Tank Distribution

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Tank Distribution

Post by A-Bomb » 18 Feb 2003 06:31

Through the entire course of WWII it seems that the Wehrmacht seperated its tanks from its infantry. Sole tank divisions and entire Panzer amries. How then did the slogging intantry get appropriate support? Tanks had to be attached, correct? How then was this carried out?

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Post by Eightball » 18 Feb 2003 13:23

Christpoh, what he asked was how the Infantry that didn't have tanks got support if they encountered enemy tanks i.e.

Artillery maybe? I'm not sure.

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Post by Qvist » 18 Feb 2003 13:41

Unless an infantry division was fortunate enough to have assault gun support, they would then have to rely on their anti-tank weapons - mainly towed guns and hand-held weapons. Later in the war, it became more common for infantry divisions to posess a limited number of SP AT guns, but this was far from universal. Field artillery and FLAK could of course at a pitch be employed against tanks. The Germans generally did not, unlike the US Army f.e., possess independent tank batallions for the purpose of supporting unmotorised infantry divisions.


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Post by Andy H » 23 Feb 2003 12:51

In addition to Qvists post, the higher command be it Corps or Army would normally have some armour assets for tatical or strategic employment, which depending on the circumstance would be available to the infantry if the situation warranted, other than this Qvists answer covers it.


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Post by CHRISCHA » 23 Feb 2003 13:11

To build on the other points, a large command usually had several tank units under its remit. Tanks were rarely left to defend parts of a front, but rather act as a fire brigade, positioned to be able to support infantry units when needed. I think even panzer divisions were seperated by regiment, so for instance the LSSAH tanks could be fighting many miles from its grenadier units. Remember though, during an attack by a division or army tanks would usually lead, and as the war progressed tanks were becoming scarce changing the way units could fight.

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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 23 Feb 2003 17:56

The German approach was better than the alternative. Having Panzer divisions and Infantry divisions seperate made it possible to concentrate tank is small areas to achive breakthrough (Ardennes forrest, 1940 for example). Infanrty can then follow, and do the fighting, while the armour continue inland to cause havoc and give a shock effect.
The Panzers won't leave the infantry completely, though, baceuse any tank without infantry supoprt is a dead tank.

The French did the opposite in hte first half of the war - they distributed all their tanks thinly among the infantry, and although their tanks were superior to the German, the Germans could surround and destroy the French tanks (not unlike the way the Allies fought the superior Tigers with their Shermans in the later half of the way...)


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