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"Trucks for German Motorized Infantry" Topic


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World War Two on the Land

788 hits since 11 Jan 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Marcus Brutus11 Jan 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

I have doing a lot of reading on German Motorized infantry in Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions. What rarely gets discussed is the trucks that were used to transport motorized infantry (panzer grenadiers.) Was there one specific vehicle that was generally used to transport motorized infantry or was it a combination of various types? Appreciate your thoughts.

RudyNelson11 Jan 2020 1:33 p.m. PST

Photos in the infantry series of the Concord range shows several different models used including trucks from allied FIAT and conquered countries. Zvesda had a 15mm model of a Opal in their range.

Bigby Wolf11 Jan 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

Without checking anything, I would think the ubiquitous Opel Blitz? Depending on what year you're interested in?

The later you get in the war, the more varied it would be.

Legion 411 Jan 2020 3:35 p.m. PST

GHQ has a number of German WWII cargo trucks. link But I'd say Opel Blitz generally would be one of the most numerous. As well as some captured vehicles too possibly.

Martin Rapier12 Jan 2020 1:06 a.m. PST

Early in the war they were various types of light truck (Krupp Protze, Steyr etc) although motorised infantry divisions tended to use lorries (Opel Blitz etc) instead. Later in the war, anything and everything, although the trend was to lorries rather than trucks or heavy cars.

My chaps have quite a mixture, including various captured vehicles.

You can't go wrong with an Opel Blitz though.

Marcus Brutus12 Jan 2020 5:25 a.m. PST

Thanks everyone for your information and advice. For gaming purpose I think I will stick with the Opel Blitz.

donlowry12 Jan 2020 9:24 a.m. PST

Early in the war (39-41), I believe the Krupp Protze sdkfz 70 was the standard. It took 2 of them to carry one "gruppe" or section, 6 men per truck. Later, I think larger trucks, such as the Opel Blitz, that could carry a whole "gruppe" were used.

Mark 113 Jan 2020 12:51 p.m. PST

Krupp Protze for early war is a good choice. Opel Blitz for most of the war is a good choice.

In the desert campaign you can throw a few British trucks in just for some local flavor. Similarly on the Eastern Front you can add a few Russian trucks. Along that line, the Russian GAZ-AA truck was a license-built Ford Model AA truck, and was present in several European nations in the civilian market, just waiting to be impressed by a truck-hungry occupier.

French trucks in particular were also very widely used by the Wehrmacht. Not just battlefield captures, either. French factories continued production to supply the Germans for much of the war. The Renault AHS medium trucks from GHQ, AGR medium trucks from H&R and Shapeways, and the lighter AGP trucks from Shapeways are all good choices of trucks that saw more service with German (and Romanians) forces than French.

Or so I've read.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Lee49413 Jan 2020 2:02 p.m. PST

Anything with wheels. Especially in Normandy. The Germans would confiscate local civilian cars and trucks to fill their needs. Also lots of stuff left over from 1940 was pressed into service. Even bicycles were used. The later you go in the war the more varied and diverse your transport should be. When i gamed 20mm I'd buy HO scale European civilian trucks and cars have my Germans driving around in them. Very colorful lol.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut14 Jan 2020 12:09 p.m. PST

How about a Fiat SPA Dovunque in North Africa?

Mark 114 Jan 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

How about a Fiat SPA Dovunque in North Africa?

I would expect that to be possible, but perhaps less likely than some of the other choices mentioned.

The Italians were if anything even more hungry for trucks than the Germans. Is it possible that a German unit came upon some Italian truck or two, and pressed them into service? Yes. Most likely in the case of a combat unit "nabbing" some trucks from the supply echelons. A guy with a gun can be quite convincing in the right scenario.

But I would see it as more likely to find French or British (or even US) trucks in both German and Italian hands, than to find Italian trucks in German hands. At least until the Italian campaign. By late 1943, German forces were impressing everything into service in Italy, taking material away from demobilized/interned Italian army forces and taking production straight from the factories in Northern Italy.

But in the desert, not as likely. Not to say it didn't happen. In particular during the withdrawal from El Alamein, the Italians complained bitterly that the Germans took all the transport, leaving the Italian army in Egypt to it's fate. But that mostly reflects, I believe, that the typical Italian infantry division didn't HAVE many trucks. The typical infantry division didn't even have trucks to move their guns, much less carry their soldiers. So they probably hoped that the Germans would find trucks to help them retreat. The Germans were not particularly inclined to do this, given that they didn't have enough trucks to move the German infantry, much less providing trucks to the Italians.

Oh, and gas. Not enough gas either. But that's a different story…

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 414 Jan 2020 2:38 p.m. PST

"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse !"

Mark 114 Jan 2020 3:34 p.m. PST

"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse !"

Indeed! And more critically so during WW2 than many in the west would remember.

As an example, in the Italian army there were armored divisions, fast divisions (mechanised, or perhaps more accurately described as motorized), auto-transportable divisions, and more standard infantry divisions.

One would think that an "auto-transportable" division would differ little from a motorized division. But it did. A motorized division had the trucks to move it's stuff. And auto-transportable division didn't have the trucks. But it had guns that COULD be towed by a truck if a truck was available. The regular infantry divisions largely had guns that could NOT be towed by vehicles. They didn't have the suspension to allow for vehicle towing speeds. You needed a horse.

When the British BEF landed in France they did not have enough 2pdr AT guns, and so the French provided some hundreds of their 25mm Hotchkiss AT guns (even though the French divisions were not yet up to TOE). We all know that the Brits frequently mounted their AT guns as "portees" on the backs of their trucks. The reason they started this practice, in France, was because the French AT guns could not be towed by trucks at vehicle speeds. They were horse-mobile guns, not vehicle-mobile guns. And the BEF didn't bring horses.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

deephorse15 Jan 2020 4:01 a.m. PST

The reason they started this practice, in France, was because the French AT guns could not be towed by trucks at vehicle speeds.

And because they saw that the French were already doing this in their mechanised formations.

Griefbringer15 Jan 2020 6:12 a.m. PST

And the BEF didn't bring horses.

However, I recall having read that several mule companies somehow made it to the BEF to augment their transport capacity. Not sure in what kind of terrain they were deployed.

Also, the British still had a cavalry division operational in the Middle East theatre in 1941…

Not that this has much to do with panzer grenadiers.

Legion 415 Jan 2020 7:53 a.m. PST

Some may not remember, in WWII, as the war progressed many trucks become a frequent transport for many Infantry and towed AT wpns.

Short answer :

A truck can move faster than you can walk or run and for a longer period of time.

As well as trucks are not armored so they had to drop off their cargo near the "front". But not too close, for obvious reasons.

Trajanus15 Jan 2020 8:00 a.m. PST

"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse !"


Big War = A lot of Horses!

link

Starfury Rider15 Jan 2020 10:36 a.m. PST

Re the original query, German KStN for the 1943-44 PzGren units just refer to 'Lastkraftwagen 2t, offen, gelande', which I think roughly translates as 2-ton truck, open, cross country.

Regarding the situation facing the BEF and 2-pdr anti-tank guns in 1940. The shortage was more in respects to overall numbers of guns, rather than units being left without guns. "The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment" (1950) notes that the BEF had ten Anti-tank Regts, RA, with a total of 480 guns. This was based on a normal WE of 48 guns per Regiment and seems to exclude the mixed Atk/LAA Regt of 1st Armd Div.

Of the 480 guns detailed, 432 were 2-prs and 48 were French 25-mm pieces. From a discussion on another forum it seems that 14th Atk Regt of 4th Division had the 25-mm guns. I've no idea why the substitution was made. The bulk of the French 25-mm guns were therefore used by the newly created Infantry Anti-tank Companies, allotted one per Inf Bde and armed with nine 25-mm guns. They only began to be raised in late 1939 and so there was no real opportunity to equip with them 2-pr guns. I don't think the 25-mm was a well liked weapon, but it at least gave some capability, and as mentioned the French were still mobilising and equipping their own formations so it was more than a token gesture.

Gary

deephorse15 Jan 2020 1:02 p.m. PST

Thanks Gary. That's useful information for someone currently building B.E.F. forces.

Legion 415 Jan 2020 2:01 p.m. PST

Good link Trajanus !

Griefbringer16 Jan 2020 1:44 a.m. PST

I don't think the 25-mm was a well liked weapon, but it at least gave some capability

At least it was small in size and not too heavy (around 500 kg), making it relatively easy to hide and man-handle into position.

However, the armour penetration capability was a bit limited even by 1940 standards, but could still have a chance against German tanks (especially against the weaker side armour). Unfortunately this tended to usually be the only anti-tank weapon available to the French infantry battalions, and even then only available in limited numbers.

French also had a more powerful 47 mm ATG gun with much better armour penetration.

deephorse16 Jan 2020 5:26 a.m. PST

And yet another source says that its performance was quite reasonable.

The French 25mm AT guns were very modern in 1934. About 4500 of these guns were in service in May 1940. They were especially known as being very discreet, the flash hider used on them made them difficult to spot according to both French and German AARs. They proved to be very accurate guns, and able to destroy all the German tanks up to 800m if the angle was good enough, but their armor penetration capability was already limited in 1940 when facing the PzIV Ausf.D at long range.
In the first 500m the penetration efficiency was equal to the penetration of the Pak36 and after the KE felt more rapidly due to the lightweight projectile (0.320kg for the 25mm ATG and 0.685kg for the Pak36 AP shell).

Starfury Rider16 Jan 2020 5:38 a.m. PST

I've always been struck at just how quickly the anti-tank guns that were considered modern in the mid 1930s were regarded as obsolete by 1940, and the way that was seen across pretty much all armies.

Gary

Griefbringer16 Jan 2020 6:54 a.m. PST

Indeed, both the tanks and anti-tank weapons developed very rapidly around WWII. Especially anti-tank rifles, which had been very popular in many armies before the war, were soon to be found rather limited in practice.

As for the French 25 mm ATG, keep in mind that the Germans also captured great numbers of these weapons. Not sure where all they ended up in German hands, but some of them were sold to Finland, where they became known by the nickname "Marianne". While phased out of actual anti-tank use in Finnish military after a while, they were relegated into coastal defense, where they were expected to provide a deterrence against lighter coastal crafts.

Legion 416 Jan 2020 7:21 a.m. PST

Generally the towed AT gun was not as useful as a mounted one, obviously. As the war progressed with many of the forces becoming more and more motorized/mech. Being able to move rapidly into combat/a firefight, etc. Is certainly an advantage in the "age of the Blitzkrieg"/maneuver warfare.

But regardless many armies still had towed AT guns thru out the war and some even afterwards. E.g. Certainly the German 88 even towed proved itself. As we see all the versions of an 88 being mounted on/in an AFV.

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