Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

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Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Feb 2020 15:38

The extreme suppressive firepower of the Allies- General Westphal's "10 to 1"- that encompassed the fighting at Tunisia, Sicily, and Salerno prove of great concern to the OKW as it bodes ill for any attack in the future.

They recognize that the current tactical doctrine is under threat from enemy developments as maneuver/assault cohesion was choked off by highly reactive firepower delivery systems. Sometime after AVALANCHE they set up a training and intelligence group to revamp tactical doctrine, mainly composed of injured and uninjured combat-experienced German staff and field officers with deep service in the mediterranean theatre. These individuals pool their knowledge and experience to create a series of organizational improvements and additional training programs among the entire ground force. It is hoped that these tactical improvements gradually proliferate among the entire ground force in time for the "Second Front" and also be of use to German units fighting against the RKKA.

What would the new countermeasures against Allied suppressive firepower entail and what possible equipment would be needed?

What skills would the new training courses focus on?

How would German organization, communication systems, and assault tactics among their motorized and unmotorized formations change?

How would this innovation change the fighting in Italy and France?

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by stg 44 » 18 Feb 2020 18:46


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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Feb 2020 14:27

thanks for this, this is the type of thing I'm looking for.

The tactics of the "human wave"- applicable by ill trained troops- was practiced by the PLA in Korea, Vietcong, Soviets and to a smaller extent, XIII AK. in NORDWIND and various formations in WACHT AM RHEIN. Soviet combat history/US experience in Korea and millions of losses shows that without well coordinated air/artillery and armor support, this was of limited success against a determined opponent although it could certainly exhaust him if waves were timed adequately and in a way that it forced the defender to expend too much ammunition and combat spirit.

The German use of these waves was more prudent and smaller-scale in WACHT AM RHEIN. The ruthless deployment of Volksturm, Hiteryouth, and women in acts of mass suicide to facilitate the actions of regular troops seems to be out of the question for the Nazi politics and ideology. Unlikely to become a viable toolkit in breakthrough tactics.

There are numerous studies on militarized Buddhism that shows the role that religion/religious practice can play in the raising of these waves. It struck me as interesting and macabre that Buddhism was used by the Chinese communists to raise infantry for the Korean war and that twisted forms were used to support Japanese fanaticism in WW2.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by stg 44 » 19 Feb 2020 15:08

Cult Icon wrote:
19 Feb 2020 14:27
thanks for this, this is the type of thing I'm looking for.

The tactics of the "human wave"- applicable by ill trained troops- was practiced by the PLA in Korea, Vietcong, Soviets and to a smaller extent, XIII AK. in NORDWIND and various formations in WACHT AM RHEIN. Soviet combat history/US experience in Korea and millions of losses shows that without well coordinated air/artillery and armor support, this was of limited success against a determined opponent although it could certainly exhaust him if waves were timed adequately and in a way that it forced the defender to expend too much ammunition and combat spirit.

The German use of these waves was more prudent and smaller-scale in WACHT AM RHEIN. The ruthless deployment of Volksturm, Hiteryouth, and women in acts of mass suicide to facilitate the actions of regular troops seems to be out of the question for the Nazi politics and ideology. Unlikely to become a viable toolkit in breakthrough tactics.

There are numerous studies on militarized Buddhism that shows the role that religion/religious practice can play in the raising of these waves. It struck me as interesting and macabre that Buddhism was used by the Chinese communists to raise infantry for the Korean war and that twisted forms were used to support Japanese fanaticism in WW2.
It's debatable whether Chinese tactics actually were 'human wave':
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_wav ... ation_Army
Later, the term "human wave attack" was often misused[25] to describe the Chinese short attack — a combination of infiltration and shock tactics employed by the PLA during the Korean War.[26] According to some accounts, Marshal Peng Dehuai—the overall commander of the Chinese forces in Korea—is said to have invented this tactic.[27] A typical Chinese short attack was carried out at night by small fireteams on a narrow front against the weakest point in enemy defenses.[26] The Chinese assault team would crawl undetected within grenade range, then launch surprise attacks against the defenders in order to breach the defenses by relying on maximum shock and confusion.[26]
Having read some of the military reports on Chinese tactics and memoirs that talk about how they fought in the war it seems they really did strive to use fire teams, infiltration, cover, and surprise, but things have a tendency to break down in combat; the other side of the coin is they would send in 'waves' of fire teams regardless of cost to overwhelm limited sections of the UN lines, which even using modern tactics is highly costly.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Feb 2020 15:29

A necessary precondition would be to study the allied supply system and how much firepower could be expected to expended until the supply chain reaches a lull- which would be an opening for axis troops to advance. In WW2 I've seen 10,000-40,000 rounds dropped to halt a determined attack.

Without CAS or sufficient counterbattery fire, the timing would have renewed importance.

From my notes: "The "Thunderbirds" (US 45.ID) fired 167, 153 artillery rounds during the first 4 months in combat with the US 5th Army in Italy.
At Anzio during Feb 1944, the division fired 129,732 rounds."

The way the Germans reacted to allied fire supremacy was to split their armor into penny packets, supported by infantry and dispersed. This made it much easier for allied defenders as they only needed to eliminate 1-3 platoons of armor in a certain sector, which could be handled by local armor and AT guns. So by dispersing their German armored units already greatly impaired themselves and gave their opponent half a victory.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Feb 2020 20:51

Elsenborn ridge Dec-Jan 1944/1945 saw the concentration of some 23 artillery battalions- while impressive that is 23 artillery battalions firing on I SS PzK and not elsewhere.

I saw a schematic of a US infantry division attack and it describes one regiment (main attack) attacking on a narrow front while the other two regiments attack on a much wider front. (simultaneously).

Similar to this, perhaps a very wide attack to draw this fire, and then a main attack. There should be deceptive measures to keep the focal point of the defensive fires from concentrating against the main attack. So the main force should try to move in obscured somehow via terrain exploitation and smokescreens. To the opponent, they should be kept guessing as to where this focal point is, and kept from massing all guns in the right place. Eg. Decoy attacks to simulate the main effort

+ divisional Attacks on a wide front, main attack in columns

+ massive use of lightweight tank decoys, in the thousands to waste artillery and CAS sorties.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 19 Feb 2020 22:15, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 19 Feb 2020 21:03

stg 44 wrote:
19 Feb 2020 15:08
Having read some of the military reports on Chinese tactics and memoirs that talk about how they fought in the war it seems they really did strive to use fire teams, infiltration, cover, and surprise, but things have a tendency to break down in combat; the other side of the coin is they would send in 'waves' of fire teams regardless of cost to overwhelm limited sections of the UN lines, which even using modern tactics is highly costly.
I recall that in the Chinese used troops that lacked firearms in the 1930s- they were equipped with "Da Dao" and bags of hand grenades.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by stg 44 » 19 Feb 2020 23:35

Cult Icon wrote:
19 Feb 2020 21:03
stg 44 wrote:
19 Feb 2020 15:08
Having read some of the military reports on Chinese tactics and memoirs that talk about how they fought in the war it seems they really did strive to use fire teams, infiltration, cover, and surprise, but things have a tendency to break down in combat; the other side of the coin is they would send in 'waves' of fire teams regardless of cost to overwhelm limited sections of the UN lines, which even using modern tactics is highly costly.
I recall that in the Chinese used troops that lacked firearms in the 1930s- they were equipped with "Da Dao" and bags of hand grenades.
Part of this was a tactic; they specialized in specific roles, so grenadiers were not issued with firearms to let them carry more grenades and focus on their mission of closing with the enemy and bombing him out. WW1 saw similar tactics to deal with trenches.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 20 Feb 2020 01:56

Image

-every division issued a supply of these decoys. Special decoys could be dragged behind vehicles. Other, heavier and more sturdy decoys are made out of wood frames.

-drivers trained in simulating tank movement and placements. In attacks, decoys are deposited, semi-concealed and far enough to fool forward observers.

-in attacks the decoys outnumber the real tanks and AG by multiples, and decoys are brought right up to the front.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2020 15:19

Cult Icon wrote:
19 Feb 2020 15:29
A necessary precondition would be to study the allied supply system and how much firepower could be expected to expended until the supply chain reaches a lull- which would be an opening for axis troops to advance. In WW2 I've seen 10,000-40,000 rounds dropped to halt a determined attack.

Without CAS or sufficient counterbattery fire, the timing would have renewed importance.

From my notes: "The "Thunderbirds" (US 45.ID) fired 167, 153 artillery rounds during the first 4 months in combat with the US 5th Army in Italy.
At Anzio during Feb 1944, the division fired 129,732 rounds."

The way the Germans reacted to allied fire supremacy was to split their armor into penny packets, supported by infantry and dispersed. This made it much easier for allied defenders as they only needed to eliminate 1-3 platoons of armor in a certain sector, which could be handled by local armor and AT guns. So by dispersing their German armored units already greatly impaired themselves and gave their opponent half a victory.
Having the armor divisions in the front was not a choice. It was the consequence of not enough inf divisions. The intent was always to keep the armor together in the attack.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2020 15:26

Cult Icon wrote:
19 Feb 2020 20:51
Elsenborn ridge Dec-Jan 1944/1945 saw the concentration of some 23 artillery battalions- while impressive that is 23 artillery battalions firing on I SS PzK and not elsewhere.

I saw a schematic of a US infantry division attack and it describes one regiment (main attack) attacking on a narrow front while the other two regiments attack on a much wider front. (simultaneously).

Similar to this, perhaps a very wide attack to draw this fire, and then a main attack. There should be deceptive measures to keep the focal point of the defensive fires from concentrating against the main attack. So the main force should try to move in obscured somehow via terrain exploitation and smokescreens. To the opponent, they should be kept guessing as to where this focal point is, and kept from massing all guns in the right place. Eg. Decoy attacks to simulate the main effort

+ divisional Attacks on a wide front, main attack in columns

+ massive use of lightweight tank decoys, in the thousands to waste artillery and CAS sorties.
Unfortunately, a flexible artillery fire direction will be able to deal with this. A lot of artillery firepower that cannot be suppressed is a big advantage. There was no way the Germans were going to break through at Elsenborn.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2020 15:27

Cult Icon wrote:
20 Feb 2020 01:56
Image

-every division issued a supply of these decoys. Special decoys could be dragged behind vehicles. Other, heavier and more sturdy decoys are made out of wood frames.

-drivers trained in simulating tank movement and placements. In attacks, decoys are deposited, semi-concealed and far enough to fool forward observers.

-in attacks the decoys outnumber the real tanks and AG by multiples, and decoys are brought right up to the front.
These were certainly used sometimes

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Feb 2020 17:17

Aida1 wrote:
22 Feb 2020 15:26
Cult Icon wrote:
19 Feb 2020 20:51
Elsenborn ridge Dec-Jan 1944/1945 saw the concentration of some 23 artillery battalions- while impressive that is 23 artillery battalions firing on I SS PzK and not elsewhere.

I saw a schematic of a US infantry division attack and it describes one regiment (main attack) attacking on a narrow front while the other two regiments attack on a much wider front. (simultaneously).

Similar to this, perhaps a very wide attack to draw this fire, and then a main attack. There should be deceptive measures to keep the focal point of the defensive fires from concentrating against the main attack. So the main force should try to move in obscured somehow via terrain exploitation and smokescreens. To the opponent, they should be kept guessing as to where this focal point is, and kept from massing all guns in the right place. Eg. Decoy attacks to simulate the main effort

+ divisional Attacks on a wide front, main attack in columns

+ massive use of lightweight tank decoys, in the thousands to waste artillery and CAS sorties.
Unfortunately, a flexible artillery fire direction will be able to deal with this. A lot of artillery firepower that cannot be suppressed is a big advantage. There was no way the Germans were going to break through at Elsenborn.
I'll endorse that as a former artillery guy. The ability of the Commonwealth and US artillery to redirect artillery fire concentrations on a corps front, literally within minutes is a form of tactical maneuver that outruns everything else. The Germans ran into the same thing on a few occasions fighting the French in 1940. On 12 May at Thisiens it took the lead units of the 4th Pz Div all day to advance ten km & capture two villages. The French defense was supported by three battalion groupes of 75mm & one of 105mm caliber cannon. The rapidity of response and shifting of concentrations left the attackers thinking they were under the fire of a dozen or more cannon Groupes. One officer,a veteran of WWI stated he had never been under such intense fire. In actuality the French did not use more than their basic load of ammunition, it was a perception created by constant attacks on each attempt of the tanks & infantry to move forward, or flank the villages. The battle ended in early evening when the command tank of the panzer regiment commander was hit & damaged in a artillery concentration.

Note that rapidity of response and concentration of projectile impacts in time and accuracy reduces ammunition requirement. A dozen projectiles rapidly from a single battery is far more effective than five dozen strung out over five or ten minutes.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Feb 2020 18:49

There are openings; you just have to find them.

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Re: Tactical innovation, adapting to Allied suppressive firepower

Post by Aida1 » 23 Feb 2020 18:59

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Feb 2020 18:49
There are openings; you just have to find them.
You make that sound so easy but not realistic.

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