Luftwaffe's Sturmoviks

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 20 Nov 2005 21:35

This is interesting articles no doubt, but what it really shows is how restricted the ammo use was.

Where did you get the idea, that the use of the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 was restricted? After the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 was introduced in June 1940 the ratio of usage between the 3.7 cm Pzgr. and 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 was 3:1 in June 1940.
In the first months of the war in Russia from 22.6.1941 till 31.12.1942 the ratio was even better with about 2.5:1. So what exactly was rare?

While your numbers from Hahn look correct on the first view, these are only the production numbers for at-guns. The production numbers for tank guns have to be added.

The point is that in December 1943 there were 950,000 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 projectiles in storage, no tank in service with 3.7 cm tank gun and 3.7 cm Pak at-guns only with guarding units not in combat like in Norway. These 950,000 projectiles were all available for the usage with Ju 87 G, much more than ever needed.

...but their slanted penetration and accuracy at even short range is not that great anyway...

Could you please elaborate what you mean with this?

...that and they wore the barrels out too much.

That was no problem for any gun firing Pzgr. 40 type ammunition. Do you have original sources telling this? Additional to that there was no lack of replacement barrels for the 3.7 cm Flak 18/36/43.

Paul Lakowski
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Post by Paul Lakowski » 20 Nov 2005 21:59

sturmfxr wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:So you could not afford to waste two engines on a mere ground attack plane. Made more sence to fund twin engined night fighters and tactical bombers than another AT system.


The engines were not "wasted" on the Hs 129, they were after all captured french engines. That means they were looted ... and thus free!
They were too weak to power single engined warplanes (then again one could have opted for a "Hs 129 light": a 1941 Hs 123 with one Gnôme & Rhône 14 M engine) so putting two into a small armored attack plane was a great idea.

The more I read on the Hs 129 the more I come to believe that is one of the most underrated and most successfull planes of WW2..


Well thats all well and good, but some one has to make these engines and those companies have to be paid for their product. Not only that but twice the engines means twice as much maintenance for these planes...thats costly too.

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 20 Nov 2005 22:10

M.Rausch , I would not be building a specalised ground attack plane just to use up ammo supplies. If they are so many surplus 37mm AP40 rounds after 1941, they can be used by SPW-250 half tracks to give them an organic AT self defense weapon, or in recon units. Its fool hardy to waste precious planes on AT defenses, when they can only be present periodically through the day if the weather cooperates. What you really need is organic AT firepower thats available at ALL times.

I have no problem with converting existing Stukas from 1942 on, into ground attack planes to make them more useful, but thats a band aid solution, I would not waste resources on a specialised AT plane, when there are more pressing needs [more fighters, Recon planes , bombers & night fighters etc].

The question of slanted penetration of AP-40 ammo has already been dealt with earlier in this thread and its well know than higher velocity projectiles ware out barrels much faster , unless the gun its self has been designed for such high velocity projectiles. Do you have evidence to contridict this CW?

With regard to ammo usage there are something like 10 times as many 50mm AP/HE shells produced as specialised AP 40 shots during this period, thats rare.

M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 21 Nov 2005 10:47

M.Rausch , I would not be building a specalised ground attack plane just to use up ammo supplies.

When I read what you write I get the impression you seem to have the picture that months or even years of development were spent to develop the Ju 87 G. These planes were all existing as Ju 87 D-5 or 7. First it was a quick and simple field modification made by the service crews on a frontline airfield. When it had been proven as valuable tank hunter, it was perhaps the cheapest and fastest conversion any German plane ever got. These planes are no own development but just changing the armament of the standard Ju 87 D, adding armor and removing divebrakes. When the planes were factory-made additionally all bomb drop equipment and high altitude breathing gear was left away. It was the best use for the Ju 87 D, since it was already started to be replaced it as CAS plane with FW 190 fighter-bombers.

If they are so many surplus 37mm AP40 rounds after 1941, they can be used by SPW-250 half tracks to give them an organic AT self defense weapon, or in recon units.

Sorry, but this would have been the real nonsense. The 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 made most sense to be used on distances upto 300 m, in extreme case 500 m when fired by a 3.7 cm Pak. For the 3.7 cm Flak 18 guns of the Ju 87 G the range increased a little more. It is complete nonsense to expect from (regarding combat against tanks) unprotected vehicles to maneuver in the flank or rear of enemy tank formations. Only planes could get easily enough in such favourable positions. Also the area flying units could cover was much bigger.

What you really need is organic AT firepower thats available at ALL times.

That's the reason why the Panzerfaust, Puppchen and Panzerschreck were introduced, since with these weapons you had not to flank the enemy tanks, but you could destroy them also from the frontal out of prepared positions.

The question of slanted penetration of AP-40 ammo has already been dealt with earlier in this thread...

And it was not any problem for this round to penetrate the flanks or rear sides of Russian tanks from the normal attack angles the planes were flown. Tony has shown it, the original penetration charts make this absolutely clear.

Do you have evidence to contridict this CW?

What's CW? While high velocity projectiles reduce the lifespan of a barrel, it is not any factor here. The normal life expectance of a 3.7 cm Flak 18 barrel was 8000-10000 fired rounds. So let's say the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 reduced the lifespan to 50% just for the sake of the discussion, since nobody has till now any real numbers of the lifespan reduction. On a sortie a gun had at best a 12-round magazine. This means 333 sorties with all ammuniton fired before you had to change a barrel. I don't think anyone can see this as relevant factor.

With regard to ammo usage there are something like 10 times as many 50mm AP/HE shells produced as specialised AP 40 shots during this period, thats rare.

The Ju 87 G fired the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40, not the 5 cm Pzgr. 40. This round was used in masses and as shown 950,000 rounds still available on December 1943. It was no rare ammunition regarding the number of firing barrels at that time.

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 21 Nov 2005 23:49

M.Rausch wrote:
M.Rausch , I would not be building a specalised ground attack plane just to use up ammo supplies.

When I read what you write I get the impression you seem to have the picture that months or even years of development were spent to develop the Ju 87 G.



Ehhhh I was refering to the Hs-129 not the Ju-87g :wink:


If they are so many surplus 37mm AP40 rounds after 1941, they can be used by SPW-250 half tracks to give them an organic AT self defense weapon, or in recon units.

Sorry, but this would have been the real nonsense. The 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 made most sense to be used on distances upto 300 m, in extreme case 500 m when fired by a 3.7 cm Pak. For the 3.7 cm Flak 18 guns of the Ju 87 G the range increased a little more. It is complete nonsense to expect from (regarding combat against tanks) unprotected vehicles to maneuver in the flank or rear of enemy tank formations. Only planes could get easily enough in such favourable positions. Also the area flying units could cover was much bigger.




Clearly you see things in tactical terms, I think in terms of operational/ strategic. Making better use of existing Armor assets like SPW & Recon units make more sence than supply Luftwaffe planes as yet another layer of AT defense??? At least the SPW/Recon units are organic to the divisions in question.Luftwaffe can hardly complete there existing missions without adding any more! :roll:

What you really need is organic AT firepower thats available at ALL times.

That's the reason why the Panzerfaust, Puppchen and Panzerschreck were introduced, since with these weapons you had not to flank the enemy tanks, but you could destroy them also from the frontal out of prepared positions.

The question of slanted penetration of AP-40 ammo has already been dealt with earlier in this thread...

And it was not any problem for this round to penetrate the flanks or rear sides of Russian tanks from the normal attack angles the planes were flown. Tony has shown it, the original penetration charts make this absolutely clear.




What the figures show is mariginal penetration at short range...hardly inspiring.I'm not surprised that only a handful of pilots were able to employ these really sucessfully [check the origingal stats for large operations].

Do you have evidence to contridict this CW?

What's CW? While high velocity projectiles reduce the lifespan of a barrel, it is not any factor here. The normal life expectance of a 3.7 cm Flak 18 barrel was 8000-10000 fired rounds. So let's say the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 reduced the lifespan to 50% just for the sake of the discussion, since nobody has till now any real numbers of the lifespan reduction. On a sortie a gun had at best a 12-round magazine. This means 333 sorties with all ammuniton fired before you had to change a barrel. I don't think anyone can see this as relevant factor.

With regard to ammo usage there are something like 10 times as many 50mm AP/HE shells produced as specialised AP 40 shots during this period, thats rare.

The Ju 87 G fired the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40, not the 5 cm Pzgr. 40. This round was used in masses and as shown 950,000 rounds still available on December 1943. It was no rare ammunition regarding the number of firing barrels at that time.



OK we were also discussing the Hs-129 and mounting 75mm gun etc etc. I guess you got confused?

M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 22 Nov 2005 01:38

Ehhhh I was refering to the Hs-129 not the Ju-87g

This explains it, it was not so clear from the original posting :wink:

Making better use of existing Armor assets like SPW & Recon units make more sence than supply Luftwaffe planes as yet another layer of AT defense???

I see it on a tactical and operational level as better solution. As I told you, the units you had equipped with the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 were not capable to fullfill in any way an AT-role. And on the operational level only the Luftwaffe was mobile enough to attack all the small or larger groups of enemy tanks who broke through the lines. Several times these planes stopped Russian tank groups alone, where any ground based unit had never been there in time.

What the figures show is mariginal penetration at short range...hardly inspiring.

I don't understand this assumption. Even on 600 m distance with an angle of 30° (British notation) every T-34 model, SU-85, SU-152 and KV-1 could be penetrated at the sides and the rear with the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40. Even the heaviest tanks like the IS-2 could be penetrated in the rear. And for the 7.5 cm Pzgr. 39 fired by the HS-129 the best armored Russian tanks like the IS-2, KV-1s or KV-85 could be easily penetrated at the sides and the rear.

OK we were also discussing the Hs-129 and mounting 75mm gun etc etc. I guess you got confused?

You are right, now I am really confused, since the regular 7.5 cm Pzgr. 39 (APCBC type) penetrated any Russian tank in the sides or the rear. The penetration was on 1000 m distance and 30° hit angle about 82 mm (German penetration definition).

Paul Lakowski
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Post by Paul Lakowski » 25 Nov 2005 07:19

I see it on a tactical and operational level as better solution. As I told you, the units you had equipped with the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 were not capable to fullfill in any way an AT-role. And on the operational level only the Luftwaffe was mobile enough to attack all the small or larger groups of enemy tanks who broke through the lines. Several times these planes stopped Russian tank groups alone, where any ground based unit had never been there in time.


This hardly conforms to many real historical examples. Most of the time when the Sovites were stopped it was with armor and combination of fire and operational maneuver. As I explained Luftwaffe was failing miserably in its primary role of airdefence over the Reich [43/44] . If the role of the 37mm AT gun was failing, you are speaking of 1941/42 when the Stuka was a traditional DB and filled this role admiralibly.Why fix it if it ain't broken? Many of the early defeats of the Soviets during Operation Barbarossa, was due in part to interdiction missions flown by the Luftwaffe in support of Heer. Thats the proper way to employ planes , bomb the lines of supply /truck columes and break down the morale and coordination that glues an army to gether, building planes as AT hunters is a pure waste.

If we are worried about the failure of the 37mm ATgun to fill its intended role , then retool the 37mm gun industry into producing 75mm infantry guns and mount them on the 37mm PAK carrage [there about the same size and weight class and this was done later as the 75mm IG37]. The 75mm HEAT round of 1942/43 was able to keep pace of the threat armor and leads directly into priority development and production of the 80mm PAW [ 8cm Panzerabewehrwerfer 600] by 1944. This way the ATgun remaines a highly portable light weight gun in the 500-600kg class instead of the completely unmanageable 1100kg /1500kg Pak 38 or Pak 40.

As I suggested the surplus 37mm guns plus their ammo can go to enlarged Gepanzert production in place of the Zgkfw halftractor production. Sure some of the surplus 37mm ammo can be redirected towards later converted Stukas through diverted 37mm flak guns, but thats an after thought. If this can retask these planes toward better employment, then fine.

That way Infantry AT gun role compliments infantry doctrine instead of slowing it down with increasingly heavier and less mobile 50mm , 75mm & 88mm ATguns...which are far better placed to be SPAT guns anyway. By hampering the infantry with such heavy towed armor they tied the Germans to foritified positions crippling their operational mobility. Well in truth there was much more to that , but the heavier weapons didn't help the situation. In any event, doctrine should never have to conform to weapons, it should be the other way around.

What the figures show is mariginal penetration at short range...hardly inspiring.

I don't understand this assumption. Even on 600 m distance with an angle of 30° (British notation) every T-34 model, SU-85, SU-152 and KV-1 could be penetrated at the sides and the rear with the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40. Even the heaviest tanks like the IS-2 could be penetrated in the rear. And for the 7.5 cm Pzgr. 39 fired by the HS-129 the best armored Russian tanks like the IS-2, KV-1s or KV-85 could be easily penetrated at the sides and the rear.


The 37mm ATgun has only marginal 'after penetration' effect due to the small shell size, where as the 50mm gun was better. Its reported the HS -129 had stabiltiy problems with the 75mm gun so that looks like a poor solution. I read that JU-88 were employed to mount 50mm PAK and it worked well enough, while He-177 were hyjacked to mount 75mm PAK [is that overkill?]. Perhaps the Hs-129 was just too small a class of plane to mount such a big gun. Me-410 with 50mm PAK might have been a better solution?

In any event a great big part of the Speer production mircale was getting rid of redundant product and streamlining on only a handfull of product type to fill many different roles. Anything that was only going to be produced in the hundreds per year would have to go replaced with a handfull of models produced in the tens of thousands. Part of production plans was matching engines to planes & the Luftwaffe could not afford slow twin engined fighter in a situation of increasing enemy airsuperiority, unless they had some other tricks to fall back on...like extreme high altitude bombers & high altitude recon planes or long range maritime bombers .

I suspect we will never see eye to eye on this . Anyway I've stated my Toonies POV on this issue , good day :wink:

M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 27 Nov 2005 02:20

The 37mm ATgun has only marginal 'after penetration' effect due to the small shell size...

That's often said, but I see no base for such a claim. Let's have a look on the follwing list:

Hans-Ulrich Rudel: 516
Jakob Jenster: >100
Anton Korol: 99
Max Diepold: 87
Hans Ludwig: 85
Fehdler: >=65
Josef Bluemel: 60
Andreas Kuffner: >60
Ulrich Mundt: 40

These are 9 pilots I could find the number of confirmed tank kills using a Ju 87 G-1 or G-2. 9 pilots with together at least 1112 confirmed kills. It seems these pilots had not any problems to kill tanks with a gun of calibre 3.7 cm.

Its reported the HS -129 had stabiltiy problems with the 75mm gun so that looks like a poor solution.

I have never read about any stability problems of the HS-129 with the 7.5 cm Pak. The known problems were with the reload mechanism of the gun. For a long time the gun had to be reloaded manually, since the autoloader couldn't be made working.

I read that JU-88 were employed to mount 50mm PAK and it worked well enough

The use of the 7.5 cm Pak didn't work, because the propellors took too much damage on firing. The 5 cm armament worked without problems, but the plane was simply too big as target to be used in the role of tank hunter with cannons.

while He-177 were hyjacked to mount 75mm PAK [is that overkill?]

There was never a He-177 used with a 7.5 cm Pak, that's a myth you can read often. The largest calibre mounted in this plane were two 3 cm cannons (MK 101) in a moveable chin turret for a bomber-destroyer configuration.

Me-410 with 50mm PAK might have been a better solution?

The Me 410 was too big and not armored enough for low level tank hunting.

I suspect we will never see eye to eye on this

I agree, especially regarding the different opinions about tactical use. Breakthroughs of Russian tanks were often exclusively stopped by cannon-armed anti-tank planes. Especially in bad ground conditions (snow and mud-periods) where guns couldn't be moved to the positions they were needed and tank units lost also the mobility needed.

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Post by Tony Williams » 27 Nov 2005 07:31

M.Rausch wrote:
The 37mm ATgun has only marginal 'after penetration' effect due to the small shell size...

That's often said, but I see no base for such a claim. Let's have a look on the follwing list:

Hans-Ulrich Rudel: 516
Jakob Jenster: >100
Anton Korol: 99
Max Diepold: 87
Hans Ludwig: 85
Fehdler: >=65
Josef Bluemel: 60
Andreas Kuffner: >60
Ulrich Mundt: 40

These are 9 pilots I could find the number of confirmed tank kills using a Ju 87 G-1 or G-2. 9 pilots with together at least 1112 confirmed kills. It seems these pilots had not any problems to kill tanks with a gun of calibre 3.7 cm.

I have to say I am dubious about the accuracy of ground attack claims, from whatever source. Unless the tank blew up immediately it was usually very difficult to tell if it had been knocked out (this was a complaint the pilots had). And how would the kills be 'confirmed'? They would rarely have had the opportunity to examine the vehicles on the ground afterwards. Anyway, many tanks which were penetrated but not blown up may have suffered damage and crew casualties but would have been repaired and sent back into action. There is no doubt that (on average) the bigger the projectile which penetrated, the more damage was done.

Its reported the HS -129 had stabiltiy problems with the 75mm gun so that looks like a poor solution.

I have never read about any stability problems of the HS-129 with the 7.5 cm Pak. The known problems were with the reload mechanism of the gun. For a long time the gun had to be reloaded manually, since the autoloader couldn't be made working.
I think you must be confusing this with the Pak 40 installation in the Ju 88. The Hs 129 was a tiny plane, very cramped for the pilot, and the 12-round rotary magazine was set well back in the fuselage. There was no room for a loader, and it would have been impossible for the pilot to load the gun manually. The main problem with the Hs 129/BK 7,5 installation was that the plane was overloaded by the weight.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 27 Nov 2005 11:44

I have to say I am dubious about the accuracy of ground attack claims, from whatever source. Unless the tank blew up immediately it was usually very difficult to tell if it had been knocked out (this was a complaint the pilots had). And how would the kills be 'confirmed'?

Many of these kills were achieved on Russian tank groups breaking through the front. After the surviving tanks retreated back to the own area, it was easy for German ground troops to confirm claimed kills by simply counting what tanks had been left behind. For confirmed kills in enemy area, the tank seems to have exploded or at least burning to count as kill and another pilot or ground troops had to confirm this.

For e.g. Josef Bluemel there were 60 confirmed kills, but he was also credited with 200 other tanks damaged or made immobile. Perhaps some of these 200 tanks were also kills, but since they didn't burn or explode, they didn't count.


I think you must be confusing this with the Pak 40 installation in the Ju 88.

No, the source is the development history of the Ju 87 G in the book "Ju 87" by Mr. Griehl. He tells explicitely that the HS-129 had for a long time problems with the autoloader, while it worked fine on the Ju 88 P. But I think I have used the wrong words. With manually I dont meant to say, that the pilot had to reload the gun by inserting a new round after each fired. The gun had the same 12-round magazine, but the pilot reloaded it by using a lever or something like that to bring the next round from the magazine in the barrel.

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Post by Michael Kenny » 27 Nov 2005 11:55

M.Rausch wrote:Many of these kills were achieved on Russian tank groups breaking through the front. After the surviving tanks retreated back to the own area, it was easy for German ground troops to confirm claimed kills by simply counting what tanks had been left behind. For confirmed kills in enemy area, the tank seems to have exploded or at least burning to count as kill and another pilot or ground troops had to confirm this.

For e.g. Josef Bluemel there were 60 confirmed kills, but he was also credited with 200 other tanks damaged or made immobile. Perhaps some of these 200 tanks were also kills, but since they didn't burn or explode, they didn't count.


See http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Forum ... 00016.html

When compiling tank kill claims in the East the Germans automaticaly discounted 30-50% of the numbers.
Air to ground claims are the most unreliable of all the claims.

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Post by Tony Williams » 27 Nov 2005 16:16

M.Rausch wrote:
I think you must be confusing this with the Pak 40 installation in the Ju 88.

No, the source is the development history of the Ju 87 G in the book "Ju 87" by Mr. Griehl. He tells explicitely that the HS-129 had for a long time problems with the autoloader, while it worked fine on the Ju 88 P. But I think I have used the wrong words. With manually I dont meant to say, that the pilot had to reload the gun by inserting a new round after each fired. The gun had the same 12-round magazine, but the pilot reloaded it by using a lever or something like that to bring the next round from the magazine in the barrel.


Well, Manfed Griehl is a highly respected source and (in my experience) one of the few aviation writers to take guns seriously. I still have some trouble with that description, though. I have a Pak 40 round - as used in the BK 7,5 - next to my desk, and the thing is a fraction under 1 metre long and weighs 12 kg loaded. You're not going to shift one of those by pulling on a lever in the very cramped cockpit of the Hs 129.

TW

M.Rausch
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Post by M.Rausch » 27 Nov 2005 18:08

Hi Tony,

I have visited Mr. Griehl in the last years already several times, since I have just to travel one hour with my car to him. He has an impressive collection of copies of original documents (we exchanged already several hundred pages and perhaps a dozen microfilms), but his photo collection is even more outstanding.

I don't know when I will visit him the next time, but I hopefully will remember this topic and ask him for having a look in his sources on this. I have seen no details on the firing mechanism of this gun without autoloader, so I will wait for a judgement till this has changed.

Cheers, Michael

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Post by Andreas » 27 Nov 2005 19:20

M.Rausch wrote:I see it on a tactical and operational level as better solution. As I told you, the units you had equipped with the 3.7 cm Pzgr. 40 were not capable to fullfill in any way an AT-role. And on the operational level only the Luftwaffe was mobile enough to attack all the small or larger groups of enemy tanks who broke through the lines. Several times these planes stopped Russian tank groups alone, where any ground based unit had never been there in time.


Hi

Do you have some concrete examples please?

Thanks a lot.

Andreas

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Post by M.Rausch » 28 Nov 2005 12:41

I'll try to find examples. Mr. Griehls book contains this general statement in the Ju 87 G development history and in the preface of the unit histories of the "Panzerschlachtgeschwader". I remember that several missions were told in some details, I have to look them up. But this will take time till probably next weekend, since I don't have much free time during the week. I write this during lunch break at work.

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