German Wündertanks vs Shermans

. . . nor, seemingly, did their Gunners, Tankies, Loggies etcetera see this as anything but natural.

It goes way beyond mere 'training'

It's about mindset, in a way that is really hard to define.

Of one thing I am sure, though: it's a mindset incompatible with that which sustains the Brit myths surrounding the so-called Regimental System beloved of our Army

Nearest mindset would seem to be the RM/USMC one than every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost. Even their fast jet pilots do the infantry training.

The ‘Regimental System’. - the alleged ‘tradition’ that is apparently the core of the British Army, but didnt really extend back before the 1881 Reforms that replaced numbered Regiments with named ones recruiting by county. It’s passed it sell by date with the Royal Regiment of Fiji dressing in kilts.
 
I would put that down to the way the Heer were trained to fight.
(I exclude the SS who were often as bone headed as the average Kamikazi).

Their ability to reform on the fly into ad hoc ‘Kampfgruppes from surving small units was stunning and allowed even disparate stragglers from logs, artillery, infantry and armour to reform quickly into effective combat units.
Could a British or American low to middle rank Officer exercise such authority over disparate units without orders from HQ?

ETA: when a shortage of reserves saw the disbandment of AA and similar units in 1944, the British Arny didn’t gain much bar disgruntled gunners not keen on playing soldiers.

The Heer by comparison always saw nothing wrong with Gunners without guns or tankers without tanks grabbing a rifle and reverting to infantry.
IIRC a Kriegsmarine U Boote chap won a panzer destruction badge while fighting as infantry
 
Hmm; 49,000 reliable (for a given value thereof) Shermans vs 84,000 T34/76 & T34/85.

Like Rorke's Drift, I think I'd give it to the quality rather than quantity side.
Mebbe.

But if your name's Schmidt, and your (rare/precious) Tiger tank can't move or shoot, cuz the tracks are too narrow for Russian snow, the fuel is frozen, and the mice have shagged the electrics by eating the insulation, and when - of a sudden - you're faced with a mahoosive fleet of T34, I doubt you'd feel inclined to perform a sabredance of joy . .
 
The ‘Regimental System’. - the alleged ‘tradition’ that is apparently the core of the British Army, but didnt really extend back before the 1881 Reforms that replaced numbered Regiments with named ones recruiting by county. It’s passed it sell by date with the Royal Regiment of Fiji dressing in kilts
And yet it lingers on.

Like my athlete's foot
 
Mebbe.

But if your name's Schmidt, and your (rare/precious) Tiger tank can't move or shoot, cuz the tracks are too narrow for Russian snow, the fuel is frozen, and the mice have shagged the electrics by eating the insulation, and when - of a sudden - you're faced with a mahoosive fleet of T34, I doubt you'd feel inclined to perform a sabredance of joy . .
?
Herr Schmidt's wunerpanzer was anything but reliable, so I'm struggling to see where it compares with Lt Michael J Mouse's Sherman, which was.
 
. . . and still, even when their nation, overstretched, blockaded, bombedtobuggeration, beset by overwhelming forces on two fronts, and at the whim of staggeringly inept political leaders, was on the verge of destruction - their common or garden tactical formations and units (often units comprising pressed men of non-Herman ethnicities and natural loyalties) routinely performed in the field feats of endurance which were regarded in our own Army as beyond the reach of all but the most elite British capbadges.
Like the (mostly) LOC soldiers who held the Admin Box or the Royal West Kents at Kohima or the 30th Bde at Calais or the Australians at Tobruk?

It's amazing that an Army with such terrible officers, bad organisation, poor soldiers and useless equipment manged to win so many of the wars it was involved in while your German heroes are still without a single victory since the mid 1800s...
 
Like the (mostly) LOC soldiers who held the Admin Box or the Royal West Kents at Kohima or the 30th Bde at Calais or the Australians at Tobruk?

It's amazing that an Army with such terrible officers, bad organisation, poor soldiers and useless equipment manged to win so many of the wars it was involved in while your German heroes are still without a single victory since the mid 1800s...

He’s not arguing that British soldiers were not capable of acting amazingly, even the Germans tipped their hats to the ability of the British Tommy to dig in and stubbornly hold, it’s that ability if the Heer to in an almost fluid nature, collapse units, reform and fight on that’s the issue.
The Russians were always acutely aware of the ability of the Heer to recover and get back on the front foot if you did not completely rupture their front.

An example oft cited is in the attack. A British tank crew who’s tank was knocked our would walk back to their jumping off point, a Panzer crew were expected to grab their personal weapons and join the nearest infantry and go forward. For the German army, your ‘trade’ seemed to be just a temporary state of affairs for an infantryman first and foremost, not wether you were destroying tanks with a Panxer Or a Panzerfaust.

We can argue that’s a wrong use of trained tank crews, but it did mean the Germans often had more troops in the fight than they had on paper - this is the point I think Stonker is aiming at, the uncanny ability of the German army to think on its feet even at the lowest level. Yes, the Battle of the Admin box was a great feat of arms, but a German Officer or NCO seeing a breakthrough, Would simply do the same with any units nearby and add extra infantry to his attack.
 
Like the (mostly) LOC soldiers who held the Admin Box or the Royal West Kents at Kohima or the 30th Bde at Calais or the Australians at Tobruk?

It's amazing that an Army with such terrible officers, bad organisation, poor soldiers and useless equipment manged to win so many of the wars it was involved in while your German heroes are still without a single victory since the mid 1800s...
I can answer that! Hitler asked the same question!
OVERLORD'S BLOG: Development of the Scherz-Weapon
 
D

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I would put that down to the way the Heer were trained to fight.
(I exclude the SS who were often as bone headed as the average Kamikazi).

Their ability to reform on the fly into ad hoc ‘Kampfgruppes from surving small units was stunning and allowed even disparate stragglers from logs, artillery, infantry and armour to reform quickly into effective combat units.
Could a British or American low to middle rank Officer exercise such authority over disparate units without orders from HQ?

ETA: when a shortage of reserves saw the disbandment of AA and similar units in 1944, the British Arny didn’t gain much bar disgruntled gunners not keen on playing soldiers.

The Heer by comparison always saw nothing wrong with Gunners without guns or tankers without tanks grabbing a rifle and reverting to infantry.
Has anything changed? as ex signals, I only know some infantry/armour tactics from reading about them. During my service mil training was pretty minimal, if I had been a signalmen in the German Army, would I be a more competent riflemen if necessary.

Everyone goes on about the regimental system; I happen to dispute that line of thought, as the teeth arm regiments are maybe not flexible, there still teeth arms. Maybe, the lesson we should have learned from the Germans is every single soldier/airmen/seamen is like the USMC, a riflemen first and foremost.
 
D

Deleted 154930

Guest
Like the (mostly) LOC soldiers who held the Admin Box or the Royal West Kents at Kohima or the 30th Bde at Calais or the Australians at Tobruk?

It's amazing that an Army with such terrible officers, bad organisation, poor soldiers and useless equipment manged to win so many of the wars it was involved in while your German heroes are still without a single victory since the mid 1800s...
You are judged by your opponents and the Germans rated the British infantrymen, a very stubborn opponent.
 
D

Deleted 154930

Guest
He’s not arguing that British soldiers were not capable of acting amazingly, even the Germans tipped their hats to the ability of the British Tommy to dig in and stubbornly hold, it’s that ability if the Heer to in an almost fluid nature, collapse units, reform and fight on that’s the issue.
The Russians were always acutely aware of the ability of the Heer to recover and get back on the front foot if you did not completely rupture their front.

An example oft cited is in the attack. A British tank crew who’s tank was knocked our would walk back to their jumping off point, a Panzer crew were expected to grab their personal weapons and join the nearest infantry and go forward. For the German army, your ‘trade’ seemed to be just a temporary state of affairs for an infantryman first and foremost, not wether you were destroying tanks with a Panxer Or a Panzerfaust.

We can argue that’s a wrong use of trained tank crews, but it did mean the Germans often had more troops in the fight than they had on paper - this is the point I think Stonker is aiming at, the uncanny ability of the German army to think on its feet even at the lowest level. Yes, the Battle of the Admin box was a great feat of arms, but a German Officer or NCO seeing a breakthrough, Would simply do the same with any units nearby and add extra infantry to his attack.
The German training of officers and Ncos emphasised responsibility and that doctrine gave them the edge. They would not wait for orders but press on... Look at the meuse river 1940, it was a Sgt who cleared the French bunkers opening up the way for the assault crossing to succeed.
 
An example oft cited is in the attack. A British tank crew who’s tank was knocked our would walk back to their jumping off point, a Panzer crew were expected to grab their personal weapons and join the nearest infantry and go forward. For the German army, your ‘trade’ seemed to be just a temporary state of affairs for an infantryman first and foremost, not wether you were destroying tanks with a Panxer Or a Panzerfaust.
The main difference being that in general we had more tanks than crews, whereas the opposite was true of the Germans. I don't see that a debussed Sherman Crew armed with .38 Enfield pistols would add greatly to the fighting power of our attacking infantry, and would quite likely be more of a hindrance than a help (In defence of course that might be a different matter). Much of the German soldiers' adaptability (whilst laudable) would not have made much difference if it had been displayed to the same degree by allied troops, as they were generally attacking with numerical and logistic superiority. And the Germans still lost.

Whilst there are well documented weaknesses in the Regimental system during wartime, as has been stated by 44 it wasn't really in effect with BCRs going where they were needed rather than being held ready to go only to the Blankshires (because they didn't have a Loamshires cap badge, even though the Loamshires had been decimated). The same pragmatic system was prepared for on a smaller scale for OP GRANBY in 91 with a pool of BCRs assembled, ready for punting out to units by requirement rather than cap badge - which fortunately wasn't required. So maybe it's not as black as it's sometimes portrayed, and rather than carrying on forming square and guarding Wellington's Horse we've learnt something since WW2?
 
BTW I asked about the British T-34 idea, and the general consensus of people I trust is listed as "bollocks".

A) The claim is based entirely on Soviet sources, not one shred of corroborating evidence has been found, and as was pointed out earlier there was a propaganda war being conducted within the Red army, to convince their superiors that Soviet was best.
b) When Bovy were asked their response was akin to "no way in hell". The email might be public and some colleagues are looking for it.
 
Has anything changed? as ex signals, I only know some infantry/armour tactics from reading about them. During my service mil training was pretty minimal, if I had been a signalmen in the German Army, would I be a more competent riflemen if necessary.
Yes, they were conscripts and you spent more time in the NAAFI queue then they spent in training and then spent their time waiting to get out.
Everyone goes on about the regimental system; I happen to dispute that line of thought, as the teeth arm regiments are maybe not flexible, there still teeth arms. Maybe, the lesson we should have learned from the Germans is every single soldier/airmen/seamen is like the USMC, a riflemen first and foremost.
Define what you mean by flexibility.
I spent my time in an airportable Bn, Mech Infantry, 8 1/2 year spatrolling urban and rural paths, jungle tree spotting, hot and dry sweety places. I was a signaller, and SF gunner (a very good one), an MFC, a fleet manager, a UEO, an NBC instructor, a drill instructor, canoe instructor, and as an infantry soldier a SAA and heavy Wpn instructor. How flexible would you like me to be.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
. . . and still, even when their nation, overstretched, blockaded, bombedtobuggeration, beset by overwhelming forces on two fronts, and at the whim of staggeringly inept political leaders, was on the verge of destruction - their common or garden tactical formations and units (often units comprising pressed men of non-Herman ethnicities and natural loyalties) routinely performed in the field feats of endurance which were regarded in our own Army as beyond the reach of all but the most elite British capbadges.

Nothing to be learned there, apparently.
Execute a hundred malingerers, shirkers, cowards and traitors every week, and you'll get people deciding they're more scared of the Gestapo than the enemy. Not entirely sure the UK or US could have applied the same method, though.

And it did produce stupidities such as the commander of 6 FS at Carentan, furious that the tank battalion that was meant to be supporting him wasn't moving, going to try to motivate them... and being arrested and interrogated for "abandoning his position". (Meanwhile the SS Panzertruppe he was fighting alongside were 'straggling to the rear', 'at first individually and then in whole formed groups', and having to be rounded up at gunpoint) Yes, they lost that battle.

There's a certain feeling that we cherry-pick the best of the enemy's performance and the worst of our own, even before you get into the entirely understandable feeling on the Allied side that the end of the war was in sight and nobody wanted to be the poor eager bastard who copped it the day before the armistice. (cf. Wilfrid Owen in 1918, killed crossing the Sambre: his parents got their regretful telegraph on 12 November 1918 as all the church bells were pealing victory)
 
The German training of officers and Ncos emphasised responsibility and that doctrine gave them the edge. They would not wait for orders but press on... Look at the meuse river 1940, it was a Sgt who cleared the French bunkers opening up the way for the assault crossing to succeed.
So, rather similar to Pattons policy that it wasn't his job how to tell his troops how to fight, just give them direction and trust them to get own with it.

'Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results'

He was considered the most 'German' of allied commanders having extensively studied German source documents and military writings in the inter war years.
 
Execute a hundred malingerers, shirkers, cowards and traitors every week, and you'll get people deciding they're more scared of the Gestapo than the enemy. Not entirely sure the UK or US could have applied the same method, though.

And it did produce stupidities such as the commander of 6 FS at Carentan, furious that the tank battalion that was meant to be supporting him wasn't moving, going to try to motivate them... and being arrested and interrogated for "abandoning his position". (Meanwhile the SS Panzertruppe he was fighting alongside were 'straggling to the rear', 'at first individually and then in whole formed groups', and having to be rounded up at gunpoint) Yes, they lost that battle.

There's a certain feeling that we cherry-pick the best of the enemy's performance and the worst of our own, even before you get into the entirely understandable feeling on the Allied side that the end of the war was in sight and nobody wanted to be the poor eager bastard who copped it the day before the armistice. (cf. Wilfrid Owen in 1918, killed crossing the Sambre: his parents got their regretful telegraph on 12 November 1918 as all the church bells were pealing victory)

Worked for the Royal Navy, shooting Admiral Byng - 'The British were always up for a fight, they would never turn away'

"a culture of aggressive determination which set British officers apart from their foreign contemporaries, and which in time gave them a steadily mounting psychological ascendancy. More and more in the course of the century, and for long afterwards, British officers encountered opponents who expected to be attacked, and more than half expected to be beaten, so that [the latter] went into action with an invisible disadvantage which no amount of personal courage or numerical strength could entirely make up for."
 
So, rather similar to Pattons policy that it wasn't his job how to tell his troops how to fight, just give them direction and trust them to get own with it.

'Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results'

He was considered the most 'German' of allied commanders having extensively studied German source documents and military writings in the inter war years.
Unfortunatly he also seems to have absorbed their penchant of ignoring logistics
 

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