At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Ulater
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Ulater » 27 Dec 2019 15:11

Aida1 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 14:22
Ulater wrote:
27 Dec 2019 10:58
Aida1 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 09:13
ljadw wrote:
26 Dec 2019 22:05
The existing panzer divisions of June 1941 with 200 tanks were as good as the panzer divisions of May 1940 with 260 tanks .
3 PzD had in May 1940 341 tanks and 9 PzD had 153 tanks and the former was not better than the latter .And it is not so that a PzD with 341 tanks would have less vehicles than a PzD with 153 tanks . The number of vehicles was not dependent on the number of tanks .
You clearly do not understand that the striking power of a 400 tank Panzerdivision has much more striking power than one with much less tanks. And this strong division has less vehicles than two smaller ones as it does not have double the amount of infantry,only more tanks. Do not continue to pretend that you know more about tanks than Heinz Guderian.
And you clearly do not understand that a panzer division would not operate in a frictionless empty steppe, and that size matters.

This larger theoretical division would not have less vehicles than two smaller ones, because:

In the simple core of your premise, you get a normal tank division that would have 150 tanks, or roughly 700 crewmen at this time, as compared to 1800 crewmen in your theoretical 400 tank strong tank division. Given not all would be 5 man tanks lets give them uneven numbers. That would mean bigger baggage train, more trucks and more horses, and more drivers. you can notice that already additional people are snowballing to additional people.These, along with the expansion by more than 250 tanks, would need a substantial increase in size for supply units and repair units. Just the ammount of additional cranes, tankers and trucks for new regimental/battalion units and existing units would be mind blowing - again, we are adding more drivers and mechanics. You would also need many more radiomen, adjutants, commanders and generally staff to keep command & control at some respectable levels. And more trucks, and drivers for them. This already justifies an increase of manpower in the medical unit, another increase in baggage train, and even more drivers.

This of course is without considering that it is "current year", and we dont let tanks into fight without infantry support anymore. So proportionally increase the manpower of the panzegrenadier unit, with proportional increase of artillery, trucks and support personnel.


Or do not do any of this, and see it go the way of soviet tank units in 1941.
You are conveniently forgetting that German Panzer divisions originaly did have more tanks as they had 2 Panzer regiments in a Panzer brigade . What Guderian proposed was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision where the number of tanks is proportional to the other weapons(Panzerleader, Guderian Futura 1952 p 295). It is the setting up of new divisions for Barbarossa that caused the change in the structure of Panzerdivisions.
And the original tank strong Panzerdivisions did have infantry support as they had an infantry brigade with 3 batallions. You clearly do not know much about Guderians ideas on armoured warfare as it was all about combined arms .
If a Panzerdivision is not tank strong,the attrition quickly transform it into a de facto Panzergrenadier division. The striking power of a Panzer division in the real sense of the word is much higher than that of a Panzergrenadier So better one tank strong Panzerdivision than two with much fewer tanks.

A tank in an average Panzer Division in 1941 could call on twice as much infantry, artillery, logistical and maintenance support while there being on average just 1/4 less tanks and considerably more APCs than in your average panzer division in 1940.

And no, it certainly isnt the establishment of new panzer divisions only that caused a reformation of Panzer divisions with one strengthened regiment, and as they become available, APC mounted infantry, in increased numbers, and aditionalheavy artillery + supply units.

Quite literally everyone, and Wehrmacht after France, found out that tank heavy units are not good.
Your text betrays a lack of reading as Guderian was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision of 1935 which had more than 300 tanks and functioned perfectly in the campaigns in Poland and France.
That would have to be demonstrated.

gebhk
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by gebhk » 27 Dec 2019 15:29

You are conveniently forgetting that German Panzer divisions originaly did have more tanks as they had 2 Panzer regiments in a Panzer brigade
The statement is, of course, correct but the conclusion is, I am afraid, wrong. As a result of combat experience, the tank strength was reduced - not just in the WH, but in every other army. Your argument also, conveniently, omits the fact that the vast majority of the 'tanks' employed by these 2-battalion Regiments at the outset of the war were PzKpfw 1 tanks armed with machine guns only and PzKpw II armed with an autocannon, rather than traditional cannon-armed tanks. This of course required more vehicles, to compensate with numbers what they lacked in firepower.
What Guderian proposed was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision where the number of tanks is proportional to the other weapons
And in this respect he was in a minority, at the time and (I think) since. All the significant powers entered the war with tank heavy armoured divisions (even the US) and as a result of combat experience, reduced the tank and increased the infantry component either absolutely or, at least, proportionally.
the attrition quickly transform it into a de facto Panzergrenadier division
This argument, conveniently ignores that attrition among the infantry is typically greater than among tanks. One of the reasons, for example, for the creation of the Kangaroo. Attrition on a division organised in the way all such units were in fact organised by the end of the war, resulted in a weaker but still recognisably all-arms armoured formation. Attrition on the tank-heavy division results in a collection of un-supported tank battalions - arguably more useless than the Panzergrenadier division you don't like.
the original tank strong Panzerdivisions did have infantry support as they had an infantry brigade with 3 batallions
And no one is saying they did not. However, what they did not have, is adequate infantry support. And, alas repeating myself, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the majority view following combat experience appears to have been that you need fewer tanks and more infantry not the other way round.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 27 Dec 2019 16:14

Answer to post 1470
A panzer division is more, much more than the number of tanks . If you don't understand this, that is not my responsibility .
And I see that again you are FALSIFYING what I am saying : I said that the striking power of a PzD is not depending on the NUMBER of tanks, I did not say that the striking power of a PzD was not depending on its tanks .

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 27 Dec 2019 16:28

Aida1 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 15:01
gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 12:59
You clearly do not understand that the striking power of a 400 tank Panzerdivision has much more striking power than one with much less tanks. And this strong division has less vehicles than two smaller ones as it does not have double the amount of infantry,only more tanks.
A view commonly held before the war and in its early stages, but proven incorrect by wartime reality. No one, even those who could, produced 400-tank armoured divisions. Severe evolutionary pressures caused every army I can think of to re-organise its initially tank-heavy armoured divisions (in reality only the US had armoured divisions, everyone else had armoured/motorised divisions) into a pattern of 2-3 tank battalions, 3-4 infantry battalions and three artillery battalions. And spent the rest of the war worrying far more about the attrition rate among the infantry than among the tanks.

There are very good reasons for this. Firstly your 400 tanks need to be managed, meaning they would be organised into 4-5 battalions, more or less - and even then those battalions would be considered large. While, with the 3-4 infantry battalions, it would not make it unusually large, compared to an infantry division, nevertheless a fast-moving motorised unit is more of a challenge for C&C to keep it moving and acting at peak effectiveness. 6-7 (tank + infantry) battalions seems to have evolved as the optimal team size.

Secondly, and of far greater importance, is the balance - a carpenter with two hammers is not better or faster than a carpenter with one. On the contrary, he has less energy for the job, having carried excessive and mainly useless baggage to the work-site. All jobs, battles included, require a variety of tools and it soon became very clear that tanks can operate alone without the support of infantry on very rare occasions indeed. The tank-heavy divisions (typical at the start of the war) meant that many of the tanks stood idly by, while the overstretched infantry component ran itself ragged. Meanwhile the excess tanks and their crews still had to be fed, watered and supplied with all and sundry, overloading the logistics without any great benefit.

In short, if you are fortunate enough to have 400 tanks, you are better off building a second division rather than handicapping the one you have, by overloading its tank component.

However, I am not a fan of making sweeping judgements on people on the basis of a single statement. I would not be surprised if gen Guderian was playing the game, one I am very familiar with. You need 150 tanks. You tell management you need 400. They have a fit, explain to you unendingly that it is simply too expensive, budget restrictions, capital depreciation management, other corporate priorities, blah, blah, blah. You eventually, with a sigh, give in, say you might be able to do, for the greater good, with only 150. They sigh with relief, hand over the cash and tell all and sundry what a splendid chap you are, very in tune with the corporate strategy. Of course, if you had asked for 150 in the first place you would have been lucky to get 50 and got a reputation for being difficult.

Or he was just plain wrong.

Neither of which make him an idiot.
Your text betrays a lack of reading as Guderian was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision of 1935 which had more than 300 tanks and functioned perfectly in the campaigns in Poland and France. I do not think tanks stood idly by contrary to what you stated.
As Inspector general Guderian aimed at a 400 tank strong Panzerdivision by 1944 which was never achieved but it was certainly not a number he proposed to get less. He did really want a tank strong Panzerdivision because that had always been his conviction from the beginning.
Guderian did not want PzDs with more than 300 tanks : he said clearly that 400 tanks were needed . This proves that he had learnt nothing of what happened between 1939 and 1943 .
And from the 10 PzDs of May 1940 ,THREE only had more than 300 tanks (341, 327, 314 ),6 had between 200 and 300 tanks and one had less than 200 tanks .Another fact proving your wrong . And the PzD with less than 200 tanks (9 PzD with 153 tanks ) did nor worse than the PzD with most tanks (3 PzD with 341 tanks ) .
Whatever, even he was right ( which he was not ) ,the proposal of Guderian was stupid, as Germany could not afford to create PzD s with 400 tanks in 1943 .

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Aida1
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 27 Dec 2019 16:38

Ulater wrote:
27 Dec 2019 15:11
Aida1 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 14:22
Ulater wrote:
27 Dec 2019 10:58
Aida1 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 09:13
ljadw wrote:
26 Dec 2019 22:05
The existing panzer divisions of June 1941 with 200 tanks were as good as the panzer divisions of May 1940 with 260 tanks .
3 PzD had in May 1940 341 tanks and 9 PzD had 153 tanks and the former was not better than the latter .And it is not so that a PzD with 341 tanks would have less vehicles than a PzD with 153 tanks . The number of vehicles was not dependent on the number of tanks .
You clearly do not understand that the striking power of a 400 tank Panzerdivision has much more striking power than one with much less tanks. And this strong division has less vehicles than two smaller ones as it does not have double the amount of infantry,only more tanks. Do not continue to pretend that you know more about tanks than Heinz Guderian.
And you clearly do not understand that a panzer division would not operate in a frictionless empty steppe, and that size matters.

This larger theoretical division would not have less vehicles than two smaller ones, because:

In the simple core of your premise, you get a normal tank division that would have 150 tanks, or roughly 700 crewmen at this time, as compared to 1800 crewmen in your theoretical 400 tank strong tank division. Given not all would be 5 man tanks lets give them uneven numbers. That would mean bigger baggage train, more trucks and more horses, and more drivers. you can notice that already additional people are snowballing to additional people.These, along with the expansion by more than 250 tanks, would need a substantial increase in size for supply units and repair units. Just the ammount of additional cranes, tankers and trucks for new regimental/battalion units and existing units would be mind blowing - again, we are adding more drivers and mechanics. You would also need many more radiomen, adjutants, commanders and generally staff to keep command & control at some respectable levels. And more trucks, and drivers for them. This already justifies an increase of manpower in the medical unit, another increase in baggage train, and even more drivers.

This of course is without considering that it is "current year", and we dont let tanks into fight without infantry support anymore. So proportionally increase the manpower of the panzegrenadier unit, with proportional increase of artillery, trucks and support personnel.


Or do not do any of this, and see it go the way of soviet tank units in 1941.
You are conveniently forgetting that German Panzer divisions originaly did have more tanks as they had 2 Panzer regiments in a Panzer brigade . What Guderian proposed was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision where the number of tanks is proportional to the other weapons(Panzerleader, Guderian Futura 1952 p 295). It is the setting up of new divisions for Barbarossa that caused the change in the structure of Panzerdivisions.
And the original tank strong Panzerdivisions did have infantry support as they had an infantry brigade with 3 batallions. You clearly do not know much about Guderians ideas on armoured warfare as it was all about combined arms .
If a Panzerdivision is not tank strong,the attrition quickly transform it into a de facto Panzergrenadier division. The striking power of a Panzer division in the real sense of the word is much higher than that of a Panzergrenadier So better one tank strong Panzerdivision than two with much fewer tanks.

A tank in an average Panzer Division in 1941 could call on twice as much infantry, artillery, logistical and maintenance support while there being on average just 1/4 less tanks and considerably more APCs than in your average panzer division in 1940.

And no, it certainly isnt the establishment of new panzer divisions only that caused a reformation of Panzer divisions with one strengthened regiment, and as they become available, APC mounted infantry, in increased numbers, and aditionalheavy artillery + supply units.

Quite literally everyone, and Wehrmacht after France, found out that tank heavy units are not good.
Your text betrays a lack of reading as Guderian was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision of 1935 which had more than 300 tanks and functioned perfectly in the campaigns in Poland and France.
That would have to be demonstrated.
Nothing in the campaigns in France and Poland indicated Panzerdivisions with lost of tanks do not work. These were the most successful campaigns.The tank part certainly did not need more infantry etc... It should be significant that it is Guderian who wanted to go back to the panzer strong Panzerdivision. He was after all Germany.s greatest tank specialist with the most experience at all levels.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by gebhk » 27 Dec 2019 16:39

Your text betrays a lack of reading as Guderian was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision of 1935 which had more than 300 tanks and functioned perfectly in the campaigns in Poland and France.
Sorry, but I refuse to get drawn into a personal 'your reading is better than mine' debate. As to the argument, it is difficult to know where to start.
1) What might have been good for 1935 (and I remain to be convinced even of that) when the WH had not one single solitary cannon-armed MBT, is hardly an argument to support organisational practice in 1944.
2) If the 4th Panzer functioned perfectly say, at Mokra on 1/9/39 or in the attacks on Warsaw on 8/9/39, this is a new usage of the word 'perfect' I am not familiar with.
3) Only one of the Panzer divisions deployed against Poland had over 300 tanks (the 4th, ironically probably the least well-performing panzer Division in the campaign). The WHs premier armoured unit, Pz Div 1 had, at 241, the smallest number of tanks of all the armoured divisions. A review of tank types on hand gives an obvious clue why that was so. By 1940 there were a few more divisions with over 300 tanks - all three of these divisions had between 97 and 135 Panzer Is still on active duty (as opposed to the other divisions with 0-52 Panzer 1s and more sensible total numbers of tanks).
I do not think tanks stood idly by contrary to what you stated.
They most certainly did on 4th September, while infantry reinforcements struggled to get through the massive traffic jam that had been created.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 27 Dec 2019 16:51

gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 15:29
You are conveniently forgetting that German Panzer divisions originaly did have more tanks as they had 2 Panzer regiments in a Panzer brigade
The statement is, of course, correct but the conclusion is, I am afraid, wrong. As a result of combat experience, the tank strength was reduced - not just in the WH, but in every other army. Your argument also, conveniently, omits the fact that the vast majority of the 'tanks' employed by these 2-battalion Regiments at the outset of the war were PzKpfw 1 tanks armed with machine guns only and PzKpw II armed with an autocannon, rather than traditional cannon-armed tanks. This of course required more vehicles, to compensate with numbers what they lacked in firepower.
What Guderian proposed was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision where the number of tanks is proportional to the other weapons
And in this respect he was in a minority, at the time and (I think) since. All the significant powers entered the war with tank heavy armoured divisions (even the US) and as a result of combat experience, reduced the tank and increased the infantry component either absolutely or, at least, proportionally.
the attrition quickly transform it into a de facto Panzergrenadier division
This argument, conveniently ignores that attrition among the infantry is typically greater than among tanks. One of the reasons, for example, for the creation of the Kangaroo. Attrition on a division organised in the way all such units were in fact organised by the end of the war, resulted in a weaker but still recognisably all-arms armoured formation. Attrition on the tank-heavy division results in a collection of un-supported tank battalions - arguably more useless than the Panzergrenadier division you don't like.
the original tank strong Panzerdivisions did have infantry support as they had an infantry brigade with 3 batallions
And no one is saying they did not. However, what they did not have, is adequate infantry support. And, alas repeating myself, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the majority view following combat experience appears to have been that you need fewer tanks and more infantry not the other way round.
You would be hard put to find sources that stated that you needed to get tank strength down in relation to infantry and artillery. That was not the experience of the first campaigns. It was not the reason for lowering tank strength in 1941.Guderian, who was Germany.s greatest tank specialist, certainly did not agree with low strength tank divisions who were not really tank divisions at all. So his vast combat experience certainly did not make him conclude that tank strength was too high.A tank division in the real sense of the word needed much more tanks than the average german Panzerdivision ended up having.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 27 Dec 2019 17:01

gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 16:39
Your text betrays a lack of reading as Guderian was going back to the original tank strong Panzerdivision of 1935 which had more than 300 tanks and functioned perfectly in the campaigns in Poland and France.
Sorry, but I refuse to get drawn into a personal 'your reading is better than mine' debate. As to the argument, it is difficult to know where to start.
1) What might have been good for 1935 (and I remain to be convinced even of that) when the WH had not one single solitary cannon-armed MBT, is hardly an argument to support organisational practice in 1944.
2) If the 4th Panzer functioned perfectly say, at Mokra on 1/9/39 or in the attacks on Warsaw on 8/9/39, this is a new usage of the word 'perfect' I am not familiar with.
3) Only one of the Panzer divisions deployed against Poland had over 300 tanks (the 4th, ironically probably the least well-performing panzer Division in the campaign). The WHs premier armoured unit, Pz Div 1 had, at 241, the smallest number of tanks of all the armoured divisions. A review of tank types on hand gives an obvious clue why that was so. By 1940 there were a few more divisions with over 300 tanks - all three of these divisions had between 97 and 135 Panzer Is still on active duty (as opposed to the other divisions with 0-52 Panzer 1s and more sensible total numbers of tanks).
I do not think tanks stood idly by contrary to what you stated.
They most certainly did on 4th September, while infantry reinforcements struggled to get through the massive traffic jam that had been created.
You would be hard put to find comment s from German panzer commanders to the extent that they believed tank strength was too high and needed to go down. Guderian certainly drew the oppositie conclusions from experience with the lower strength Panzerdivisions.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by gebhk » 27 Dec 2019 17:08

The tank part certainly did not need more infantry etc...
I suspect gen Reinhardt at Mokra and Warsaw and gen Schmidt at the Prudka would have disagreed......
Nothing in the campaigns in France and Poland indicated Panzerdivisions with lost of tanks do not work.
A highly debatable generalisation. However, even if we accept it at face value, the campaigns of 1940-43 indicated to pretty much everyone that mattered except Guderian (if we accept your view on what he was thinking) that they did not.
It should be significant that it is Guderian who wanted to go back to the panzer strong Panzerdivision. He was after all Germany.s greatest tank specialist with the most experience at all levels.

Firstly, notwithstanding due respect as a theoretician, he was not the most experienced German officer in practical combat command of armoured units by 1943 - especially under less favourable conditions than those enjoyed by German commanders in the early years of the war.

Secondly, no amount of knowledge, wisdom, renown or experience, prevents people from being, on occasion, wrong.

And I'm afraid repeating the mantra 'Guderian said so, so it must be true' does not really advance the debate much! Nor does it answer the question why, if tank-heavy armoured divisions were such a grand idea, every significant army of WW2 reduced the proportion of tank units in armoured divisions in the light of combat experience.
Last edited by gebhk on 27 Dec 2019 17:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by gebhk » 27 Dec 2019 17:30

(Cod) Psychologically, of course, Guderian lost his job just when it all started going wrong (for reasons which had little to do with the numbers of tanks in panzer divisions). It is not perhaps a stretch to imagine that the world seemed a better place when it was 1935 and panzer divisions had hundreds of little tanks. If only we could go back to that golden age all would be well.....

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Dec 2019 18:13

gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 15:29
The statement is, of course, correct but the conclusion is, I am afraid, wrong. As a result of combat experience, the tank strength was reduced - not just in the WH, but in every other army. Your argument also, conveniently, omits the fact that the vast majority of the 'tanks' employed by these 2-battalion Regiments at the outset of the war were PzKpfw 1 tanks armed with machine guns only and PzKpw II armed with an autocannon, rather than traditional cannon-armed tanks. This of course required more vehicles, to compensate with numbers what they lacked in firepower.

And in this respect he was in a minority, at the time and (I think) since. All the significant powers entered the war with tank heavy armoured divisions (even the US) and as a result of combat experience, reduced the tank and increased the infantry component either absolutely or, at least, proportionally.
Exactly. I believe few are aware that Guderian's wish to return to the tank-heavy Panzer division organization was not something new when he became Inspektur-General in 1943. It was simply his ongoing obsession, which stretched as far back as July 1940, when he had the XIX. Armeekorps (mot) staff write up a report arguing for it (and in fact enlarging the division even more) and against the proposed reorganization. His concept of a Panzerbrigade Stab with subordinate Panzerregiment Stab and various Abteilungen task organized and then attached to the Panzerdivision for various operations was a thinly veiled, back-handed way of getting back to the tank-heavy division.
This argument, conveniently ignores that attrition among the infantry is typically greater than among tanks. One of the reasons, for example, for the creation of the Kangaroo. Attrition on a division organised in the way all such units were in fact organised by the end of the war, resulted in a weaker but still recognisably all-arms armoured formation. Attrition on the tank-heavy division results in a collection of un-supported tank battalions - arguably more useless than the Panzergrenadier division you don't like.
It also ignores that the attrition to the Panzers in and of itself was not the problem; in sustained combat operations when armor leads it is going to suffer attrition. The problem was the Germans never had an adequate tank repair capability at any echelon, which was a problem compounded by the lack of spare parts and tank replacements. The allies also had the problem, but their greater productive capacity mitigated the problem.
And no one is saying they did not. However, what they did not have, is adequate infantry support. And, alas repeating myself, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the majority view following combat experience appears to have been that you need fewer tanks and more infantry not the other way round.
Indeed. The initial American armored division design (provisional) was a regrouping of the assets used in the May 1940 Louisiana war game that led to the creation of the Armored Force. Initial exercises by the Armored Force demonstrated it was too unwieldy...so they changed to a near mirror of the 1939 German division in November 1940. However, exercise in 1941 demonstrated what the Germans had learned in operations; it was simply too unwieldy to control. So in March 1942 it was streamlined, retaining a similarity to the German organization, but retaining two Tank Regiments. Continued issues with command and control and manpower requirements led to the simpler September 1943 organization, with a one-to-one tank and infantry combination, so still more tank heavy than the contemporary German organization (except the German battalions were larger), but similar to the British organization. Postwar, the American's decided to go with something more akin to the German, but it became moot due to the wholesale demobilization of the Army, so the changes were only ever partially attempted. The Soviets followed a similar path from the tank heavy mechanized corps to the more streamlined tank and mechanized corps of the late war.
"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: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 27 Dec 2019 18:14

gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 17:08
The tank part certainly did not need more infantry etc...
I suspect gen Reinhardt at Mokra and Warsaw and gen Schmidt at the Prudka would have disagreed......
Nothing in the campaigns in France and Poland indicated Panzerdivisions with lost of tanks do not work.
A highly debatable generalisation. However, even if we accept it at face value, the campaigns of 1940-43 indicated to pretty much everyone that mattered except Guderian (if we accept your view on what he was thinking) that they did not.
It should be significant that it is Guderian who wanted to go back to the panzer strong Panzerdivision. He was after all Germany.s greatest tank specialist with the most experience at all levels.

Firstly, notwithstanding due respect as a theoretician, he was not the most experienced German officer in practical combat command of armoured units by 1943 - especially under less favourable conditions than those enjoyed by German commanders in the early years of the war.

Secondly, no amount of knowledge, wisdom, renown or experience, prevents people from being, on occasion, wrong.

And I'm afraid repeating the mantra 'Guderian said so, so it must be true' does not really advance the debate much! Nor does it answer the question why, if tank-heavy armoured divisions were such a grand idea, every significant army of WW2 reduced the proportion of tank units in armoured divisions in the light of combat experience.
German Panzerdivisions became very tank light because of there being simply too many of them to keep them up to strength and still new ones were formed all the time which ends up with inexperienced divisions. Better a lower number of divisions with a sufficiënt number of tanks to make it a proper Panzerdivision and keep them up to strength.
Guderians proposals in 1943 for the tank strong Panzerdivision were based on a lot of experience. You will be hard put to find German panzer commanders complaining of too many tanks in their division.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Dec 2019 18:15

gebhk wrote:
27 Dec 2019 17:30
(Cod) Psychologically, of course, Guderian lost his job just when it all started going wrong (for reasons which had little to do with the numbers of tanks in panzer divisions). It is not perhaps a stretch to imagine that the world seemed a better place when it was 1935 and panzer divisions had hundreds of little tanks. If only we could go back to that golden age all would be well.....
Yes, and of course even later he had to insure his place in history by blaming all the faults on the decisions of the Bohemian Corporal.
"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: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Ulater » 27 Dec 2019 18:39

Nothing in the campaigns in France and Poland indicated Panzerdivisions with lost of tanks do not work. These were the most successful campaigns.The tank part certainly did not need more infantry etc... It should be significant that it is Guderian who wanted to go back to the panzer strong Panzerdivision. He was after all Germany.s greatest tank specialist with the most experience at all levels.
Top
There was universal complaining of all the tanks up to Pz III regarding the combat power, also supplying the units, and as infantry-tank cooperation was just being worked on, it wasnt really all that reported on.

Panzer Divisions did not become "light", their power rose in magnitudes.

I dont even believe Guderian would want to return to 1935 ToE, as there was absolutely no reason to.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Dec 2019 19:02

Balck, one of the most experienced commanders of the mid-late war period, had the opposite idea- he wanted even smaller, more maneuverable panzer divisions that were easily commanded by one Pz general of average ability. He even mentioned the huge armored formation as something only a "Guderian" was capable of commanding. In a report he complained that the Pz G.D., in which he was training, was "too fat" and had enough for two divisions. In a post-war interview he also is on record in saying that the oversized PzD was a waste of resources as commanders were overdeploying assets and just increase their own losses by making their forces more target rich. He also wanted the Tiger battalions consolidated into "heavy" panzer divisions and saw the Tiger battalions as a flawed formation due to to its weak support assets.

Kind of a weird opinion on some points IMHO given how armored warfare played out. Another insightful comment was that he preferred using smaller numbers of skilled fighters and that using greenhorn and ill trained troops was a waste of personnel.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 27 Dec 2019 19:07, edited 2 times in total.

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