Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 30 Oct 2021 20:20

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Oct 2021 06:31
This doesn't seem true of 1941, however, and probably not of 1940 either - LW basically didn't do tactical support unless there was a strong demarcation line like Meuse River. Only AGC had real tactical air support at the beginning of Barbarossa (all Stukas concentrated there), yet Ostheer made breakthroughs often. It remains possible that crushing air support was necessary in 1942 (and after) because force ratios were worse for Germany than in 1941 and earlier, but that had force ratios remained at 1941 levels it would not have been necessary.
This is a very complex topic. The Soviets showed great change/variation in 41-44. I don't know enough about the LW in 41' to comment, except for the Tank battle of Brody/Dubno featured high volume LW air attacks from the Soviet perspective, leading to widescale disorganization of their tank forces. (Book, the Bloody triangle) Certainly it was used in crossing of Sedan in 40'. (Book, Blitzkrieg Legend)

However the method matured into the form seen in the spring of 1942, with the Luftwaffe air force liasion officer network and the movement of Fliegerkorps and Luftflotte staffs to the front lines to coordinate Dive Bomber and Medium bomber groups. Later on there were also aircraft that specialized in hunting tanks. Going into 1943, the Lawrence and Zetterling kursk books has figures of the amount of air support for the attacking corps, this was effectively the standard combat method for the rest of the war. Some 200 +/- sorties per day per division, a far cry from the extreme numbers in the Crimea and at Stalingrad but a routine figure, expected of important counterattacks in the Eastern Front.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 30 Oct 2021 23:55

stg 44 wrote:
30 Oct 2021 15:50
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
a. German re-armament skimped on artillery. They never invested the logistic vehicles that supported the British and American artillery arm or the level of C3. Most of their artillery arm was no more mobile than in 1918. Horse drawn transport was inadequate for ammunition resupply and tied to railheads. The attrition of artillery horses was horrendous and led to lots of abandoned guns in Soviet offensives. Arguably the Germans should have motorised their medium artillery rather than their anti-tank guns.
(1) I've never actually seen that claim substantiated before. The Germans had a huge artillery park at the start of the war and increasingly expanded it as time went on until defeats and mass losses of equipment coupled with increased bombing that disrupted production and a greater focus on FLAK meant shortages appeared by 1942.

(2) Germany didn't invest in motor vehicles??? They did, they just had limited production and fuel capacity. Still in 1941 during the invasion of the USSR they had the most motorized army in world history until the Americans deployed to North Africa. In the case of the US and UK armies they were only that motorized due to having a very small number of divisions, 90 for the US and IIRC about 50 at any one time for the British. Germany had nearly 200 in 1941 and they peaked at over 300 despite having had many destroyed in combat. Naturally with more divisions it is harder to fully motorize.

(3) Given the situation in Russia I'd say motorizing the AT guns was the better use. Having to deal with 20,000 AFVs in 1941 alone necessitated it.

(4) Multi purpose pieces like the 88mm FLAK and 105mm SK18 were motorized and used as both AT and artillery.
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
b. The Germans made extensive use of captured artillery, which looked good on paper, but further complicated logistics. The German Seventh Army had a ludicrous variety of artillery pieces. It was a choice to have the most for show rather than the ability to generate sustained firepower - but I guess the self delusion of the Atlantic Wall was that it might deter the allies from invasion.
(5|) They did it out of necessity given the rapid expansion of divisions and limited production capacity. Sure it complicates logistics, but you use what you have. I'm not sure why you think it was for show rather than simply an expedient forced by the situation; having less sustained firepower is better than having zero firepower due to the lack of any guns.
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
c. The German success in tactical manoeuvre and the contact battle led them to favour decentralisation. Hence e.g. 240 STuG parceled out to the infantry in penny packets rather than large numbers of field artillery tubes that could be massed as 240 gun batteries against any point on the Army front. One often overlooked aspect is that the debate about German reserves prior to D Day almost totally ignored artillery. Because there was no agreement on how the panzer divisions were to be used, few if any provision has been made for artillery contingencies. So when 1st SS Panzer Corps deployed to Normandy after D Day there had been no prior survey of gun positions or even 1:25,000 maps, even though Normandy was always one of the possible battlefields.
StuGs battalions/brigades has little to nothing to do with towed or even SP artillery. You're demonstrating a major lack of objective and serious analysis. Honestly in most situations the massing of 240 guns is pointless overkill and a waste of ammo and tubes, so having sufficient infantry support distributed is a more effective use of resources.

(6) Artillery is besides the point in Normandy given the massive shortages of everything, since the Spring collapse in Ukraine had forced the shipping of all available everything to that sector.

(7) The situation with Normandy for the 1st SS PC was more about the misconception that Calais would be the focus of the invasion, not Normandy, so they didn't print enough I guess or just weren't able to distribute what they had due to all the bombing.
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
3. Demands of the East? Yup the Germans did invest in artillery in the run up to the Second World War. However, success in Poland and France raised the idea that armour and aircraft would be the key to victory. If the Germans had more resources or fewer demands in the East they would probably have more panzer divisions.
(8) Well that contradicts your statement in the first point.
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
4. Allied action? The German lack of motor transport and their reliance on railways was a weakness in Normandy exploited to the full by the allied air forces. Op Strangle in Italy was less successful, probably because prior to Op Diadem the allies were not forcing the Germans to expend ammunition daily and they could build up ammunition stocks.
(9) Why are you only considering Normandy? I get that is your focus, but there was a LOT more to the war than the sideshow in Normandy.
So you're admitting that Allied bombing was the bigger factor, not the lack of fixation on artillery.
Re `1. Nope the Germans did not have a "Huge artillery park" compared to Britain,. France and the Soviet Union which had huge stocks from WW1. However the Germans did not invest in the motor transport to bring ammunition to the front line at 20 mph rather than 2 mph.

Re 2 No the Germans did not invest in motor transport. They had an acute shortage of motor transport and needed to use French Czech and later Italian vehicles to support Op Barbarossa.

Re 3 Why did the anti tank elements of the non motorised infantry formations did need more mobility than that of the infantry it accompanied.

Re 4 The Sk 10.5 cm and Flak 88 were only a minor part of the artillery park compared to the fH 18 and 15 cm sFH 18 which were horse drawn.
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn4331mar44.htm
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn433n1mai44.htm

Re 5. If the Germans had a large gun park why not use this? The British made use of lots of foreign artillery pieces in 1940-41 but only because they had lost most of their artillery at Dunkirk.

Re 6 Show me where artillery was transferred to the Ukraine from, or diverted from Normandy.

Re 7 Nope. my remarks are based on the FMS interview with ARKO 1 SS Corps who had some inside knowledge.

Re 8 Really? I think we are referring to shades of meaning.

Re 9 My knowledge of artillery in Normandy makes it an obvious source of examples, including the shortcomings of German horse drawn transport in that campaign.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Oct 2021 02:57

stg 44 wrote:
30 Oct 2021 15:50
I've never actually seen that claim substantiated before. The Germans had a huge artillery park at the start of the war and increasingly expanded it as time went on until defeats and mass losses of equipment coupled with increased bombing that disrupted production and a greater focus on FLAK meant shortages appeared by 1942.
Huge? Really?

At the "start of the war", well France 1940, the Heer committed to the west fielded 4,316 leFH, 1,723 sFH, 484 10cm sK, 45 15cm sK, and 171 17cm sK and 21cm Mrs. For effectively 114 divisions or 59.1 field pieces per division. Then, in June 1941, they "increasingly expanded" it to 5,890 leFH (an expansion of 27%), 2,204 sFH (an increase of 22%), 516 10cm sK (an expansion of 6%), 90 15cm sK (an increase of 50%), and 357 17cm sK and 21cm Mrs (an increase of 52%). For effectively 145 divisions or 62.4 field pieces per division (an increase of 5%).

Then let's jump forward to January 1945. The Heer fielded 6,022 leFH, an increase from just the Ostheer to the total Heer of 2%. 2,079 sFH, an increase of 17%, 537 10cm sK, an increase of 4%, 31 15cm sK, a decrease of 66%, and 280 17cm sK and 21cm Mrs, a decrease of 27%. With nominally about 285 divisions that was just 31.4 field pieces per division. However, the shortfall was "made up" by a massive increase in the number of captured pieces - 276 leFH, 884 sFH, 661 10cm sK, 249 15cm sK, and 106 21cm Mrs - and large numbers of 7.5cm leFK, 1,069 repurposed 7.5cm Pak and aging nA 16, plus 6,022 others captured from the French, Belgians, Soviets, Norwegians, and others. Then there were the 979 mountain guns and howitzers, so all told the number of pieces per division was closer to 67.4 pieces per division, an increase of 7% since summer 1941...and never mind of course the issues with ammunition supply and maintenance of the mass of captured and antique weapons.
Germany didn't invest in motor vehicles??? They did, they just had limited production and fuel capacity. [/quote[

Of course they did, there was a huge investment in the motor vehicle industry in Germany from 1933 to the attack on Poland. By 1939 Germany had a production capacity of roughly 400,000 cars and trucks per year, not including the VW plant at Wolfsburg.. Then about half of it was repurposed to building aircraft components of simply idled.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 03:07

Sheldrake wrote:I suspect the proportion of AA ammuniton rose.
Nope:

Image

As you can see AA ammo actually declined after 1Q 1943 while army ammo continued rising.
Sheldrake wrote:The intensity of artillery fire in the East was lower, for the most part than in the high internsity battles in the west.
As a relative matter (firing per barrel per day) that might be right but I wish we had some data. Firing during 1941 was lower than in France 1940, per barrel-day, but later exceeded it as Ostheer ammo consumption more than doubled.
Sheldrake wrote:Eberbach, GOC Panzer Group West and Fifth Panzer Army remarked that the horse drawn transport of the Seventh Army and its infantry divisions did not work effectively. The distance betwene the rail head and the Normandy battlefield was too great. His armoured formations had to lend motor transport to the infantry units.
Sure. The question is where and how to situate these facts within broader strategic analysis. Were the Germans unconcerned about ammo supply or were the Germans fighting three enormous economies and forced to make difficult choices? Eberbach, like most German field officers, would have had extremely limited insight into broad strategy, regardless of his merits as a field commander. We don't need to accept that limited field of vision, however.

None of that is to deny that there weren't suboptimal choices made, even within the German resource base. It's helpful to understand and identify these suboptimal choices in addition to the broader strategic issues.
stg44 wrote:You sure that shortage wasn't caused by the bombing of the electronics industry?
Not just bombing, the general drain on German manpower resources as it tried to fight three superpowers simultaneously. Again it's a matter of having a sufficiently complex strategic outlook.

Just for example, Germany converted many industries into producing components for electronics, as USSBS report on electrical equipment observed:
Textile mills , toy factories , candy makers and porcelain manufacturers are illustrations of industries converted to war work
...had Germany not been devoting most of its national resources to fighting the Soviet Union, the electronics industry would have had more capacity.
stg44 wrote: FLAK needs really expanded in 1943 and beyond.
As noted above, Flak shell production peaked in 1Q 1943 - well before Allied bombing reached massive proportions. Germany over-invested in Flak early in the war (and arguably late in the war as well).
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by T. A. Gardner » 31 Oct 2021 03:30

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Oct 2021 07:02
I know that a centerpiece of some folks' lives is trying to trigger Wehraboos online and that's probably where this is coming from. That's ok but I won't engage on anything other than a discussion of direct evidence on qualitative factors. The only quantitative evaluation of qualitative performance I have is TDI's various studies, which show a very slight German qualitative edge persisting into the Bulge. TDI's studies aren't perfect; its authors certainly demonstrate the full gamut of human flaws.

I could easily believe that the US army was qualitatively better in the Bulge, considering that by late '44 its soldiers were younger, better-educated, taller, fitter, etc. than the Germans. US had better communications, better morale, better supplies - among other factors. But we'll stick to evidence and avoid internet claptrap.
Dupuy's statistics are for crap. While I don't have access to the Institute's ones, those were based largely on Dupuy's original QJM model from Numbers, Predictions, and War.

The whole model is based on a simple ratio that is not an equation that works as an equality as Dupuy tries to tell us.

The results given in NPAW are not reproducible either meaning there's no way to verify anything in the book. So, Dupuy's numbers amount to nothing.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Oct 2021 03:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Oct 2021 07:02
[ The only quantitative evaluation of qualitative performance I have is TDI's various studies, which show a very slight German qualitative edge persisting into the Bulge. TDI's studies aren't perfect; its authors certainly demonstrate the full gamut of human flaws.
Really? link?

The German army themselves rated their own, partially refitted and undertrained divisions rather low. Most of the Pz and parachute divisions were rated II and IIIs, even IVs. A lot of young boys, navy and air force personnel were drafted to rebuild these units. A further factor was how many of the infantry units and some of the armored units were battered from previous fighting. The FMS, mountain of personal accounts, and divisional histories confirm this. This batch of units was a lot lower in quality than those in June 1944.

as for Army vs SS, notable is the extremely strong artillery and stronger defense facing the 6 SS Army, particularly Elsenborn ridge. The only way to neutralize this defense would be to use extremely powerful artillery forces and engage these twenty-plus battalions with counter-battery fire or launch a large-scale air offensive.

The 5th Pz Army was not so disrupted by American artillery- while they stalled at St. Vith, in the road to Bastogne there was notable weakness- thin defense. The Americans were doomed. The defeat of regimental combat teams of the 28th division were followed by a second wave (CCR 9th AD), which split into 3 task forces, defeated in detail. CCB 10th AD, the third wave was defeated and after that Bastogne was encircled, not before the 10th AD succeeded in buying time for the 101st Airborne to move into the town and the environs.

Not clear to me if units of the 5th Pz Army would have done better if they switched places with the 6 Pz Army. or if the units, particularly the 1.SS and 12.SS divisions would have been more suitable in the center.
The II SS Pz Corps in the second wave of Autumn Mist fought OK given the dramatically deteriorated strategic circumstances (many strong US reserves engaging). The 2.SS was the most deadly SS unit in the offensive.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Oct 2021 03:59

Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 08:46
Let me correct that for you...

"IF" the Germans had more resources and fewer demands in the East the artillery force in the West MIGHT have been a lot more standardized with their German 105 and 150 mm guns, infantry divisions would look more like the ones in the summer of 1941 and 1942. Maybe experiments like the 18th Artillery division would be more common, as well as more and stronger GHQ artillery. The German inf units would have been more motorized in general.
No, this is not speculation, it's what happened to German units. They started out larger, more motorized, and standardized in artillery, then deevolved into more improvised artillery (heavier and heavier use of captured pieces) and less standardized. This was a steady process that can be tracked throughout the war. A better war situation would have slowed down this movement towards lower-quality. The German artillery force in the West June 1944 had a lot of captured pieces, not typical of units earlier on. Also from Sept onward they were using a lot more 75mm guns, not typical of early war units.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Oct 2021 04:11

Who knew that "aircraft gun ammunition" and "AA ammo" were one and the same?
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Oct 2021 04:18

T. A. Gardner wrote:
31 Oct 2021 03:30
Dupuy's statistics are for crap.
Terry, we've been around this many times.
While I don't have access to the Institute's ones, those were based largely on Dupuy's original QJM model from Numbers, Predictions, and War.
So you don't actually know what those "ones" were, but you know where they were from, and that they are crap.

Try to parse the logic in that out to me. Please.
The whole model is based on a simple ratio that is not an equation that works as an equality as Dupuy tries to tell us.
Nope.
The results given in NPAW are not reproducible either meaning there's no way to verify anything in the book.
Of course they are, they've been reproduced many times. Even Rand has reproduced and used them, first carefully filing off the serial numbers.
So, Dupuy's numbers amount to nothing.
Um, no, all you have said is that you don't know what they are, so they're crap. Again, please try to trace the logical thread there.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 04:24

Cult Icon wrote:
31 Oct 2021 03:34
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Oct 2021 07:02
[ The only quantitative evaluation of qualitative performance I have is TDI's various studies, which show a very slight German qualitative edge persisting into the Bulge. TDI's studies aren't perfect; its authors certainly demonstrate the full gamut of human flaws.
Really? link?
Going back into a 2000 TDI study and its summary form, I wasn't recalling precisely. The summary says:
Results from Ardennes Data:
Mission Success [emphasis added]

It does not appear that the US Army
performed better in the attack in the
Ardennes engagements than it did in the
Italian engagements. Slide 9
...as all TDI studies find lower US effectiveness in Italy, this implies lower US effectiveness in the Ardennes.

However - when get into the weeds of the casualty effectiveness - versus mission success - it looks like the US might have outperformed the Germans in the Ardennes. That full study concludes on page 61:
The Germans and the US were roughly equivalent in combat effectiveness, with the US being within 20 to 30 percent of the Germans (possibly lower). This appears to have been especially true in Italy, although they may have had the same combat effectiveness in the Ardennes.
TDI's judgment there must a combination of mission and casualty effectiveness in the Ardennes, as the study's text has good evidence for higher US casualty effectiveness. The report notes, however:
Unfortunately, the Ardennes data may be biased. It includes 35 engagements drawn from the
US III Corps attack on the German southern flank. In this case, the initial US attack benefited from surprise, and the German opposition was dispersed and out of position. As such, it was an unusually successful offensive and in fact may not be a typical example. A mixture of other US attacks in the Ardennes would need to be analyzed if one was to have confidence in this data.
----------------------------------------------

Note that this 2000 study isn't a QJM-style analysis scoring weapons systems and adjusting effectiveness for relative numbers. It's purely based on number of casualties inflicted - whether one super-GI or super-Landser fought on one side or 50,000. It also ignores the effects of airpower.
Cult Icon wrote:The German army themselves rated their own, partially refitted and undertrained divisions rather low.
And rightly so, relative to their own standards. These divisions still put in respectable showing relative to the Allies, demonstrating perhaps equal combat effectiveness.

That quantitative analysis can't identify an overwhelming edge in American effectiveness is telling here. US Army had massive material advantages (inc. air support) after the battle's first days, many of the Germans were very poorly trained and their morale was quite low (apart, perhaps, from some of the psychotic SS divisions gleefully marching to Gotterdammerung).
T.A. Gardner wrote:Dupuy's statistics are for crap.
Wonderful quantitative analysis there. I will surely weight your opinion higher than Dupuy's.

If you want to be taken seriously, you'll need to better. Just as in the case of hypothetical submarine performance, saying something useful requires actually considering/doing some quantitative analysis.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 04:45

Cult Icon wrote:This is a very complex topic. The Soviets showed great change/variation in 41-44.
It's complex but at the highest level there's scant evidence that RKKA got better tactically as the war went on. The 1941 RKKA usually had numerical parity or was outnumbered across the front, yet it killed about as many Germans in the big campaign months as did the 1943 RKKA, while taking fewer bloody casualties. 3Q 1943 was the highest Soviet KIA/DOW/WIA figure of the war.
Cult Icon wrote:the Tank battle of Brody/Dubno featured high volume LW air attacks from the Soviet perspective, leading to widescale disorganization of their tank forces. (Book, the Bloody triangle)
Bloody's a good book but IIRC the LW inflicted damage via interdiction strikes on road-marching columns, far from tactical situations. SWF's mechanized corps were road-marching back and forth in confusion, got mauled by LW and poor maintenance.
Cult Icon wrote:Certainly it was used in crossing of Sedan in 40'. (Book, Blitzkrieg Legend)
Yes but even here the material effect was low:
Interestingly enough, the German officers, who observed this terrible spectacle from a
safe distance, learned only several years after the war what the essence of the effect of the
Luftwaffe raid had really been. Due to the initiative of a lecturer on military history at the
French War College, in 1957 a meeting of officers of the former 1st Panzer Division and
French veterans who had fought there in May 1940 took place on the former battlefield of
Sedan. Graf von Kielmansegg was astonished because the actual destruction caused by the
Luftwaffe—measured against the tremendous effort—was minimal. Hardly a single
bunker suffered a direct hit that destroyed it, and only fifty-six men were listed as
casualties. But the indirect effect was all the more enormous. The command of the 55th
Infantry Division was paralyzed because all of the telecommunications cables that were
frequently laid out in the open had been cut. Much more serious was the psychological
paralysis of individual soldiers whose nerves often were unable to withstand the sustained
bombardment of the rolling raids.
I've also seen it noted - can't remember if in Frieser's book or elsewhere - that one of the units crossing the Meuse received very little LW support and still accomplished its mission. So it's not even clear to me that LW tactical support was necessary to German success in its most famous application.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Oct 2021 04:50

I'm aware of that argument in the Blitzkrieg Legend and found the article interesting but it didn't stick.

Communications breakdowns is a frequent effect of heavy artillery fire.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 04:59

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 04:11
Who knew that "aircraft gun ammunition" and "AA ammo" were one and the same?
Thank you Richard. I knew I was right on the point but grabbed the wrong table from USSBS.

So let me revise my response from:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Oct 2021 03:07
Sheldrake wrote:I suspect the proportion of AA ammuniton rose.
Nope:

Image
To...

...still nope:

Image

As you can see AA ammo share was below 20% of total ammo output in 1944, was significantly higher during Barbarossa.

As you can also see, army share of ammo peaked in late 1944.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 05:05

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 04:18
T. A. Gardner wrote:
31 Oct 2021 03:30
Dupuy's statistics are for crap.
Terry, we've been around this many times.
While I don't have access to the Institute's ones, those were based largely on Dupuy's original QJM model from Numbers, Predictions, and War.
So you don't actually know what those "ones" were, but you know where they were from, and that they are crap.
Am I right in reading the 2000 study as not involving weapon scoring, but being based entirely on casualty counts? If so, there's not even an arguable link between the QJM model and the 2000 studies you and Chris Lawrence did after Dupuy's death. That point should be obvious but if one doesn't even bother to read anything before opining...
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 05:12

Cult Icon wrote:
31 Oct 2021 04:50
Communications breakdowns is a frequent effect of heavy artillery fire.
Undoubtedly. The other step Frieser makes is to suggest that psychological paralysis played a decisive role but (1) the Germans crossed in areas where LW couldn't have inflicted such paralysis and (2) compare Goodwood's carpet bombing psychological effect to Sedan - if wasn't decisive there, how are we to believe it was at Sedan? (other than that the French are weak, which is a myth IMO).
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