German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 10 Dec 2019 01:56

from what I've heard, the K98 was one of the best rifles in the entire war. I don't know if the Springfield was on par with it (to my knowledge a lot of the Springfield was based on the K98), but I feel as though the combination of the MG, rifles, better grenades (the German stick grenade could be thrown farther than the American pineapple),combat experience (however minimal it may have been), and the better working relationship (the Germans would have had experience working together under fire), would have resulted in the Germans overcoming the Marines, who would find themselves with unequal equipment and an unrefined working relationship.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 10 Dec 2019 02:00

Sheldrake wrote:
10 Dec 2019 01:50


If you want a bunch of self reliant aggressive infantrymen I'd pick an Australian or New Zealand section. The whole AIF were living legends.
Bery Jacka, Edgar Towner, Stanley Macdougall. Any of these chaps would take on a whole German platoon on their own.
This episode of ANZACs is set five months' before Alvin York's stunt.

If you think this is an exaggeration check out
https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com ... 519183.PDF
this isn't a comparison with the ANZACs, however good they may have been.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Dec 2019 02:45

I have questions wrote:
10 Dec 2019 01:56
from what I've heard, the K98 was one of the best rifles in the entire war. I don't know if the Springfield was on par with it (to my knowledge a lot of the Springfield was based on the K98), but I feel as though the combination of the MG, rifles, better grenades (the German stick grenade could be thrown farther than the American pineapple),combat experience (however minimal it may have been), and the better working relationship (the Germans would have had experience working together under fire), would have resulted in the Germans overcoming the Marines, who would find themselves with unequal equipment and an unrefined working relationship.
The German stick grenade is only better offensively. Defensively, it's much worse. That's because the Mk II US grenade is a fragmentation one rather than relying on blast. The USMC also has a much better and more available rifle grenade launcher. This is an often overlooked and underrated weapon system. The US one could fire a Mk II grenade to about 100 yards. The more compact US grenade can also be more easily carried in larger numbers.

The M1 Garand owes nothing to the K98 in its design. In fact, originally it was to be .276 caliber but this was rejected because of large existing stocks of .30 ammunition.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 10 Dec 2019 03:56

T. A. Gardner wrote:
10 Dec 2019 02:45


The German stick grenade is only better offensively. Defensively, it's much worse. That's because the Mk II US grenade is a fragmentation one rather than relying on blast. The USMC also has a much better and more available rifle grenade launcher. This is an often overlooked and underrated weapon system. The US one could fire a Mk II grenade to about 100 yards. The more compact US grenade can also be more easily carried in larger numbers.

The M1 Garand owes nothing to the K98 in its design. In fact, originally it was to be .276 caliber but this was rejected because of large existing stocks of .30 ammunition.
how does that make it worse? Shock can work in both offense and defense, stunning an attacker long enough so that you can eliminate them, or blowing them off their feet is not a flaw, add that to the fact that the Marines have no combat experience at this point, the attack would bog down pretty fast.

rifle grenades are very inaccurate as pointed out previously, whether or not it can fire 100 yards is irrelevant, especially when you consider the small scale of this engagement.

being able to carry large numbers of grenades is great and all, but if you can't get within throwing distance, what is the point?

my comment was in reference to the 1903 Springfield, not the M1

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Dec 2019 05:52

I have questions wrote:
10 Dec 2019 03:56
how does that make it worse? Shock can work in both offense and defense, stunning an attacker long enough so that you can eliminate them, or blowing them off their feet is not a flaw, add that to the fact that the Marines have no combat experience at this point, the attack would bog down pretty fast.
Because the blast radius of an offensive grenade is small. This is so the user can be moving forward as they use the grenade. Fragmentation is limited. A fragmentation grenade has roughly equal blast effect but the fragments will carry several times further than the blast increasing the danger space of the grenade.

As for experience, unlike most German units, the USMC was a volunteer service with mostly career members. The majority of the Wehrmacht is conscript, much of it without any combat experience either. Aside from that, many USMC NCO's and some officers had combat experience from places like Nicaragua (up to 1932) or had served on the Yangtse Station in China. So, on the whole they would likely have as much combat experience in a unit as most German infantry units had. The difference would be that the Marines would all have considerably more time in training than most of their German counterparts.
rifle grenades are very inaccurate as pointed out previously, whether or not it can fire 100 yards is irrelevant, especially when you consider the small scale of this engagement.
Where do you get that from? Out to about 100 yards plus, a trained grenadier could easily place a grenade close enough to a target to injure or kill it. He could fire it through a window or door on a building at that range. The M9A1 HEAT rifle grenade was often preferred to the Bazooka in many infantry units as it could be fired as accurately against a tank, was equally effective, and didn't have the large blast signature. It was also more compact so it was easier to carry.

This is Ian who does Forgotten Weapons and knows what he's talking about:


being able to carry large numbers of grenades is great and all, but if you can't get within throwing distance, what is the point?
You have the grenadier with the rifle grenade launcher place rounds on suspected enemy positions.
my comment was in reference to the 1903 Springfield, not the M1
That's true but not significant to the current discussion.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by Sheldrake » 10 Dec 2019 10:09

I have questions wrote:
10 Dec 2019 02:00
Sheldrake wrote:
10 Dec 2019 01:50


If you want a bunch of self reliant aggressive infantrymen I'd pick an Australian or New Zealand section. The whole AIF were living legends.
Bery Jacka, Edgar Towner, Stanley Macdougall. Any of these chaps would take on a whole German platoon on their own.
This episode of ANZACs is set five months' before Alvin York's stunt.

If you think this is an exaggeration check out
https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com ... 519183.PDF
this isn't a comparison with the ANZACs, however good they may have been.
The Digger ethos was inherited by their son's generation.

The USMC never faced the Germans at squad level in 1941. The Australians of the second expeditionary force did.

14,000 "Rats of Tobruk" faced German infantry on the Tobruk perimeter. They dominated no mans land. Chapter 7 of the Australian official history here https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com ... 519387.PDF
Their commanders included general "Ming the merciless" Moreshead, who had commanded a battalion (33rd AIG?) 1917-18.

Forget the geekery of my grenade/rifle is better than yours. It was the quality of the men that mattered.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by Cult Icon » 10 Dec 2019 14:59

Sheldrake wrote:
10 Dec 2019 01:50
Not really. The USMC fight their own battles. The OP didn't pit a bunch of GIs but wanted MARINES.
An 18-year old marine recruit is some kind of superman and far superior to american army troops? doubtful. They have better military propaganda though, like the Waffen SS.

I've studied troop training schedules and German troops spend a lot of time with various types of markmanship training with their rifles- dubious for anyone to assume that they were ill trained in its use. It is not rocket science and it is one of the first things taught and repeatedly practiced.

Typically, as with other armies- they started at squad, platoon levels, then company, then larger formation etc. The larger formation training was comparatively rare after 1941-1942.

The highest rated US army division in WW2 was a national guard division (30th Infantry Division) with decidedly non-elite culture, uniforms, regalia, and marketing.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Dec 2019 18:46

Sheldrake wrote:
10 Dec 2019 10:09
Forget the geekery of my grenade/rifle is better than yours. It was the quality of the men that mattered.
And in that respect, the USMC has better quality in most ways. Like I pointed out, most German infantry in 1941 is conscripts. The quality varies. If we were to take say a bodenstände division in say France that is equipped in part with Czech and French weapons (say the FM 24 automatic rifle that's roughly the equivalent of a BAR),

Image

and mostly composed of middle aged men who have never seen combat and would have been rejected for service in peacetime, and they are led by second-rate officers who entered the military because of the war.

There's a whole thread here on captured small arms in use:

viewtopic.php?f=71&t=99382

Or, some unit on the Eastern front that has been decimated in combat and the surviving troops suffer from what we now call PTSD and are in poor health due to being out in the weather constantly...

The USMC was only taking men in that were equal to what the Germans were like three years previous. The USMC isn't using captured, hand-me-down equipment or suffering shortages of equipment and supply. They aren't going to get the equivalent of a replacement battalion of men with just a few weeks basic training like German divisions would with the expectation that the division would train them some more before putting them in the line.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 11 Dec 2019 03:06

T. A. Gardner wrote:
10 Dec 2019 18:46
Or, some unit on the Eastern front that has been decimated in combat and the surviving troops suffer from what we now call PTSD and are in poor health due to being out in the weather constantly...

The USMC was only taking men in that were equal to what the Germans were like three years previous. The USMC isn't using captured, hand-me-down equipment or suffering shortages of equipment and supply. They aren't going to get the equivalent of a replacement battalion of men with just a few weeks basic training like German divisions would with the expectation that the division would train them some more before putting them in the line.
Man, you can experience combat and be perfectly functional, plenty of German troops (while certainly not the majority) made it through the war in the east without having to worry about PTSD getting in the way during combat.

fair enough, but the USMC doesn't have as a good a working relationship as the Germans, because, as pointed out previously they have combat experience, not much, but some is better than none. You also forget that at this point many German troops had had years of preparation. The Hitler Youth from 10 to 18, (they would learn the fundamentals of soldiering, also, as far as motivation, a great deal would have been heavily indoctrinated), then there was the RAD which reinforced even more military training and tested an individual's endurance, and then we get to the 16 week army basic training (which was longer than the USMC's), after that they would undergo more training at their unit. Saying the USMC was training longer and harder is not true, note that just because you can perform in peace time doesn't mean you will be good in war time. The German infantry had already proven its durability in combat, the USMC hadn't, sure you can throw up Nicaragua in 1932. But, that was 8 years ago, I am certain that many of them would have left by this point, and those that did remain would be too senior in the chain of command to be engaged in a squad vs squad battle.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 11 Dec 2019 06:31

I have questions wrote:
11 Dec 2019 03:06
Man, you can experience combat and be perfectly functional, plenty of German troops (while certainly not the majority) made it through the war in the east without having to worry about PTSD getting in the way during combat.
Obviously you've never read any of the research on this starting with the seminal work from WW 2 by Gilbert Bebee and John Appel, Variation in Psychological Tolerance to Ground Combat in World War II. They followed 99 US infantry companies in the MTO and ETO from entry into combat to the end of the war.
They found nobody gets out of combat unaffected. The degree varies but the longer you're exposed the more certain it becomes you lose it.

https://www.worldcat.org/title/variatio ... lc/2783869
fair enough, but the USMC doesn't have as a good a working relationship as the Germans, because, as pointed out previously they have combat experience, not much, but some is better than none. You also forget that at this point many German troops had had years of preparation. The Hitler Youth from 10 to 18, (they would learn the fundamentals of soldiering, also, as far as motivation, a great deal would have been heavily indoctrinated), then there was the RAD which reinforced even more military training and tested an individual's endurance, and then we get to the 16 week army basic training (which was longer than the USMC's), after that they would undergo more training at their unit. Saying the USMC was training longer and harder is not true, note that just because you can perform in peace time doesn't mean you will be good in war time. The German infantry had already proven its durability in combat, the USMC hadn't, sure you can throw up Nicaragua in 1932. But, that was 8 years ago, I am certain that many of them would have left by this point, and those that did remain would be too senior in the chain of command to be engaged in a squad vs squad battle.
You must have missed the part where I pointed out that the USMC was a long service volunteer organization and that many of its NCO's and officers did have combat experience, which is where you need it most. In fact, some USMC senior NCO's and officers served in WW 1. I don't think the Wehrmacht had any great advantage there.
Another point I made, that by 1941 German infantry units were already suffering from lowering of standards.
You leave out in the above that the USMC while having a shorter boot camp had a much longer period of specialized training afterwards in things like amphibious operations.
The USMC, like the US Army by 1941 could also expend exponentially more ammunition in live fires and training than the Germans could.

On the whole, I don't think either side with the Germans having troops from one of their better divisions would find much difference in fighting quality. On the other hand, if the German troops were from one of the upwards of 50% + of the Wehrmacht that were garrison, security, anti-partisan, or otherwise second or third tier units the German squad would be at a serious disadvantage.

I will add this: With one exception, after 1940, no German infantry division or infantry divisions (note the s) was able to successfully conduct a large (regimental and up) offensive operation against their Western counterparts (British or American). The one exception is the 106th Infantry Division in the Ardennes where three VG divisions were able to force two out of three regiments to surrender effectively crippling the division. One must note however that the 106th had been in its position in the Ardennes for a week and that was the sum total of its operational experience post training.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 12 Dec 2019 01:16

T. A. Gardner wrote:
11 Dec 2019 06:31

Obviously you've never read any of the research on this starting with the seminal work from WW 2 by Gilbert Bebee and John Appel, Variation in Psychological Tolerance to Ground Combat in World War II. They followed 99 US infantry companies in the MTO and ETO from entry into combat to the end of the war.
They found nobody gets out of combat unaffected. The degree varies but the longer you're exposed the more certain it becomes you lose it.
I'm not saying that they weren't affected. Note that many were wounded multiple times and had months in hospital and would then receive some time off to recover further. When I say they could make it through the war in the east it was with the understanding that they would be taken off the line multiple times throughout because of injury or their unit getting rebuilt. Also, why doesn't this work both ways? Ok, fine, they would/might have had PTSD, but who is to say that the combat experienced Marines you speak so fondly of wouldn't have PTSD either?

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2019 16:45

T. A. Gardner wrote:
11 Dec 2019 06:31
...

I will add this: With one exception, after 1940, no German infantry division or infantry divisions (note the s) was able to successfully conduct a large (regimental and up) offensive operation against their Western counterparts (British or American). The one exception is the 106th Infantry Division in the Ardennes where three VG divisions were able to force two out of three regiments to surrender effectively crippling the division. One must note however that the 106th had been in its position in the Ardennes for a week and that was the sum total of its operational experience post training.
This is a digression, but one significant contribution to the surrender of 2/3 of the 106th Div was a ill considered order to break out. The intent had been to generate a attack east to link up and evacuate the trapped regiments from their pocket. That rescue never developed in any effective way. Events in the form of other German units advancing overran the plans. There was also a aborted air resupply mission. The two regiments still attempted to follow orders, moved out of their entrenched ridge top positions, and attempted to attack west. This left them short ammo, without rations, lacking coordinated fire from their support weapons, and exposed on the wooded slopes and low ground roads and fields. The green officers could not cope with this increasingly difficult situation and morale started breaking. How long the two regiments & affiliated units might have lasted had they remained in their entrenchments (laid out by the veteran 2d ID) is a open question. But the Germans would have probably short term bypassed the pocket rather than assault up wooded ridges against a a unrecinoitered and unknown group. A week alter it might have been different but in the short term the VG divisions would have had difficulties with a hasty attack into good defensive ground.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 13 Dec 2019 22:40

My point Carl was to show / ask If German infantry units are so awesome, why were they such failures in the offense? Of course, the answer is that the Germans concentrated their best into a handful of units--maybe 15 to 20% of the whole Wehrmacht-- while the rest of those divisions raised were really only good for defensive operations, garrison duty, or anti-partisan work, that sort of thing.

While this doesn't show up as readily at the squad level, it gets more obvious as you move up the scale of the unit(s) involved.

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 14 Dec 2019 18:52

T. A. Gardner wrote:
13 Dec 2019 22:40
My point Carl was to show / ask If German infantry units are so awesome, why were they such failures in the offense? Of course, the answer is that the Germans concentrated their best into a handful of units--maybe 15 to 20% of the whole Wehrmacht-- while the rest of those divisions raised were really only good for defensive operations, garrison duty, or anti-partisan work, that sort of thing.

While this doesn't show up as readily at the squad level, it gets more obvious as you move up the scale of the unit(s) involved.
they were no failures. Comparing the two sides, the Germans were able to triumph in their first engagements, meanwhile, the Americans, when they first met the Germans in a serious battle (mind you the Americans were on defense) they were utterly destroyed, and this was 1943! German elite units were not the only good ones, to name a few regular units which proved extremely reliable and packed a serious punch: 1st ID, 83ID, 97th JD, 5th PD, 4th PD. Also note that none of these units were the ones which gave the Americans their first taste of the Wehrmacht. Perhaps you should consider this: Most quality German units were in the East and consequently didn't fight the Americans. The fact that the Germans held up the Americans for 7-8 months without their best units out there really reflects more about the quality of the American military than the Germans. Oh, and please don't bring up the Das Reich or LSSAH, they were only there for 2 months and were swiftly transferred back east. Also the German divisions were recruited based on geography, hence the Wehrkreis system. Sure, units in the Waffen-SS took from all over, and the GD was the only army unit which took from a variety of regions, the Germans didn't just pluck whoever and send them to this unit because they had proved themselves. That wasn't at all how it worked. If you proved your worth you would stay in your unit, maybe get a promotion, or some awards.


You obviously don't know that much about the Wehrmacht given your comment. Also this is extremely off topic. What does a 1944 operation have to do with 1941 German Infantry vs USMC Infantry?

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Re: German Infantry (1941) vs USMC Infantry (1941)

Post by I have questions » 14 Dec 2019 19:00

Sheldrake wrote:
10 Dec 2019 10:09

Forget the geekery of my grenade/rifle is better than yours. It was the quality of the men that mattered.
Thank you!

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