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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Sheldrake
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 04 Nov 2021 19:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2021 20:17
Sheldrake wrote:
03 Nov 2021 19:11
I really do not buy the lack of staff argument.
I would not dismiss it out of hand. For one thing, IIRC at this time there were only around 15 or 16 Artillerie-Regiments-Stab z.b.V. in the German order of battle. They were the units that provide the grunt work for the ArKo in operations, otherwise the ArKo was reduced to piggy-backing on the division artillery staff. None of the Artillerie-Regiments-Stab z.b.V. were in Normandy on 6 June, the closest was Art.-Regt.-Stab z.b.V Suippes. The next was Art.Regt.-Stab z.b.V. 1020, which completed organization in July and was assigned to 5. PzAOK.
I am applying Occams razor.

Staudinger was ARKO of one of the Army Corps controlling the Panzer reserves. His testimony states that he and his staff were forbidden from making any recces on security grounds. He also states that the blame for the lack of artillery preparation was the conflict within the German high command over the assignment of reserves. We know that Rommel Armmy Group B had strong views on deploying reserves forward and OB West similarly strong views on retaining a central reserves. In that context it is easy to understand subordinate commanders avoiding any appearance of taking sides.

I don't understand why it is necessary to hypothecate implausible explanations based on manpower shortages in order to dismiss this first hand testimony.

The Corps could simply have called for a couple of officers to be seconded from any of its formations for a few weeks. It could be positioned as a a good opportunity ambiitous regimental officers to shine in front of the corps commander and his ARKO. That is what we did when we needed additional resource in my HQRA. Marcks and Dollman, both Gunners could have asked for a survey team from Suippes at any point in the first half of 1944. What could possibly have been more important?

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Nov 2021 20:23

T. A. Gardner wrote:
02 Nov 2021 20:01
I printed the article you linked out. It deals mostly with where munitions, POL, that sort of thing were stored and the type of bunkers and such used, their layout, and related things. There really isn't any information on amounts stored or passed through.
The data are pretty well known for June.

As of 15 June, the Muni-Lagern of AOK 7 had 18,738 tons of munitions.
From 6-30 June, 14,041 tons were consumed by AOK 7 (note there is no data for 20 June, but the average of the other days was 585)
From 6-29 June, 10,042 tons in all of HG-B were destroyed by enemy action, including in the destruction of 3 Muni-Lagern (I would assume at least half was in the zone of AOK 7, but it was not recorded which Lagern were destroyed, another loss occurred after the report when an entire 30-car trainload of munitions was reported lost late on the evening of 29 June)
From 6-30 June, 4,740.8 tons were received by AOK 7.

July's records are anything but complete, however the best evidence is the situation got worse. On 10 July, it was reported "The situation is particularly tense since depot reserves of [fuel and the most important types cf ammunition] have been used up." On 12 July, 340 tons of vital leFH were destroyed by air attack while on a train at Angers.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 Nov 2021 04:15

Sheldrake wrote:
04 Nov 2021 19:58
I am applying Occams razor.
Always the best policy.
Staudinger was ARKO of one of the Army Corps controlling the Panzer reserves. His testimony states that he and his staff were forbidden from making any recces on security grounds. He also states that the blame for the lack of artillery preparation was the conflict within the German high command over the assignment of reserves. We know that Rommel Armmy Group B had strong views on deploying reserves forward and OB West similarly strong views on retaining a central reserves. In that context it is easy to understand subordinate commanders avoiding any appearance of taking sides.
I understand that, but I think we are diverging between individual's capabilities and unit capabilities.

Staudinger was the Stabsoffizier der Artillerie of I. SS-Panzerkorps. As such, he had a "staff" of two NCO and two enlisted. Unlike an American Corps Headquarters, the German Korps did not have a full Headquarters and Headquarters Battery for planning, plotting, and coordinating artillery fire. Yet again, functional capability required the assignment of an ArKo and and Artillery-Regiments-Stab z.b.V. If neither was available, they piggybacked off the divisional artillery regiment Stab.
I don't understand why it is necessary to hypothecate implausible explanations based on manpower shortages in order to dismiss this first hand testimony.
I'm not hypothesizing anything. That is simply the way the German artillery was organized for combat. I'm sure Staudinger and his four NCO and enlisted could format brilliant artillery plans, but the grunt work required additional bodies.
The Corps could simply have called for a couple of officers to be seconded from any of its formations for a few weeks. It could be positioned as a a good opportunity ambiitous regimental officers to shine in front of the corps commander and his ARKO. That is what we did when we needed additional resource in my HQRA. Marcks and Dollman, both Gunners could have asked for a survey team from Suippes at any point in the first half of 1944. What could possibly have been more important?
Sure, except that overall the German Heer did not have a surfeit of officers, they functioned officer-light. Seconding officers from the few Heeresartillerie units present would take away from the capability of those units. Nor could Suippes provided that, since it was an artillery training school trying to produce the officers, NCO, and EM required for the artillery to remain functional. Its "survey team" was busy trying to train other officers, NCO, and EM in survey...until it was called up to the front as emergency invasion-repelling troops.

Fundamentally, the Heer was a mass of non-specialized infantry with a small core of technically proficient specialists...like all the mass armies of the period. However, one place they seem to seriously failed to specialize enough in was in producing units capable of the command and control of large numbers of artillery units in a mobile battle...the general officers? Sure. But the grunts? Not enough.

That is not to say that indolence was not also a part of it. The failure of the Heer to have every square kilometer of France surveyed is inexplicable. Part of it may have been the simple inability of some circles to accept that the Western Allies were capable of and had the balls to launch an invasion directed at the Atlantic Wall. Guderian, for example, may not have believed that the threat was real. There is also the factor that some of the smarter in the ranks of the Heer - and the SS - probably realized the war was lost. That may have contributed to the actions - or perhaps inactions is a better word - of Feuchtinger and probably others.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 05 Nov 2021 05:21

11th Army's GHQ artillery June 2 1942, Operation Storfang:

Army troops:
672nd Artillery Battalion (‘Dora’)
833rd Heavy Artillery Battalion (Karl)
672nd Artillery Battalion (420mm)
688th Railway Artillery Battery
474th Artillery Battalion
707th Artillery Battalion
741st Artillery Battalion
742nd Artillery Battalion
743rd Artillery Battalion
744th Artillery Battalion
I/814th Artillery Battalion
II/814th Artillery Battalion
II/818th Artillery Battalion
458th Heavy Artillery Battery
459th Heavy Artillery Battery

110th Army Artillery Command (General der Artillerie
Robert Martinek)
I/70th Nebelwerfer Battalion
II/70th Nebelwerfer Battalion
II/Artillerie Lehr Regiment
7th Romanian Heavy Artillery Regiment

306th Army Artillery Command (General der Artillerie
Johannes Zuckertort)
1st Heavy Nebelwerfer Regiment
II/Nebelwerfer Lehr Regiment 1
1st Nebelwerfer Battalion
4th Nebelwerfer Battalion

57th Heavy Artillery Battalion (Romanian)
53rd Mountain Artillery Regiment (Romanian)

Flieger Korps VIII (Generaloberst von Richthofen):
Fighters (100):
III/Jagdgeschwader 3 Udet (27x Bf 109F)
II/Jagdgeschwader 77 (36 x Bf 109F)
III/Jagdgeschwader 77 (37 x Bf 109F)
Bombers (168):
I/Kampfgeschwader 51 Edelweiss (35 x Ju 88)
I/Kampfgeschwader 76 (31 x Ju 88)
III/Kampfgeschwader 76 (29 x Ju 88A, 12 x Ju 88C)
I/Kampfgeschwader 100 Wiking (34 x He 111H)
III/Lehrgeschwader 1 (27 x Ju 88)
Ground attack (73):
Stab/Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (three x Ju 87, 6 x Bf 110)
I/Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (37 x Ju 87B or D)
II/Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 (27 x Ju 87)
Reconnaissance (24):
3.(Heer)/11 (10 x Bf 110C/D/E)
3.(Heer)/13 (14 x HS 126B)
Fliegerführer Süd (Oberst von Wild)
II/Kampfgeschwader 26 (45 x He 111H-6 torpedo bombers)

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 05 Nov 2021 05:28

-Harko 306 and Harko 311 controlled 785 German and 112 Romanian medium/heavy guns

-Harko 306 controlled about 268 105mm l.FH 18 and 80 150mm s.FH 18 howitzers, as well as the 1st and 2nd Nebelwerfer Regiments with 126 multiple rocket launchers. 183,750 rounds of 105mm and 47,300 rounds of
150mm ammunition, enough for 12 days’ firing.

-800mm, 600mm, 420mm, 355 mm, 305mm, 283 mm, 280mm, 240mm super-heavy artillery fired

-During Operation Störfang, the Eleventh Army fired off 46,486 tons of ammunition, including 410,000 105mm rounds, 100,000 150mm rounds and over 32,000 Nebelwerfer rockets.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Nov 2021 11:40

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Nov 2021 17:59
Given TMP apparently completely misread Liedtke's paper (and Liedtke actually has some glaring holes in his research), I suspect that remark was due to confirmation bias.
To be fair, Richard, I also think you're a good researcher. Exchanges like this, however:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Nov 2021 21:39
Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Nov 2021 20:40
25. Panzerdivision was badly fragmented in the battles in Ukraine [snip] Difficult to see how it feasibly might have fought in Normandy?
If it hadn't been shattered in Ukraine. An obvious point of the article. :roll:
...show why that judgment can't be extended to your analytical abilities.

Given you can't be trusted to get the simple main point of Liedtke's article, I'm not inclined to trust your evaluation of that article (nor to spend any time reading your evaluation of his research beyond a nonsense check).

For others, I highly recommend Liedtke's book Enduring the Whirlwind.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 05 Nov 2021 20:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
05 Nov 2021 04:15
Sheldrake wrote:
04 Nov 2021 19:58
I am applying Occams razor.
Always the best policy.
Staudinger was ARKO of one of the Army Corps controlling the Panzer reserves. His testimony states that he and his staff were forbidden from making any recces on security grounds. He also states that the blame for the lack of artillery preparation was the conflict within the German high command over the assignment of reserves. We know that Rommel Armmy Group B had strong views on deploying reserves forward and OB West similarly strong views on retaining a central reserves. In that context it is easy to understand subordinate commanders avoiding any appearance of taking sides.
I understand that, but I think we are diverging between individual's capabilities and unit capabilities.

Staudinger was the Stabsoffizier der Artillerie of I. SS-Panzerkorps. As such, he had a "staff" of two NCO and two enlisted. Unlike an American Corps Headquarters, the German Korps did not have a full Headquarters and Headquarters Battery for planning, plotting, and coordinating artillery fire. Yet again, functional capability required the assignment of an ArKo and and Artillery-Regiments-Stab z.b.V. If neither was available, they piggybacked off the divisional artillery regiment Stab.
I don't understand why it is necessary to hypothecate implausible explanations based on manpower shortages in order to dismiss this first hand testimony.
I'm not hypothesizing anything. That is simply the way the German artillery was organized for combat. I'm sure Staudinger and his four NCO and enlisted could format brilliant artillery plans, but the grunt work required additional bodies.
The Corps could simply have called for a couple of officers to be seconded from any of its formations for a few weeks. It could be positioned as a a good opportunity ambiitous regimental officers to shine in front of the corps commander and his ARKO. That is what we did when we needed additional resource in my HQRA. Marcks and Dollman, both Gunners could have asked for a survey team from Suippes at any point in the first half of 1944. What could possibly have been more important?
Sure, except that overall the German Heer did not have a surfeit of officers, they functioned officer-light. Seconding officers from the few Heeresartillerie units present would take away from the capability of those units. Nor could Suippes provided that, since it was an artillery training school trying to produce the officers, NCO, and EM required for the artillery to remain functional. Its "survey team" was busy trying to train other officers, NCO, and EM in survey...until it was called up to the front as emergency invasion-repelling troops.

Fundamentally, the Heer was a mass of non-specialized infantry with a small core of technically proficient specialists...like all the mass armies of the period. However, one place they seem to seriously failed to specialize enough in was in producing units capable of the command and control of large numbers of artillery units in a mobile battle...the general officers? Sure. But the grunts? Not enough.

That is not to say that indolence was not also a part of it. The failure of the Heer to have every square kilometer of France surveyed is inexplicable. Part of it may have been the simple inability of some circles to accept that the Western Allies were capable of and had the balls to launch an invasion directed at the Atlantic Wall. Guderian, for example, may not have believed that the threat was real. There is also the factor that some of the smarter in the ranks of the Heer - and the SS - probably realized the war was lost. That may have contributed to the actions - or perhaps inactions is a better word - of Feuchtinger and probably others.
Richard,
While I agree with your erudite explanation that the Germans had far less artillery staff than either the British or US Armies, I would find it easier to agree with this explanation for German failure if Staudinger had said something along the lines of " I did not have the resources" or "7th Army did not have the resources."

But he did not. He said he wanted to carry out the recce with 1SS Corps troops but was forbidden to do so. Furthermore he was peeved to find that no one in Seventh Army had done so either. He also blamed the forward deployment favoured by Rommel as the reason for inaction

The inference is that that given his knowledge of the German army he thought the task could be with the resources available, but was not done because of the toxic debate about panzer reserves.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Nov 2021 02:38

Sheldrake wrote:
05 Nov 2021 20:55
While I agree with your erudite explanation that the Germans had far less artillery staff than either the British or US Armies, I would find it easier to agree with this explanation for German failure if Staudinger had said something along the lines of " I did not have the resources" or "7th Army did not have the resources."
Hey, I was on a roll...and its fun to sometimes point out some of the failings in the invincible Heer.
But he did not. He said he wanted to carry out the recce with 1SS Corps troops but was forbidden to do so. Furthermore he was peeved to find that no one in Seventh Army had done so either. He also blamed the forward deployment favoured by Rommel as the reason for inaction


In the SS-Panzerkorps he had the advantage that SS-ARKO 101 included SS-Beobachtungs-Bttr. 101, so not only did he have his Korps-Artillerie-Stab personnel, he had an organize ArKo and Beobachtungs Batterie.Med the job simpler for him. I wonder too if part of it may have been Heer not needing upstart SS types wandering around their area?
The inference is that that given his knowledge of the German army he thought the task could be with the resources available, but was not done because of the toxic debate about panzer reserves.
Quite possibly within his resources, but not necessarily within overall theater resources, then there is also the issue of rivalries, plus conflicting command issues, plus indolence, plus end-of-the-war itis, and so on.
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Nov 2021 19:58

Have to admit theres some evidence a alternative artillery weapon for the Germans would have been a better command structure for the corps & army level.

Getting back to hardware: Were there any advantages to fielding rifled mortars. Like the US M2 107mm mortar? They were not common, so there must have been arguments that over came those of light weight, lower materials use, lower maintenance requirements.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 08 Nov 2021 20:49

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:58
Have to admit theres some evidence a alternative artillery weapon for the Germans would have been a better command structure for the corps & army level.
Based on what exactly?

the war didn't start on June 1944 and end in Sept 1944..

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Nov 2021 22:52

Much wider reading than here.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by stg 44 » 08 Nov 2021 23:06

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:58
Getting back to hardware: Were there any advantages to fielding rifled mortars. Like the US M2 107mm mortar? They were not common, so there must have been arguments that over came those of light weight, lower materials use, lower maintenance requirements.
AFAIK range and accuracy were greater than with smooth bore weapons, which is why the US went with them vs. traditional smoothbores.
Since they increased costs to manufacture and the ammo as a result had to have a thicker casing to handle the rotational forces as well has have a special driving band that let it be drop fired, the cost of the ammo was significantly higher, but obviously not prohibitively so. Given the size of the US industrial base and choice for a 90 division army the costs weren't considered to be a problem during WW2 or even in 1951 when they adopted the M30 mortar. This post-war mortar apparently had a lot of users, thanks to US largess:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M30_mortar

It stayed in service until the US adopted the 120mm rifled mortars from France, so the advantages have to be worthwhile if you can afford it. Likely though for larger armies or just those who don't prioritize armies in their funding like the British in WW2 smoothbore mortars and ammo are cheaper enough to make it preferable.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Nov 2021 00:38

Im failing to find any examples of a French rifled mortar previous to 1961. Probably looking in the wrong place, but cant recall any reference to such a thing in the past either.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by T. A. Gardner » 09 Nov 2021 01:17

stg 44 wrote:
08 Nov 2021 23:06
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
08 Nov 2021 19:58
Getting back to hardware: Were there any advantages to fielding rifled mortars. Like the US M2 107mm mortar? They were not common, so there must have been arguments that over came those of light weight, lower materials use, lower maintenance requirements.
AFAIK range and accuracy were greater than with smooth bore weapons, which is why the US went with them vs. traditional smoothbores.
Since they increased costs to manufacture and the ammo as a result had to have a thicker casing to handle the rotational forces as well has have a special driving band that let it be drop fired, the cost of the ammo was significantly higher, but obviously not prohibitively so. Given the size of the US industrial base and choice for a 90 division army the costs weren't considered to be a problem during WW2 or even in 1951 when they adopted the M30 mortar. This post-war mortar apparently had a lot of users, thanks to US largess:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M30_mortar

It stayed in service until the US adopted the 120mm rifled mortars from France, so the advantages have to be worthwhile if you can afford it. Likely though for larger armies or just those who don't prioritize armies in their funding like the British in WW2 smoothbore mortars and ammo are cheaper enough to make it preferable.
The US M2 4.2" used a rifled barrel and that's WW 2 vintage.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by stg 44 » 09 Nov 2021 01:29

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
09 Nov 2021 00:38
Im failing to find any examples of a French rifled mortar previous to 1961. Probably looking in the wrong place, but cant recall any reference to such a thing in the past either.
That is the model I'm referring to. Other than during WW1 I am unaware of any rifled mortars other than the US M2 after WW1 until the French 120mm of 1961.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
09 Nov 2021 01:17
The US M2 4.2" used a rifled barrel and that's WW 2 vintage.
Yes, I know, it was replaced in 1951 by the M30 which increased range, but at a much higher weight.

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