Info: Pru, I expect you have fallen in to the fact that I know practically nothing of the technical side of ground warfare, relying solely on the basic face to face of these various weapons and situations. lcm1
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