AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

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LWD
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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by LWD » 19 Apr 2008 19:09

And your point is? It's really hard to tell just who or what your are responding to when you just post (an unsourced) quote.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Andreas » 20 Apr 2008 00:57

Username

Either start providing sources for stuff you grab from the internet, or see your posts deleted.

Your choice.

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Andreas

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by RichTO90 » 20 Apr 2008 01:23

Username wrote:While Rich has raised the gain on his sarcasm to smilie ratio, he should think that the US strategy was that it was to fight in the hedgerows, they fully expected that the Germans would have pulled back. So the argument that the US had brought the right knife to a gun fight is just another case of revisionistic historianism.
I see o creator of strawmen and inserter of words in others mouths, now you are also the arbiter of what others should think? It's not bad enough that you request data and then imply that the data has been cooked. Perhaps my reaction is because what I do think is that sarcasm is about all the reply you deserve at this point?

Do you actually have any idea of what the Allied strategy was - BIG HINT (you evidently need them) it wasn't a "US strategy"? BTW before you start eructing about "revisionistic historianism" you might want to consider displaying some knowledge of the subject yourself first - and , as others have more gently tried to indicate, no, repeated spam posts consisting of what someone else said don't count.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Michael Dorosh » 20 Apr 2008 01:29

Here's my favourite quote, and I think it applies to this entire conversation. This isn't an insult, it just seems to describe the nature of the discussion perfectly.
Our perception of land operations in the Second World War has...been distorted by an excessive emphasis upon the hardware employed. The main focus of attention has been the tank and the formations that employed it, most notably the (German) panzer divisions. Despite the fact that only 40 of the 520 German divisions that saw combat were panzer divisions (there were also an extra 24 motorised/panzergrenadier divisions), the history of German operations has been written largely in terms of blitzkrieg and has concentrated almost exclusively upon the exploits of the mechanized formations. Even more misleadingly,this presentation of ground combat as a largely armored confrontation has been extended to cover Allied operations, so that in the popular imagination the exploits of the British and Commonwealth Armies, with only 11 armored divisions out of 73 (that saw combat), and of the Americans in Europe, with only 16 out of 59, are typified by tanks sweeping around the Western Desert or trying to keep up with Patton in the race through Sicily and across northern France. Of course, these armored forces did play a somewhat more important role in operations than the simple proportions might indicate, but it still has to be stressed that they in no way dominated the battlefield or precipitated the evolution of completely new modes of warfare (emphasis added).

Ellis, John. Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War (New York: Viking, 1990)
I think it is particularly apt in a conversation where one party is trying hard to dismiss the need for reconnaissance vehicles and infantry support vehicles, at the same time as over-emphasizing the "need" to take on Tigers and Panthers on the continent in tank-to-tank battles as if air power, artillery, or anti-tank/tank destroyer units somehow didn't enter into the equation. Finding and fighting enemy infantry was always a priority task at least equal to engaging the German's armour. And there were far more infantry divisions on the Allied side seeking out and fighting far more infantry divisions on the German side than there were armoured divisions in either camp. Hence the need for light reconnaissance armour and infantry support tanks.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Andreas » 20 Apr 2008 13:58

LWD wrote:And your point is? It's really hard to tell just who or what your are responding to when you just post (an unsourced) quote.
Quite.

The purpose of this thread is not being advanced by randomly collecting quotes that may or may not have any connection with the initial point of this thread. It is not a repository for things copied out of Jentz or US histories.

If there is no point to a post, don't make it.

Thanks.

Andreas

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 20 Apr 2008 15:19

What was the point to this then? To back up my assertion that most vehciles in 1944 were vulnerable on the sides?

Image

I suppose this can be added to that line of thought..

http://www.100thww2.org/support/77657mm.html

And so no one is lost, Andreas was the one that brought this up about the Panther. he claimed it was vulnerable on the sides. But most vehciles were.

But can we get any 37mm reports?

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by LWD » 20 Apr 2008 15:34

Username wrote:What was the point to this then? To back up my assertion that most vehciles in 1944 were vulnerable on the sides?
...
You seam to be argueing that the Panther was massivly superior to US tanks. However in the roll they actually and doctrinally filled it is not at all clear that they were. When you are on the offence such as US vehicles were while the additional frontal armor is nice the Panther would simply not have been worth the trade offs. Consider:
1) Against a well designed defence flank shots will be common.
2) The larger size of the Panther would have meant fewer tanks available.
3) The lower reliability would have meant fewer tanks available. I'm not sure if the above would overwhelm the increased logistis required or not.
4) The Panthers gun was not as good vs the most common foes as that of 75mm equiped Sherman. Indeed as long as you are not engaging tanks 2 light tanks might be more effective than 1 panther, certainly 3 or 4 would have been.

Your whole argument seams to be wrapped up in the tank vs tank battle while it was important it was not the most common or indeed the most critical aspect of combat in Western Europe.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 20 Apr 2008 16:16

The first Tiger I destroyed by the British was by a six pounder using standard ammunition? It achieved side penetrations due to the Tiger turning the wrong way. It also appears to be some lone vehicle from the accounts. In other words, it was not being used in an effective manner with support weapons.

But even the Tiger II was vulnerable to side shots. Especially on its lower hull area. The fact is that it was a design parameter that most late war tanks could not take anything but glancing hits to the sides (extreme angles). It is not a Panther issue, it is a parameter due to the power of the class of AP weapons of the time. The 37mm was falling out of this class!

So my premise that having 57mm weapons in a mobile platform, especially if they had a better HVAP type ammunition, would have served the users of M5 type vehicles nicely. BOTH in the cav units and the Armored Battalions that used them. It would have also offered a much better HE round than the weak 37mm.

And, again, I am mostly criticizing the M5 type vehicle in the D company in the Tank Battalions. If people think the need for a whole companies worth of 37mm turreted tanks is needed for recce in WWII ETO tank battalions, then nothing will change thier minds. 17 eighteen ton vehciles all sucking down fuel.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 20 Apr 2008 16:30

I think it is particularly apt in a conversation where one party is trying hard to dismiss the need for reconnaissance vehicles and infantry support vehicles, at the same time as over-emphasizing the "need" to take on Tigers and Panthers on the continent in tank-to-tank battles as if air power, artillery, or anti-tank/tank destroyer units somehow didn't enter into the equation. Finding and fighting enemy infantry was always a priority task at least equal to engaging the German's armour. And there were far more infantry divisions on the Allied side seeking out and fighting far more infantry divisions on the German side than there were armoured divisions in either camp. Hence the need for light reconnaissance armour and infantry support tanks.
I think it is also important that one of the companies of a tank battalion also take on Panzer IV, StuG, etc. The M5 tank crewmen would have been very hard pressed. From the low loss rates of the M5 vehicles already posted in this thread, they do not appear to have been engaging in much battle.

By the way, you left out Sea-Power.

As far as taking on infantry with M5 37mm tanks, it is lacking in HE.

And as far as the importance of German Armor in the D+ period, perhaps you should examine what stopped the Commonwealth forces from taking Caen according to schedule?
Last edited by Username on 20 Apr 2008 16:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by LWD » 20 Apr 2008 16:40

Username wrote:...And, again, I am mostly criticizing the M5 type vehicle in the D company in the Tank Battalions. If people think the need for a whole companies worth of 37mm turreted tanks is needed for recce in WWII ETO tank battalions, then nothing will change thier minds. ...
I think one of the problems here is you are putting the cart before the horse. The first question is do you need recce tanks? The answer is pretty obviously yes. Then the question is just what do you need these tanks to do? Following that what is the most efficient vehicle to perform these tasks?
If they are not normally going to encounter medium or heavy tanks do you really need more AP capablity? In my opinion it's nice to have but it's not a requirement. Efficient means maximizing combat power of the units at the front. If you stop production to upgrade it will cost you vehicles for some period of time before the upgraded vehicles reach the front. You also have to train with and supply the new vehicles. Now one alternative would have been to replace all the light tanks with Shermans however there wasn't the production to do that. Furthermore it's not clear that the factories producing the light tanks could have switched over to Sherman production. Certainly that's one reason the Soviets continued to produce light tanks as well. For recon and many support functions the an M5 could do the job as well or almost as well at a lower cost than a Sherman. Now that's not to say mistakes weren't made but judging by the results they were far from critical.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Michael Emrys » 20 Apr 2008 16:58

Username wrote:I think it is also important that one of the companies of a tank battalion also take on Panzer IV, StuG, etc.
You may think that all you wish, that's your choice. However, the history of the campaign—so much as we know of it—says that you are mistaken. It was not necessary for the M5s to take on the heavier German AFVs in most circumstances. That was not their job. Nevertheless, on occasion and given advantageous circumstances, they were able to do so successfully. But they weren't expected to and that's the point. It's called tactics. They weren't expected to shoot down the enemy air force either.
The M5 tank crewmen would have been very hard pressed.
That was understood, which is not why they were handed that assignment.
From the low loss rates of the M5 vehicles already posted in this thread, they do not appear to have been engaging in much battle.
Once again, you appear to be quite mistaken. I am presently encountering numerous accounts in Harry Yeide's new book Steel Steeds of instances where in fact the M3/M5 with what you seem to regard as inadequate 37mm cannon arrive to save the day. In fact, the same 37mm on the M8 armored car seems to have proven effective against infantry and heavy weapons.
As far as taking on infantry with M5 37mm tanks, it is lacking in HE.
Yet apparently powerful enough to achieve results. Plus the canister round seems to have had a devastating effect. And the MGs they carried were as effective as the MGs on any other tank.

In short, used sensibly, they were effective in the role assigned to them.

Michael
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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 20 Apr 2008 17:15

Interesting...
Combat Commands
To aid in its tactical control, the Division had been divided into three Combat Commands of equal strength. Combat Command "B", commanded by Colonel John T. Cole, had as its major combat troops the 81st Tank Battalion, 15th Armored Infantry Battalion and the 71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion.

In order to make this Combat Command a more effective fighting force it was divided into two separate Task Forces, one under the command of the Tank Battalion Commander and the other under the command of the Infantry Battalion Commander. The Infantry Battalion gave two rifle companies to the Tank Battalion and the Tank Battalion gave one medium tank company to the Infantry Battalion. The components of each of the Task Forces, as they were to function throughout the combat operations, are shown in table form below.

Task Force Anderson Task Force Wintermute
(Named for its C.O.) (Named for its C.O.)

Hq. and Hq. Co., 81st Tank Bn. Hq. and Hq. Co., 15th A.I.Bn.
"B" Co. 81st Tank Bn.} "A" Co. 81st Tank Bn.}
"B" Co. 15th A.I.Bn. } "A" Co. 15th A.I. Bn.}
married married
"C" Co. 81st Tank Bn.} Service Co. 15th A.I.B.
"C" Co. 15th A.I.Bn. }
married
Service Co. 81st Tank Bn.


"D" Company was retained under the direct control of Comat Command "B". The 105mm howitzer tanks were taken from the tank companies and attaached to the assault gun platoon in Headquarters Company to form a six-gun firing battery.

As can be seen from this table, TFA was about double the strength of TFW.

An infantry company and a tank company working in close support of each other were called "married companies". In this Combat Command it was the rule to have married formations whenever action was in the offing. Each tank had one squad, or a part of a squad, of infantry with it. Sometimes the infantrymen actually rode on the tanks, but more frequently traveled in their own half-tracks, a half-track following each tank. The infantry quite frequently had to dismount in order to clean out small pockets of enemy infantry and bazooka men that might have caused a serious problem to the tankers. The tankers and doughboys lived and worked together so that the smoothest of operating teams might be developed. This combination had been conceived by General Oliver but due to the short training time available in the United Kingdom was not properly tested in the field prior to combat operation.
Interesting to note that the M5's 'carted-up' to a higher command.

http://www.5ad.org/

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by LWD » 20 Apr 2008 17:49

Username wrote:...Interesting to note that the M5's 'carted-up' to a higher command...
And your point is?
Here is a hint. It's hardly unusual for higher level command to maintain control of recce assets. That way they can be allocated to what ever task(s) seam appropriate to the commander at the time.

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Andreas » 20 Apr 2008 18:30

Username wrote:What was the point to this then? To back up my assertion that most vehciles in 1944 were vulnerable on the sides?
No, the point of this was to post an original document from archival research by a member at his request. It had nothing to do with your incessant spamming of this thread - the world does not revolve around your and your idée fixe.

If you can not see the difference between a document that has not been posted here, or maybe anyone, being made availabel to forum members, and your spamming the thread with Googled-up/copied out references of books that were published a long time ago, then I am afraid I will not be able to explain it to you.

Regards

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Re: AFV Loss Rates in US 12th. Army Group

Post by Username » 21 Apr 2008 00:30

The broad topic of 'AFV Loss Rates in US 12th Army Group' has brought up many discussions. I will edit my posts to reflect the many issues being addressed.

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