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"Was the Famous German Tiger Tank Really That Great?" Topic


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20 Aug 2020 9:52 p.m. PST
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse20 Aug 2020 7:59 p.m. PST

"In the years since World War II, much mythmaking has mucked up history with various often incredible claims about the effectiveness of certain weapons. And no country's wartime record is more muddled than Germany's, whose arms and armies have attracted legions of devoted fans. From the battleship Bismarck to the V-2 rocket, Germany's weapons have near a mythic hold on history like few others. But how effective were these weapons really?

Another way to measure effectiveness, as the channel explains, is to examine how much of a threat the Allies considered the Tiger battalions. The Allies took the Tiger very seriously, devoting considerable time to tracking their movements. The Tiger could penetrate the armor of any Allied tank on the battlefield, and the U.S. and British forces would often try to team together air and artillery support along with ground forces to increase odds in their favor…"
Main page
link

Amicalement
Armand

Zephyr120 Aug 2020 8:31 p.m. PST

You have to remember, that when a Tiger broke down, it took a Tiger to tow a Tiger… ;-)

Garand20 Aug 2020 9:23 p.m. PST

You have to remember, that when a Tiger broke down, it took a Tiger to tow a Tiger… ;-)

The Tiger was slightly underpowered, so if the other Tiger wasn't careful, it could risk blowing the engine towing the disabled tank, resulting in two inoperational tanks.

Damon.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2020 1:08 a.m. PST

But it caused enough fear in the Allies that I've heard that "every tank became a Tiger".

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2020 3:28 a.m. PST

The Tiger I's power to weight ratio was about 13hp / tonne, the same as a Centurion, so I don't think it was underpowered necessarily. If it was, so was the Centurion.

Whether it's transmission was up to the job – well, that's another matter. Famously, the Tiger II and Panther had the same final drive, even though the former was 50% heavier and the latter was 50% overweight versus the original design for which that transmission was specified.

Eclectic Wave21 Aug 2020 7:01 a.m. PST

The question becomes, are you talking the Tiger or the Tiger II? Big difference.

But if you are talking tigers, a line from Kelly's Heroes comes to mind…

Moriarty: "We was assaulted by Tigers, Do you know what I mean when I say assaulted? WE WAS ASSAULTED!"

You can say what you want about mechanical breakdown rates, and cost vs effectiveness, when they worked, they brought nothing but fear to the Western Allies. Their Rep might have been worse then their bite, but don't believe that their rep didn't have a important part of the battles they fought in.

Something that I am very interested in, is the rep that the Tiger tank had with the Russians. You never hear about how the Russians viewed the Tigers, and they faced them in more numbers then the Western Allies did, I believe.

Rich Bliss21 Aug 2020 7:23 a.m. PST

Tactically, they were extremely effective. Operationally, not so much.

Legion 421 Aug 2020 8:57 a.m. PST

Moriarty: "We was assaulted by Tigers, Do you know what I mean when I say assaulted? WE WAS ASSAULTED!"
I was going to say that ! evil grin

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2020 9:34 a.m. PST

There is no doubt that in the west, the German army retained complete psychological domination of the battlefield until 8 May 1945.

A big part of this arose from the dread generated by its premier weapons: the 88mm gun, the MG42, and yes, the Tiger tank.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse21 Aug 2020 11:24 a.m. PST

Agree….

Amicalement
Armand

Midlander6521 Aug 2020 11:40 a.m. PST

4th Cuirassier: "There is no doubt that in the west, the German army retained complete psychological domination of the battlefield until 8 May 1945."

I think there is quite a lot of doubt about "complete". The way the Allied troops overran German forces after the collapse in Normandy, seems to contradict it for a start. In the later stages, I especially remember accounts from British 11th Armoured (with Comets) feeling very confident engaging German armour and driving through AT ambushes.

pmwalt21 Aug 2020 2:23 p.m. PST

I think this could be quite an interesting poll question.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Aug 2020 3:32 p.m. PST

Moriarty also called the Tiger tank a piece of junk at the end of the movie after the Americans and Germans swapped equipment.

Lee49421 Aug 2020 5:22 p.m. PST

Ah those feelings of Deja Vu again. Most of the Tiger myth is Hollywood Hype, a post WWII Legend. Tigers weren't really on the US Army's Radar until Normandy. And Americans fought few of them until The Bulge and even then not that many. The generals, like Patton, largely ignored them. And with good reason. They were so few in number and so rarely encountered by the US that they couldn't really make a major difference.

During The Bulge Peiper had a full Battalion. Were did it get him? Dozens of broken down and blown up Tigers later, his remaining men abandoned their fancy toys and hiked back to the German lines. At the company level if a couple of Tigers showed up you had a bad day. At the Combat Command level a company of Tigers could stall your advance until the Jabos showed up. But at the Division level even a Tiger Battalion was a mere nuisance. And at Corps and Army level they were a non event.

Myths and Tiger Phobia aside, the Tigers served the Germans well in plugging gaps and halting enemy advances. Not only because of the Tigers capabiltues, which actually were less than the Panther's, but because until very late in the war the Tiger Crews were the Cream of the Panzer Waffe. And if armored warfare from 1940 through the modern day has proved anything it's that the best trained, led and motivated tankers are hard to beat whatever tank they're riding in.

So YES the Tiger was a Great Gap Plugger. Problem was the
Germans had a lot more Gaps than they had Tigers!

Cheers!

newarch21 Aug 2020 9:27 p.m. PST

There is an awful lot of mythology built up around the German war machine of WW2, which simply doesn't stand up to close examination.

The SS weren't all super soldiers, the Luftwaffe weren't all conquering, the Bismarck was damaged in her first battle. Tiger and Tiger II tanks were monsters of their time, and only a fool would take them lightly when faced by a unit equipped with them, but reliability and lack of fuel and air superiority made them far from invincible.

typhoon221 Aug 2020 10:13 p.m. PST

While the fear of Tigers was enough for questions in Parliament about inadequate responses (a subject that the War Office tried to quash, since it was both true and bad for morale), it was primarily the Tiger 1 that got this reputation. AP shot bouncing off frontal armour was a story that spread quickly and widely in Tunisia and was brought to NW Europe with Monty's desert veterans. By this stage the Germans were on the strategic defensive so most encounters with German tanks would be from ambush, and overwatching tanks seeing their shells bounce would be pretty disheartening. Every encounter thereafter would incur that same feeling of helplessness, regardless of official statistics.

The debut of the Tiger II at Operation GOODWOOD was hardly in the mould of the invincible Tiger legend. The Kompanie commander slid into a bomb crater and was out of the battle. Another one was rammed by a Sherman with a jammed gun and both tanks were subsequently destroyed by foot sloggers while two more of the most powerful tank yet encountered were despatched by a single Firely gunner. Not having seen this beast before he modestly claimed two Panthers!

UshCha22 Aug 2020 1:10 a.m. PST

The Tiger tanks reputation is a myth of wargamers and techno freaks. It was:-

1)Far too expensive so to few to make a war winning diffrence.
2) Unreliable so contributes to 1.
3) In many cases it was too heavy, many bridges would not take its weight, a severe operational limitation.
4) The Tiger fear is massively overplayed. One Sherman commander is on record, there answer to the Tiger was to use the superior Sherman sights to fire HE at it at a rapid rate. It had to pull back as it could not withstand the fire and was blinded and unable to fire. Particularly as the short 75mm was much handier in close terrain. They then waited till for either air or big guns to take it out.

5) The Tiger was frightend of the British Firefly, 2150 produced, Tiger 1's 1347. Ergo useless waste of valuable resources. The Brits had more than enough Fireflys to kill Tigers even if the US had no similar decent weapon. It was
more than a match for the Tiger, armor in a tank vs tank in a tank vs tank engagement is immaterial as at Normandy both had an alll aspects kill capability. The Sherman was more relaible ego a big force multiplyer.
6) Death rate being realistic (not a typical wargamer issue) is that the cheap Sherman savered more lives as it supported infantry its prime job. The few Tigers around did increase casualtuies of tank crews if on the rare occation they met one in the wrong situation. However that increased death rate did not offset the numbere of Grunts lives the sherman saved. There being lots of Shermns as they were cheap to produce compared to a Tiger.

QED the Tiger rateing is a Holywood Myth. The Germans would have beed far better with an upgraded MK4.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2020 8:10 a.m. PST

… while two more of the most powerful tank yet encountered were despatched by a single Firely gunner. Not having seen this beast before he modestly claimed two Panthers!

That's funny. Good thing nobody told him they were Tigers.

Blutarski22 Aug 2020 4:59 p.m. PST

Similar logic must then conclude that the Battle of Isandlwana proved the Martini-Henry to be a wargamer myth as well.

Just a suggestion – Before announcing conclusions, I suggest reading up on the correspondence exchanges dated dated AFTER the 6 June landings between SHAEF, AGF and the Ordnance Dept (among others) regarding the German heavy tank threat

LOL. We can set our watches by the appearances of this stuff on TMP.

B

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2020 5:30 p.m. PST

"There is no doubt that in the west, the German army retained complete psychological domination of the battlefield until 8 May 1945. A big part of this arose from the dread generated by its premier weapons: the 88mm gun, the MG42, and yes, the Tiger tank."

As luck would have it, I'm reading Hastings' Armageddon and just read that earlier today. Small world ;)

While he references those premier weapons, I think he makes a larger case that the psychological domination owed at least as much to the commitment level of the Germans, who continued to fight long after any hope of winning had passed. This goes from the operational level (willingness to ignore flanks, continue fighting after being encircled), the tactical level (interoperability/cooperation between arms, even with ad-hoc units), down to the individual soldier (in the section on Alpon in Reichswald, "…young German continued firing his MG-42 despite his jaw being shot away, standing in his trench atop the body of a comrade."), whilst the bulk of combat arms in the "…Anglo-American forces were looking to make sure they weren't the last soldier killed before the war ended."

I believe I agree, particularly after Market-Garden. There seems to be a 180-degree change in the prosecution of combat operations in the West following that operation.

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse22 Aug 2020 10:27 p.m. PST

As can be seen on the following message the uninterrupted flow of M4 tanks-any type of M4 tank-took precedence over 76mm-90mm arguments.

[/URL]

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse22 Aug 2020 10:40 p.m. PST

(in the section on Alpon in Reichswald, "…young German continued firing his MG-42 despite his jaw being shot away, standing in his trench atop the body of a comrade."), whilst the bulk of combat arms in the "…Anglo-American forces were looking to make sure they weren't the last soldier killed before the war ended."

Millions of German soldiers surrendered in 1945. So many that the Allied totals were greater than the Soviet bag. I have read a number of late-war accounts were desertions were a major problem and as we all know there were gangs of SS rear-area warriors roaming around hanging anyone they considered AWOL. It should be noted that c. 15000 German soldiers were executed for desertion alone. At the time of Hitlers death there were over 100 active German divisions in the field and they certainly did not fight 'to the bitter end'.
It seems the post-war tales of Uber-soldiers fighting to the last man and the last bullet still have an audience.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 6:49 a.m. PST

"At the time of Hitlers death there were over 100 active German divisions in the field and they certainly did not fight 'to the bitter end'."
Hmmm… It sounds like you have a pretty narrow definition of "the end." If they didn't fight until the ‘bitter end,' why was there fighting in Berlin in the first place?

"It seems the post-war tales of Uber-soldiers fighting to the last man and the last bullet still have an audience."
It seems like someone believes their own Bleeped text. No one said anything about super soldiers, only that German forces (and Soviet forces) as a whole remained committed to fighting in a way the Anglo-American forces, according to their own leadership (based on direct quotes and correspondence from company-grade, field grade, and general officers) did not. Are you really saying you've never heard of western Allied leaders commenting on their troops' lack of energy in the assault, or being a bit ‘sticky,' or the countless intelligence assessments aimed at ascertaining why the German military hadn't simply given up???

I really can't fathom the concept of the ‘super soldiers' statement. It seems like you're saying two things can't be true at the same time; scores of Germans were surrendering and deserting, but it's also true that scores more continued fighting. There were Germans that surrendered or deserted from the very beginning of the war; the point is that the German military as a whole did not collapse when it was no longer militarily possible to win the war, it kept fighting. And, as history showed, it doesn't take a lot of committed defenders to hold up an attack if the desire to press home the attack is not there, to say nothing of the counteroffensives they carried out, such as the Ardennes, Hungary, attempts to relieve Konigsberg, and a thousand local counterattacks.

Nothing super about it, just a study in contrasts based on historical records. The whole reason for my bringing it up in this thread was that it seems to me the majority of combat arms personnel in the Anglo-American sphere, from SHAEF on down to the lowliest Private, were focused more on surviving than spiritedly pressing home the attack and thus (at the strategic level) were happy to let the Soviets do the heavy lifting and (at the tactical level) were content to move up, draw fire, fall back to await the overwhelming application of firepower, then move back up and occupy the ravaged, but now abandoned, ground. I think when leadership is accusing you of a lack of aggressiveness, it's only natural that excuses like "the damn 88s" (which were probably Pak-40s or even -38s), "the damn Tigers" (which were probably Panzer IVs or Stug IIIs), and "the damn MG-42s" (it's just a machine gun) come out. I forget which American general officer calmly listened to the excuses before exploding on his subordinate after reading the casualty reports to learn that his regiment had suffered (only) approximately 40 combat casualties, but five times as many non-combat casualties (the bull being trench foot).

This not a moral judgement, I don't blame them. When it's September and all the talk is that the war will be over by Christmas, not too many reasonable folks want to stick their necks out, and I don't think it was always that way, I just think ‘victory disease' (or ‘short-timers disease' in modern parlance) set in after Market-Garden, while the Germans fought on, knowing they couldn't win nor even reach a settled peace (I have no allied answer to how that could have been better handled, unconditional surrender was the only option).

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 7:15 a.m. PST

Hmmm… It sounds like you have a pretty narrow definition of "the end." If they didn't fight until the ‘bitter end,' why was there fighting in Berlin in the first place?

'Berlin' was not the end nor was it where the majority of German division were. It seems some believe that Berlin was the last piece of Germany left and the brave fanatical Knights/Samurai/proto-NATO Army went down fighting under a horde of Soviet barbarians. Its all rubbish. There were over 100 active German Divisions in the field when the surrender was agreed and they all meekly laid down their arms whilst running at full speed westward to avoid Soviet retribution. .

Legion 423 Aug 2020 7:19 a.m. PST

A lot of great comments ! IMO … bottom line … on a tactical level if you were an Allied AFV crew, and ran into a Tiger I or II or even a few of them. Depending on the terrain & situation you may be in trouble/a world of hurt.

Of course to get there the Tigers had to not break down, get stuck, run out of fuel, be destroyed by CAS, etc., etc. And yes that could be said about any AFV in general. However as always the Allied numbers and logistics was telling in the long run …

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 7:21 a.m. PST

Are you really saying you've never heard of western Allied leaders commenting on their troops' lack of energy in the assault, or being a bit ‘sticky,' or the countless intelligence assessments aimed at ascertaining why the German military hadn't simply given up???

As I explained earlier the Germans did 'give up'. They surrendered after Hitler was dead. Millions of Germans surrendered and became POWs before that so it is complete fiction to claim the Germans fought to the last man and the last bullet.
I have seen many a quote by a commander criticising both their own soldiers and the enemy. One German Generals rant about the lack of fighting spirit of the German Paras in Normandy comes to mind. I bet you think they fought 'magnificently' so how do you explain that away?

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 8:57 a.m. PST

"I bet you think they fought 'magnificently' so how do you explain that away?"
WHAT??? You think that I think they fought magnificently??? You've completely lost the plot.

"…it is complete fiction to claim the Germans fought to the last man and the last bullet."
I agree. Did you just need me to say that explicitly, because it seems like you missed an entire paragraph of mine:
"I really can't fathom the concept of the ‘super soldiers' statement. It seems like you're saying two things can't be true at the same time; scores of Germans were surrendering and deserting, but it's also true that scores more continued fighting. There were Germans that surrendered or deserted from the very beginning of the war; the point is that the German military as a whole did not collapse when it was no longer militarily possible to win the war, it kept fighting. And, as history showed, it doesn't take a lot of committed defenders to hold up an attack if the desire to press home the attack is not there, to say nothing of the counteroffensives they carried out, such as the Ardennes, Hungary, attempts to relieve Konigsberg, and a thousand local counterattacks.

Nothing super about it, just a study in contrasts based on historical records."
I don't feel like I said anything remotely close to "they're super soldiers that fought to the last man and the last bullet."

Look, I don't mind if you disagree with my assessment that the Western Allies took their foot of the gas after Market-Garden, or that the German Army continued to fight long after military success was possible, or that western Allies used the idea of German 'super weapons' to excuse their lack of aggressiveness, but…

You seem to have some weird argument going on inside your own head, you're arguing with yourself, not me. To whit:

"…the brave fanatical Knights/Samurai/proto-NATO Army went down fighting…"
What in the hell are you talking about??? And who said anything remotely close to this? But please keep going, you seem to be on a roll, not quitting after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor and all that…

"As I explained earlier the Germans did 'give up'. They surrendered after Hitler was dead."
I am so confused… I'm not sure why I'm continuing this conversation, but I'm genuinely curious: do you believe the Germans could have won the war all the way up to, and even after, Hitler killed himself? Clue: any answer other than 'no' and you're agreeing with me.

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 9:04 a.m. PST

, or that western Allies used the idea of German 'super weapons' to excuse their lack of aggressiveness, but…

'Lack of aggressiveness'? They landed on June 6th and Germany surrendered 11 months later. The Allies were aggressive in spades.
I have no idea what the bollox about 'super-weapons' means.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 9:28 a.m. PST

"‘Lack of aggressiveness'? They landed on June 6th and Germany surrendered 11 months later. The Allies were aggressive in spades."
That statement demonstrates an astounding lack of scholarship and/or understanding of what happened during the final eleven months of the war.

"I have no idea what the bollox about 'super-weapons' means."
I'm sure you don't, but there's the rub: if you're going to debate someone, you have to actually read what they wrote, hence my allegations you've been arguing with yourself. It's there, above, in my posts, if you care to look.

And I can't help but notice you've backed away from your ‘super soldiers' nonsense, the ‘you think-I think-I believe they performed magnificently' silliness, and the logical fallacy in the "the Germans DID give up" statement. But thanks for playing.

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 9:56 a.m. PST

When it's September and all the talk is that the war will be over by Christmas, not too many reasonable folks want to stick their necks out, and I don't think it was always that way, I just think ‘victory disease' (or ‘short-timers disease' in modern parlance) set in after Market-Garden

Both US and British army KIA numbers peaked in early August and November 1944. Clearly they were still 'sticking their necks out' after Arnhem.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 10:05 a.m. PST

That statement demonstrates an astounding lack of scholarship and/or understanding of what happened during the final eleven months of the war.

It is you who does not realise the intensity of the fighting and rise in casualties as the Allies closed on Germany. For example 21 AG lost more KIA October 7-Nov 13 than they did in the peak month (July 7-August 7) of 'Normandy'. In direct contravention of your absurd claim the Allies 'held back' after Arnhem.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 10:12 a.m. PST

the point is that the German military as a whole did not collapse when it was no longer militarily possible to win the war, it kept fighting.

Yes it did. It started falling apart in June 1944 hence the infamous phone call where Rundstedt screamed 'make peace you fools' to the idiots back in Berlin. It collapsed when the panic-stricken Germans ran out of Normandy and fled home. There was a brief respite while the Allies consolidated and then resumed their planned advance. The Allied plan was so successful they reached the Rhine months ahead of their schedule and the expected June 1945 victory date was achieved a month earlier.

Starfury Rider23 Aug 2020 10:23 a.m. PST

Go on then, I'll ask – how is the 'commitment' of Western Allied forces (principally US, British and Canadian for sake of argument) assessed, and how is it judged to be measurably weaker/less than that of the German forces (who were ironically not always themselves German) facing them?

I have, to my honest regret, never had the memory than can keep track of all the many major battles that occurred in Northwest Europe/ETO in those 11 months. A very quick scoot through an old chronology of WW2 throws up some of these;

October 1944 – German make unsuccessful counter attack south of Arnhem. US First Army attacks Siegfried Line north of Aachen. US forces attack Metz. Allied forces cross Belgian-Dutch border near Antwerp; Canadians cross Leopold Canal. US Third Army attacks between Metz and Nancy. British capture Overloon. Beginning of German V-weapon strikes on Antwerp. US forces surround Aachen and go on to take the city. British and Canadians take Tilburg and Bergen-op-Zoom respectively.

November 1944 – Belgium liberated from Nazi forces. US First and Ninth Armies open offensive in Roer Plain. French armoured units reach upper Rhine. US troops capture Metz and Eschweiler; US and French troops enter Strasbourg. First Army (US?) captures Weisweiler.

December 1944 – US Third Army reaches Saar and bridge at Saarlautern. Br Second Army eliminates last German position west of the Mass. US advance hampered by flooding of plains SW of Arnhem. Third Army pierces Siegfried Line and take Fort Driant. US Seventh Army enters Alsace region.

16 December the German Army interrupt the flow, and I've got tea to get on so I can't try the same for 1945.

On the face of it though, I don't see the Western Allies as displaying an obvious 'non-commitment' to proceedings in the months that follow Arnhem. Where are you seeing it?

There's a whole subset of argument about the portrayal of the German Army in the last six or more months of the war that I believe 'mkenny' is referring to above. It is complex and involves subjects such as the attempt to decouple the Army from the Nazis and lauding them as simply defending their Homeland, despite them having been Bleeped texting up everyone else's for the preceding four years without remorse or regret.

Gary

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 10:58 a.m. PST

Damn man, you're just like the Germans, you won't quit! ;)

Alas, you can't have it both ways. You can't say the German military collapsed and ran away (quit?) AND casualties and the intensity of fighting went up for the Western Allies, that's obnoxious. And saying 'started falling apart,' despite the number of Anglo-American casualties over the next eleven months, is equally obnoxious.

US KIA numbers peaked in December of '44, with 15-some odd thousand, with a previous high in the 14 thousands in July '44, not sure what you're talking about.

"In direct contravention of your absurd claim the Allies 'held back' after Arnhem."
Nothing absurd about it. The Western Allies absolutely held back after Market-Garden, consistently ignoring the principles of maneuver warfare with the 'broad front' and 'pocket reduction' strategies, which consistently allowed the Germans (the ones that hadn't quit, of course) to re-form, re-equip, re-establish their defensive lines, and, in some cases, launch counteroffensives, content to go static/'straighten the lines' from October '44 to March '45 (fun fact: more casualties were sustained restoring the Bulge than stopping the German offensive; just imagine if the Western Allies had chosen to penetrate along each flank of the bulge, rather than line up at the edge of it and simply pushing it back!). You literally couldn't be more incorrect if your goal today was to make false statements on the internet.

"The Allied plan was so successful they reached the Rhine months ahead of their schedule and the expected June 1945 victory date was achieved a month earlier."
This is simply childish, and pretends WWII existed in an Anglo-Allied vacuum. Look, I have the utmost respect for the Western Allied soldiers that fought during WWII (which includes several of my family members) and what they accomplished, but your silly timetable remarks seems to ignore the "Red Steamroller" elephant in the room.

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:02 a.m. PST

US KIA numbers peaked in December of '44, with 15-some odd thousand, with a previous high in the 14 thousands in July '44, not sure what you're talking about.

Consult -BATTLE CASUALTIES OF U.S. ARMY IN EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS,
JUNE 1944-MAY 1945 and you might get a better insight.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:06 a.m. PST

"The Allied plan was so successful they reached the Rhine months ahead of their schedule and the expected June 1945 victory date was achieved a month earlier."
This is simply childish, and pretends WWII existed in an Anglo-Allied vacuum.

Its a mere illustration of how much easier it was to defeat the Germans than it was originally thought. The Allies set aside 12 months to conquer Germany and they did it in 11. How does that fit in with your fantasy world where any jaw-less Hans with an MG 42 can halt an entire timid Allied advance?

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:14 a.m. PST

"In direct contravention of your absurd claim the Allies 'held back' after Arnhem."
Nothing absurd about it. The Western Allies absolutely held back after Market-Garden, consistently ignoring the principles of maneuver warfare with the 'broad front' and 'pocket reduction' strategies, which consistently allowed the Germans (the ones that hadn't quit, of course) to re-form, re-equip, re-establish their defensive lines, and, in some cases, launch counteroffensives, content to go static/'straighten the lines' from October '44 to March '45 (fun fact: more casualties were sustained restoring the Bulge than stopping the German offensive; just imagine if the Western Allies had chosen to penetrate along each flank of the bulge, rather than line up at the edge of it and simply pushing it back!). You literally couldn't be more incorrect if your goal today was to make false statements on the internet.

So you are one of those experts who has worked out where Eisenhower got it wrong and you believe they should have done it your way instead. You are incapable of understanding the way it works in an Army where the boss does the thinking and 'you' do the dieing. You think following Allied orders to the letter is 'holding back' but any jaw-less Hans is a hero/superman because he followed his insane leaders 'fight to the last bullet' orders to the letter.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:22 a.m. PST

"In direct contravention of your absurd claim the Allies 'held back' after Arnhem."
The Western Allies absolutely held back after Market-Garden, consistently ignoring the principles of maneuver warfare…………

Ignorant, ill-informed and outdated. The reason the Allies had to stop was because they outran their supply lines. In 21 AG entire Infantry Divisions were grounded in Normandy so their trucks could be used to supply the mobile Units in the Low Countries. There simple was not enough fuel or ammo available to sustain an advance for anything more than a token force-hence the Generals all fighting among themselves to grab what was available. As you keep being told the Allied advance was so far in advance of its planning estimates that the supply lines could not keep up. The original plan was not to be this far forward until the bulk of the US Army was unloaded at the Atlantic ports. If you did some basic research of the pre D-Day objectives you might learn something.
Sample:

In procurement estimates of June 1944, designedly optimistic for purposes of planning, D plus 90 (4 September 1944) was set for reaching the Seine, D plus 200 (23 December 1944) the Belgian frontier, D plus 330 (2 May 1945) the German frontier north of Aachen, and D plus 360 (1 June 1945) the surrender.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:37 a.m. PST

Taking Paris before the schedule date cost the Allies the supply equivalent of 6 Divisions:

The city of Paris also had become an additional supply liability because of its liberation 55 days ahead of schedule

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 11:46 a.m. PST

There is no doubt that in the west, the German army retained complete psychological domination of the battlefield until 8 May 1945.

I must respectfully disagree. As the Germans fell back it was very demoralizing and in some cases a near rout. And there are a number of debriefs of Germany soldiers and officers who found the incredible amount of mechanization, supplies and ammunition expenditure the allies managed to be very demoralizing.

Yes the Germans had the Tiger, the MG42 and the 88. The allies had superb artillery with seemingly endless supplies of ammunition. Massive truck convoys, especially demoralizing when your own forces were still dependent to a good degree on horse drawn power. And if there was an aircraft around, and there were plenty, it was allied.

The Germans were falling back on and defending Germany which certainly helped stabilize the situation for the Germans but to say they had complete psychological domination is just not true.

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 11:55 a.m. PST

The Germans were falling back on and defending Germany which certainly helped stabilize the situation for the Germans but to say they had complete psychological domination is just not true.

When Rundstedt knows (in July 1944) you are beaten and tells the boss you are beaten and to seek terms and the boss sacks him then you know, know you really are beaten.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 12:53 p.m. PST

mkenny,

You are truly out of control.

"…your fantasy world where any jaw-less Hans with an MG 42 can halt an entire timid Allied advance?"

and

"You think following Allied orders to the letter is 'holding back' but any jaw-less Hans is a hero/superman because he followed his insane leaders 'fight to the last bullet' orders to the letter."
First, I said nothing of the sort and love the way you keep telling me what I think. I'm tired of being a part of your strange fetish about Nazi super soldiers.

"So you are one of those experts who has worked out where Eisenhower got it wrong and you believe they should have done it your way instead."
Sort of. Mistakes were made, opportunities were not seized upon, battles were fought which shouldn't have been, if one ascribes to the concepts of maneuver warfare, which I do.

"You are incapable of understanding the way it works in an Army where the boss does the thinking and 'you' do the dieing. "
Oh my goodness, this is rich. Please lay out here all your experience of the military, combat, and providing or carrying out orders which resulted in the death of comrades and/or subordinates (I'm assuming you didn't die in combat).

"Ignorant, ill-informed and outdated."

And

"Taking Paris before the schedule date cost the Allies the supply equivalent of 6 Divisions: The city of Paris also had become an additional supply liability because of its liberation 55 days ahead of schedule"
Yes, the precepts of maneuver warfare don't work, that's why every first world military on the planet has ascribed to them since WWII… The failures of supply you noted were not without solution, primarily in operational objectives, if there had existed the ability of Anglo-Allied leaders to act on 'mission-type orders' with initiative, such as the failure to take and open Antwerp while it was undefended.

And how many divisions did it cost to clear the Channel ports unnecessarily, or the Scheldte once it was defended, or the Colmar pocket, or Metz, or Hurtgen Forest, etc…, all of which should have been bypassed.

"When Rundstedt knows (in July 1944) you are beaten and tells the boss you are beaten and to seek terms and the boss sacks him then you know, know you really are beaten."
You've done it again; no one was arguing what Rundstedt (or anyone else) knew. YOU said the Germans collapsed and quit, and I simply pointed out your argument about the intensity of fighting and Allied casualties AFTER you're alleging the German military collapsed/quit.

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 1:16 p.m. PST

Gary,

"Go on then, I'll ask – how is the 'commitment' of Western Allied forces (principally US, British and Canadian for sake of argument) assessed, and how is it judged to be measurably weaker/less than that of the German forces (who were ironically not always themselves German) facing them?"
My opinion is broken into two pieces, the tactical and the operational. What I am arguing is that the war in Northwestern Europe could have been brought to a close much quicker, with deeper penetration into Germany, than it actually was. This is, of course, unprovable, and please note that I am not arguing:

-the Germans had super soldiers. But I do believe the German military (as a whole) did not quit the fight until Hitler was dead, which was almost a year after every rational human believed Germany would be militarily defeated.

-the Western Allies weren't trying to win. I do believe senior Western Allied leadership was content to not reach Berlin, knowing the Soviets would (which is entirely separate discussion).

-the Western Allies weren't sacrificing for the greater good. A great deal of Western Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen shed their blood in pursuit of ultimate victory, but I must point out that I believe a significant amount of that bloodshed didn't need to have occurred, IF certain decisions at the operational level were made differently.

At the tactical level, my opinion is based on commentary about Anglo-Allied combat arms personnel by their own leaders suggesting a lack of willingness to close with and destroy the enemy, the astounding number (and in some cases, the very nature) of non-battle casualties, and the battle reports describing a desire to dislodge the enemy via overwhelming firepower vice fire and maneuver.

At the operational level, my opinion is based on my understanding of the tenets of maneuver warfare and review of Anglo-Allied operational decisions that did not follow those tenets, the results of which were the failure to seize opportunities to penetrate to enemy rear areas, the failure to capitalize on opportunities to seize strategic decisions, and (most blatantly) the desire to liquidate enemy pockets that posed no threat to operations.

That is my opinion and that is why I hold it; I apologize for not going into further detail, but I've allowed myself to get bogged down in areas I shouldn't have. Oh, and…

"There's a whole subset of argument about the portrayal of the German Army in the last six or more months of the war that I believe 'mkenny' is referring to above. It is complex and involves subjects such as the attempt to decouple the Army from the Nazis and lauding them as simply defending their Homeland, despite them having been Bleeped texting up everyone else's for the preceding four years without remorse or regret."
Fair enough, but that's got nothing to do with me, and I really resent his insinuations.

V/R,
Jack

Blutarski23 Aug 2020 1:20 p.m. PST

When the Allied advanced into the German homeland (especially in the East) the motivation of German soldiers was transformed from fighting "Hitler's War" to defending their homes and families. The Soviets suffered heavy casualties in their final offensive to cross the Oder and finally take Berlin. In the West, IIRC, where German soldiers far preferred to surrender, Allied ETO casualties for 1945 actually surpassed those suffered during the 1944 campaign including Normandy, Huertgen Forest and the Bulge.

B

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 1:31 p.m. PST

Marc,

"I must respectfully disagree."
Fair enough, just giving my opinion.

"As the Germans fell back it was very demoralizing and in some cases a near rout. And there are a number of debriefs of Germany soldiers and officers who found the incredible amount of mechanization, supplies and ammunition expenditure the allies managed to be very demoralizing."
No doubt, and this led to quite a number of surrenders and desertions. BUT (in the context of the overall conversation), the German military kept fighting and making the Allies pay.

And regarding the statement "There is no doubt that in the west, the German army retained complete psychological domination of the battlefield until 8 May 1945." I could be wrong, but I think both statements are true; I think the Germans were demoralized AND the Western Allies were too, and the 'psychological dominance' refers to the Western Allied infatuation with the German 88s, MG-42s, and Tigers, when, in all actuality, most soldiers never even actually dealt with an 88 or a Tiger, but I guess it was sounds better than getting chewed up by 'regular old' mortars and artillery, which is what most of them actually succumbed to.

"The Germans were falling back on and defending Germany which certainly helped stabilize the situation for the Germans…"
This is where we get to the commentary on maneuver warfare, and the idea that if the tempo of operations was kept up, in the right areas, the German forces in the West would have perhaps actually collapsed and ceased to exist as an effective fighting force much earlier than the death of Hitler.

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2020 1:46 p.m. PST

Blutarski,

"When the Allied advanced into the German homeland (especially in the East) the motivation of German soldiers was transformed from fighting "Hitler's War" to defending their homes and families."
I agree wholeheartedly. This is part of why I don't understand why the German military didn't quit though; they knew domination by the Soviets was literally apocalyptic, so, at the operational level, why not move all fighting formations east and let the Anglo-Allied forces roll up as much of Germany as they were willing?

Or, a the individual level, why didn't a significant amount of German soldiers say 'to hell with this' and desert to save their families? I mean, I'm a German soldier in Poland and I have (belatedly) realized the war is lost and now the Red horde is coming to rape and pillage. I'm getting out of here, going to find my family and run west, praying I can get to the Anglo-Allied lines without being shot as a deserter or killed by Allied aircraft.

Yes, I understand the threat, but does anyone really believe that "okay, I'll sit here and die in Silesia and hope my wife and kids somehow fare better without me" actually better?

How did whole units not actually rise up and fight their way through (against other German units) to get to their homes, collect their families, and do what they could to safeguard them? That is what is incredible to me; by all accounts the individual soldiers on the Eastern Front know they're beat and are pretty much resigned to die, even writing in their diaries "I hope mum and sis are somehow okay," but I can't find any stories of German soldiers deserting and going to find their family and get them west. I'm sure it happened, but I haven't seen it and, more importantly, how did it not happen on a massive scale?

"The Soviets suffered heavy casualties in their final offensive to cross the Oder and finally take Berlin."
I think I read that just getting over the Vistula, Zhukov and Konev's armies suffered the same amount of casualties in that three month period as the Anglo-Allies suffered during the entire NW Europe campaign.

V/R,
Jack

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 1:49 p.m. PST

such as the failure to take and open Antwerp while it was undefended.

And how many divisions did it cost to clear the Channel ports unnecessarily, or the Scheldte once it was defended, or the Colmar pocket, or Metz, or Hurtgen Forest, etc…, all of which should have been bypassed.

In short you think the Allies got it wrong and if you had been in charge the war would have been over by Xmas 1944-where have I heard that before?


What I am arguing is that the war in Northwestern Europe could have been brought to a close much quicker, with deeper penetration into Germany, than it actually was.

The old, old, old Broad Front v Single Thrust argument. Settled in 1944 and done to death in countless post-war memoirs of bickering Generals. Where you go off the rails is when you falsely claim that Allied soldiers became 'timid' after Arnhem. A completely bogus claim without a shred of evidence to support it

You posted some US Casualty numbers earlier and claimed they were correct and the totals I gave were wrong. I gave you my source so please can we see your source?

Blutarski23 Aug 2020 1:59 p.m. PST

As can be seen on the following message the uninterrupted flow of M4 tanks-any type of M4 tank-took precedence over 76mm-90mm arguments.

- – -

This is a rather unpleasant misrepresentation of what Eisenhower actually wrote.

Allow me to translate. Eisenhower's missive is dated Jan 1945, immediately after the Bulge, during which the US suffered heavy tank losses. -

Eisenhower's First Statement of Priority -
"Combat experience to date dictates a further change in medium tank armament for 1945 ….. A ratio of four 90mm gun tanks to one 105mm howitzer tank is our present requirement.

Eisenhower's Second Statement of Priority -
"It is understood that M-4 series tanks must be substituted in part for T-26 medium tanks. A maximum of 76mm gun tanks is desired in the M-4 substitutes.

Eisenhower's Closing Remark -
Of paramount importance is the uninterrupted flow of the maximum number of medium tanks to this Theater.

- – -

Eisenhower only indirectly implied that tanks with a weaker gun armament (75mm) would be acceptable as a last resort in order to make up the numbers required. 75mm M-4 production had been greatly wound down by mid-1944 and Eisenhower had already made it clear in writing as early as the Normandy campaign that, under normal circumstances, he wanted no more 75mm M-4s shipped to the ETO.


B

mkenny In the TMP Dawghouse23 Aug 2020 2:03 p.m. PST

they knew domination by the Soviets was literally apocalyptic,

Or more correctly they realised the horrors they visited on the Soviet civilians was going to be repaid in kind. Justice was waiting in the wings and the criminals knew full well what was going to happen to them..

Blutarski23 Aug 2020 2:08 p.m. PST

Every German is a war criminal in mkenny's eyes.

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