Werhmacht Artillery

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by woksmuggler, Sep 14, 2007.

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  1. Guys, a bit of help needed. I'm off on a short-notice battlefield tour of Stalingrad and have been tasked to give a presentation on German artillery types and tactics. I've tried looking at Wiki and it wasn't much help; any suggestions?

    Many thanks,

  2. there's a few books on Amazon. who is your audience?
  3. Thanks very much. Much appreciated.

  4. Tried the gunner forum - I reckon they may know something about it - from the top of my head:

    Standard piece at Div level was the 105mm leFH18 - four to a battery.
  5. Try the Imperial War Museum - and if you can get hold of some of the researchers there so much the better. If you think you are a spotter wait until you meet these guys and girls :D

    Best of luck and please let me know how it goes 'cause I want to do something like that next year.
  6. If you want to know about Wehrmacht Artillery weapons try the books by Ian Hogg "German Artillery of Ww2"
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/185367480X/?tag=armrumser-20 If you are doing this for the Armed Forces you ought to be able to borrow a copy from a library.

    Its much harder to find books about German artillery tactics. Lots of material on Soviet artillery tactics from the cold war - but not as easy to find information about German Artillery tactics.

    I am not aware of any single book in English that covers the development of Germany Artillery in the way that Shelford Bidwell did for the British. Jonathan Bailey did touch on the subject in "Field Artillery and firepower"
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1591140293/?tag=armrumser-20 But only as a discussion about national approaches. You could try the RA Historical Society, the Firepower musuem Woolwich or the RSA Larkhill Library if serving.

    Here is 2p on the German approach to artillery and its significance at Stalingrad

    1. The Germans seem to have been able to carry out most of the clever field artillery techniques that the Brits and US armies did. However, the Germans didn't place anything like as much emphasis on indirect fire artillery as the Soviets or British. Blitzkreig was war on the cheap using panzertroops and airpower to force quick victories. The Germans didnlt invest in artillery or artillery ammunition to fight a long war of attrition. This hurt them badly when they waged an attentional war in the Soviet union. (Source Jonathan Bailey DRA lecture to RUSI C 2003 ish) The Germans simply didn't have anything like as much artillery as the Soviets. When the Soviets attacked in November 1942 the Germans lacked the artillery to break up the Soviets attacks or to suppress the Soviet artillery with counter battery fire.

    2. The German experience of the Great War was different to the Brits. The Brits invented tanks to provide mobile artillery for attacking infantry. The Germans didn't build many of their own tanks and included mobile artillery in their storm troops in their offensives from 1917-8. The Wehrmacht had a tradition for using artillery in DIRECT fire. In the Second World War, each German Regiment (Brigade) had an integral artillery battery of close support guns to be used in this role and lots of assault gun brigades crewed by German gunners not panzer troops.

    3. There were problems with using lots of indirect fire artillery in the city of Stalingrad itself. Wrecking buildings didn't make it easier to attack. Piles of rubble created more hiding places for defenders, disoriented attackers and made it hard for the Germans to employ armour -their big tactical advantage over the Soviets. In many ways the Germans Assault guns were the right kind of artillery for fighting in the city, but it didn't stop the Germans from bombing the city flat. (The western allies faced similar problems in Ortona & Monte Cassino.)

    4. Anti Tank Artillery was critical in the battles on the open steppes. In 1942 the Soviets had good tanks. The Germans didnt have enough long ranged anti tank guns -and their Rumanian, Hungarian and Italian allies had even less protection against Soviet armoured attack. Lack of anti tank guns is one of the main reasons the armies flanking the 6th Army collapsed in November 1942. Only a few German tanks, the latest versions of the Mk IIIJ Mk IVF2/G and new Mk VI Tiger tanks could penetrate the armour of Soviet T34 or KV1 tanks. Only 75mm anti tank guns and 88mm AA guns in the anti tank role could stop Soviet tanks at long ranges on the open steppes.

    5. AA artillery was significant at times during the siege of Stalingrad. Once the Germans had been surrounded and were dependent on air supplies, AA defences were the main way to keep the Red Air Force from interrupting the transport aircraft. As mentioned above, AA guns were often a critical component of the anti tank plan.

    6. Most German Artillery was horse drawn with horse drawn logistics. In the Winter of 1941-2 the Germans had lots lots of guns because the horses died or were too weak to pull the guns. German General Guderian (Inspector of Panzer troops 1942-44) regarded the failure to motorise their medium artillery as major error. At Stalingrad there was one positive benefit. The hungry 6th Army troops could could eat the horses...

    Hope this helps!
  7. You might try to get hold of Steel Wind by David Zabecki (the Prince Consort's Library in Aldershot have it) which while it's mainly about German Artillery use in WW1 the final chapters are about how the Germans used their artillery in WW2.
  8. Corkdrygin,

    As a Gunner, and having read Beevor's Stalingrad some time ago, that has put me in the mood to pick it up again. Cheers!
  9. An infantry division's arty rgt ca.1942 usually consisted of 3 battalions , 3 batteries each of 10.5cm le.F.H.18 and one of 15cm s.F.H.18.
    Generally speaking all batteries were horsedrawn.

    Ian Hogg's book is the one you want for the technical details.

    As it's a fastball you'll not have the time but with a bit of research you'd probably be able to find the records of the 6th Army's stoart (stabs offizier der artillerie) or artillery staff officer. That would give you a lot of detail on the organisation, strength and capabilities of the army's arty. But that's probably going a little deeper than you need and you'd need to understand military German :lol:
  10. Try googling "Things to do in Stalingrad"...that should set your expectation level about right!
  11. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    German army organisation WW2:

    Infantry division:
    1 x 150mm how bn
    3 x 105mm how bn

    Panzer division:
    1 x self propelled arty bn
    1 x 105mm bn (towed)
    1 x 150mm bn (towed)

    Mountain division:
    2 x 75mm how bn's
    1 x 105mm how bn
    1 x 150mm how bn

    Panzer-grenadier divsion:
    1 x self propelled arty bn
    1 x 105mm bn (towed)
    1 x 150mm bn (towed)

    and although not applicable to Stalingrad, to complet the picture:

    Volks-grenadier division:
    1 x 75mm how bn
    2 x 105mm how bn's
    1 x 150mm how bn

    Just happen to be reading a book comparing US Army/Germany Army ORBAT and doctrine at the moment....

    I'll get my anorak on and go now...