Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Oct 2021 05:21

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Oct 2021 05:12

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).
The GOODWOOD carpet bombing dropped on two Pz battalions, effectively the 21.Pz armored reserve- which it did batter/temporarily neutralize, greatly reducing their role in the German defense.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Oct 2021 10:07

Cult Icon wrote:
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.
OK I see what you mean. Sure the Germans might have reversed the organisdational changes that stripped motor vehicles, but this would still have left most of the German army reliant on horse drawn transport for its artillery logistics.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 10:41

Sheldrake wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:07
Sure the Germans might have reversed the organisdational changes that stripped motor vehicles, but this would still have left most of the German army reliant on horse drawn transport for its artillery logistics.
That conclusion is based on missing evidentiary elements:
(1) demonstration that horse-drawn artillery logistics - as opposed to tactical/operational mobility of the artillery pieces themselves - dominated German practices earlier, as discussed here.
(2) any quantification of (a) requirements to replace horse-drawn artillery logistics and (b) the feasibility of such replacement given the overall resource pool.

These are complicated topics for which I don't claim sufficient data to give an answer. Neither have I seen anyone else give a good answer.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Michael Kenny » 31 Oct 2021 11:17

Cult Icon wrote:
31 Oct 2021 05:21


The GOODWOOD carpet bombing dropped on two Pz battalions, effectively the 21.Pz armored reserve- which it did batter/temporarily neutralize, greatly reducing their role in the German defense.

'Temporarily neutralize'? I think the elimination of a complete Tiger Company (a third of an Abteilung) and the total destruction of 9 Pz IV would be a great deal more serious than a 'temporary neutralisation. The remaining Tigers of sPzAbt 503 did very little for the rest of GOODWOOD. von Rosen was so shaken by the bombing that as soon as he started taking hits on his group of surviving tanks he immediately retreated to safety.
Tiger & Pz IV graveyard_28.jpg
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Oct 2021 11:28

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:41
Sheldrake wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:07
Sure the Germans might have reversed the organisdational changes that stripped motor vehicles, but this would still have left most of the German army reliant on horse drawn transport for its artillery logistics.
That conclusion is based on missing evidentiary elements:
(1) demonstration that horse-drawn artillery logistics - as opposed to tactical/operational mobility of the artillery pieces themselves - dominated German practices earlier, as discussed here.
(2) any quantification of (a) requirements to replace horse-drawn artillery logistics and (b) the feasibility of such replacement given the overall resource pool.

These are complicated topics for which I don't claim sufficient data to give an answer. Neither have I seen anyone else give a good answer.
Eberbach gave the short answer.

You could do the staff work yourself. I have better things to do with my Sunday morning

Here you go.

Road transport pace for horse transport 2 .5 mph including short halts

Allow for eight hours of darkness in July.

The Heavy Army Field Vehicle, Army Vehicle 2 (Hf.2) equipping light artillery columns had a capacity of 1200 kg - but the capacity of the leichte Artilleriekolonne with 32 Hf.2 is annotated as (32t)

KStN 506 (1.10.1937) will allow you to calculate the manpower required
https://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstn5061okt37.htm

How many 3 tonne capacity Opel Blitz 3.6 are needed to carry the same load?

How far might theyr travel in a summer night?

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Oct 2021 11:46

Sheldrake wrote:
31 Oct 2021 11:28
How many 3 tonne capacity Opel Blitz 3.6 are needed to carry the same load?
You don't understand the point.

It is obvious that a small truck column has greater capacity than horses, especially when rated per manpower resources. It is precisely for this reason that I don't believe German artillery logistics (vs. mobility) in earlier years was primarily horsedrawn (Rasputitsa aside) - German ID-organic truck columns in Barbarossa were underutilized and had greater schlepping power than horses. So you're probably wrong on that earlier point. Though as this is circumstantial evidence, rather than direct, I'll leave room for doubt (direct evidence would regard who actually carried what, this is evidence regarding who optimally would have been assigned to carry what - it relies on an intervening inference that the Germans did the obviously smarter thing rather than the dumb thing).

Your next move was, as I read you, to claim that the Germans in Normandy chose the obviously-less-efficient horsedrawn logistics for some inexplicable dumb reason - Germans can't do arithmetic, are ignorant of logistics, or something.

As Kant observed, "ought" implies "can." Thus before arguing that the Germans should have done X, you should show that they could have done X.

Additionally, you should back up your claim that previous German practice (e.g. in Barbarossa) involved excessive reliance on horse-drawn artillery logistics.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Oct 2021 12:44

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Oct 2021 10:41
These are complicated topics for which I don't claim sufficient data to give an answer. Neither have I seen anyone else give a good answer.
Hi,

I did see this article, but haven't had a chance to read it so not sure if it would help or not, but nothing ventured...

https://bjmh.gold.ac.uk/article/view/1466/1578

Regards

Tom

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by stg 44 » 31 Oct 2021 17:17

Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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.
You didn't say 'compared to these powers who never disarmed from WW1' you said they neglected their artillery arm, which they did not they just had to start from a very limited pool of artillery left over and needed to build up their industry before they could produce more. As it was they were planning on being fully rearmed as of 1942 so when the war came in 1939 they were still in the process of rebuilding their artillery stockpiles.

Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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.
Schell Plan?
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schell-Plan
Again the war came years before anyone in Germany had planned, so they had not completed the program yet. Having shortages doesn't mean they didn't invest in motor transport, it means they were caught in the middle of rearmament. For someone who claims to know so much about WW2 how do you not know that???
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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.
Because tanks are motorized and will be able to advance more quickly than horses, so there is a need for rapid movement of AT guns around the front. Besides as of 1941 the average non-motorized infantry division had something like 900 motor vehicles, so it was far from just the AT guns that were motorized in a 'foot' infantry division.
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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
Sure, they were heavy specialist pieces that needed more mobility than the standard division guns, which only had to keep pace with foot bound infantry. Fact was the heavier guns were all motorized and it was the standard division pieces in non-motorized divisions that were horse drawn...and kept pace with infantry on foot. So why motorize them so they could be faster than the guys they were following?
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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.
They did use what they had been able to produce. I'm not sure where you're getting that they didn't use artillery fire. 65% of casualties were caused by artillery after all. So what is your point?
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
Re 6 Show me where artillery was transferred to the Ukraine from, or diverted from Normandy.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. ... ode=fslv20
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
Re 7 Nope. my remarks are based on the FMS interview with ARKO 1 SS Corps who had some inside knowledge.
Ok, can you link a copy for the rest of us to evaluate or are you planning on hiding the exact words of the guy in question?
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
Re 8 Really? I think we are referring to shades of meaning.
You said:
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
German re-armament skimped on artillery.
And:
Sheldrake wrote:
29 Oct 2021 23:02
Yup the Germans did invest in artillery in the run up to the Second World War.
Feel free to clarify your meaning.
Sheldrake wrote:
30 Oct 2021 23:55
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.
It is one isolated campaign and when combined with the article linked above that shows how the situation in Ukraine diverted major resources and reserves away from Normandy, especially motor vehicles after the 1st Panzer Army lost most of their equipment in Hube's Pocket.

Here is the article link again:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. ... ode=fslv20

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 31 Oct 2021 17:59

It is one isolated campaign and when combined with the article linked above that shows how the situation in Ukraine diverted major resources and reserves away from Normandy, especially motor vehicles after the 1st Panzer Army lost most of their equipment in Hube's Pocket.
Fascinating. So the assumption is that the losses of PzAOK 1 in Ukraine in March and April 1944 resulted in the diversion of "major resources", "especially motor vehicles" from Ob.West to the Ostheer. The problem is there is essentially zero evidence for such...oh, and yes, I haven't bothered to go beyond the paywall to see what Gregory Liedtke says, since I have the primary sources for vehicle losses and accessions for the period.

Yes, Ob.West "lost" II. SS-Panzerkorps, but that was a temporary transfer of units, rather than the loss of equipment implied. In that sense, Ob.West reported the loss (including destroyed, worn out, and transferred) of the following during April and May 1944:

Motorcycles - 636
PKW - 691
LKW - 674
KrKw - 38
Maultier - 43
Radschlepper (k, m, s) - 41
Kettenschlepper - 2
RSO - 6
Kettenkrad - 3
ZgKw - 31

However, in the same period they received:

Motorcycles - 2007
PKW - 3532
LKW - 5775
KrKw - 247
Maultier - 313
Radschlepper (k, m, s) - 81
Kettenschlepper - 30
RSO - 118
Kettenkrad - 50
ZgKw - 216

There appears to be a rather large hole in the assumption.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by stg 44 » 31 Oct 2021 18:12

Would you mind letting me get to respond to your first post before you start going off on a post I addressed to another poster?
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 17:59
Fascinating. So the assumption is that the losses of PzAOK 1 in Ukraine in March and April 1944 resulted in the diversion of "major resources", "especially motor vehicles" from Ob.West to the Ostheer.
Did you bother to read the paper? The material wasn't taken from Ob. West, all available replacements/production was shifted to rebuild the units smashed in the East which meant Ob. West was not only deprived of several units, but a bunch of new production that should have been sent to them to build up their units to TOE.
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 17:59
The problem is there is essentially zero evidence for such...oh, and yes, I haven't bothered to go beyond the paywall to see what Gregory Liedtke says, since I have the primary sources for vehicle losses and accessions for the period.
Maybe you should read the paper before you comment then.
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 17:59
Yes, Ob.West "lost" II. SS-Panzerkorps, but that was a temporary transfer of units, rather than the loss of equipment implied. In that sense, Ob.West reported the loss (including destroyed, worn out, and transferred) of the following during April and May 1944:

Motorcycles - 636
PKW - 691
LKW - 674
KrKw - 38
Maultier - 43
Radschlepper (k, m, s) - 41
Kettenschlepper - 2
RSO - 6
Kettenkrad - 3
ZgKw - 31

However, in the same period they received:

Motorcycles - 2007
PKW - 3532
LKW - 5775
KrKw - 247
Maultier - 313
Radschlepper (k, m, s) - 81
Kettenschlepper - 30
RSO - 118
Kettenkrad - 50
ZgKw - 216

There appears to be a rather large hole in the assumption.
Read the paper because you're missing the entire argument and arguing off of serious misconceptions. If you need a link to the non-paywalled version of the article PM me.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Oct 2021 19:21

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.
Hypothetically the 12th Pz Div artillery could have picked up survey & other at least initial occupation requirements from the already established artillery of the corps & divisions in place. The ability to do so would speak to the capabilities of the internal support of the artillery & how robust it may or may not have been at division, corps and army. The numerous description of the ARKOS strongly suggest it was anemic.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by stg 44 » 31 Oct 2021 20:17

Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 02:57
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%).
Several thousand pieces 7 years later is rather large for a country that only had equipment for 20 divisions in 1932 and a very limited military industry relative to rivals. You might disagree on the use of the word 'huge' but that is a semantics argument rather than a serious counter argument to the point that they invested in artillery just as much as anything else. It was simply a problem of lack of sufficient productive capacity to produce larger numbers than countries who didn't disarm after WW1, especially given that the war happened 3 years before rearmament was slated to be complete.
Richard Anderson wrote:
31 Oct 2021 02:57
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.
Are you factoring in all the massive losses in equipment between 1941-45? Or the impact of bombing on production as well as the loss of raw material sources? Since you're obviously not it is a pointless comparison you're making. Clearly the use of captured artillery by this point was driven by all of the above constraining factors rather than the choice to skimp on artillery production. By your logic we can also claim that the Germans didn't focus on aircraft production because they had a massive reduction in number of airframes by 1945 compared to 1940.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Oct 2021 20:23

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Oct 2021 05:15
Sheldrake wrote:Horse drawn transport was inadequate for ammunition resupply and tied to railheads.
Does anybody have insight into the actual logistical ton-km carried by ID's organic horse vs. truck supply columns?
Don't have the numbers at hand. From memory the standard load of the 10.5cm howitzer was 60 projectiles per cannon. Allowing 12.5 kg each thats 3000 kg in the battery train. Adding in a minimum of 33% for fuzes, propellant package, & dunnage = 4000kg. The 15cm battery would be @ 40 rounds per gun 9,576kg for the battery. With 36 10.5cm & 12 15cm howitzers the weight in the div artillery regiment load might be 65,000kg. This was as a rule of thumb a minimum days expenedenture. A slightly larger quantity was in theory carried in the division artillery supply train as a reserve. So in simplistic terms the army logistics officer would have to plan on moving 65 long tons from the railhead or depot to the firing batteries daily. At a minimum during combat operations. In sustained firing the 10.5 cm howitzer can average 2-3 rounds a minute indefinitely. Or at the low side 7,980kg in a four hour engagement. At ten rounds per minute of relatively rapid fire the battery could expend its at hand load in one hour of brief ten round bursts. Note that the loads for the 24 Light Infantry Howitzers in each regiment are not included in this rough estimate. I don't recall at all what the weight & numbers for their at hand ammo was.

A first-wave ID had 1,189 horse teams, 516 trucks, and 237 light transports in 1941. Motorizing the AT (72 guns) and some of the engineering elements (45 squads) leaves "spare" trucks for organic logistical lift. We all agree that trucks carry more than horses... In Supplying War, van Creveld says that the ID's organic truck columns (Kleincolonnenraum) were underutilized, resulting in anecdotes such as one division sending trucks back to Germany to retrieve sausage-making equipment.

If ID's had insufficient organic transport for the artillery supply from railheads, we'd have seen shells piling up at German railheads. I have never seen evidence of this happening and I've read through much of Ostheer's supply reports in NARA.
The averages and 'Units of Fire' the senior artillery planners and logistics officers use as their base line is a starting point for their planning. The reality is consumption and delivery comes in surges which they try to accommodate by stockpiling in depots. ie: Rundsteadt made a effort to stockpile over a months worth of anticipated consumption in the ammo depots of OB West. To deal with these surges the transport units of the corps and army are used.

Another reality was the delivery of ammunition fell below requirement. In the case of OB West in 1944 the previous years of looting the French railways, and the cumulative effects of Allied air attacks dropped the delivery capacity drastically. In March 1944 Rundsteadt reviewed the numbers with his staff and was pondering a estimate the capacity would be effectively reduced to below 10% of the 1940 value. Or the implication deliveries would be effectively reduced to below 50% of of supply requirements for the projected battle with the Allied invasion. That is the ammunition was not offloading at the railheads fast enough to exceed the capacity of the artillery and army transport units.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Oct 2021 20:34

Reviewing the remarks on the ARKOS here it might be more interesting to not speculate on alternative cannon, hardware. But, to address at alternately more capable agency in the div artillery HQ or at the crops and army.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 31 Oct 2021 20:59

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 Oct 2021 11:46
Sheldrake wrote:
31 Oct 2021 11:28
How many 3 tonne capacity Opel Blitz 3.6 are needed to carry the same load?
You don't understand the point.

It is obvious that a small truck column has greater capacity than horses, especially when rated per manpower resources. It is precisely for this reason that I don't believe German artillery logistics (vs. mobility) in earlier years was primarily horsedrawn (Rasputitsa aside) - German ID-organic truck columns in Barbarossa were underutilized and had greater schlepping power than horses. So you're probably wrong on that earlier point. Though as this is circumstantial evidence, rather than direct, I'll leave room for doubt (direct evidence would regard who actually carried what, this is evidence regarding who optimally would have been assigned to carry what - it relies on an intervening inference that the Germans did the obviously smarter thing rather than the dumb thing).

Your next move was, as I read you, to claim that the Germans in Normandy chose the obviously-less-efficient horsedrawn logistics for some inexplicable dumb reason - Germans can't do arithmetic, are ignorant of logistics, or something.

As Kant observed, "ought" implies "can." Thus before arguing that the Germans should have done X, you should show that they could have done X.

Additionally, you should back up your claim that previous German practice (e.g. in Barbarossa) involved excessive reliance on horse-drawn artillery logistics.
OMG a lawyer.

Try this
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/07/0 ... -russia-i/
and the section headed "The impossible equation - Logistics and the supply of Barbarossa" in David Sahel's Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 31 Oct 2021 21:54, edited 1 time in total.

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