WWII 1943 Platoon vs. Current 2003 Platoon


Pages : [1] 2

February 15, 2003, 01:08 AM
WWII sparked a nationalist trend of patriotic and military support like never before. The terrorist events of 9/11 ressurected that same type of support and enthusiasm.

Say a platoon or group of well armed WWII US soldiers faced off against a platoon or group of modern US soldiers (both containing identical number of troops) and both groups being equiped with their respective weapons.

What do you think the outcome of the fight would be?
1: In a place like Afganistan?
2: A place like a southeast Asian jungle?
3: Or an urban city type enviorment?

WWII troops would be armed with an assortment of M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, BARs, .45 cal pistols, gernade launchers and bazookas of their time.

The modern Soldiers would be armed with M4s, M16A2s, SAWs, 9mm pistols, and the modern 203 gernade launchers and RPGs.

Who do you think has the upperhand in each of these situations and why?

I have heard reports of US soldiers in the early 80's confronting Communist rebels equiped with old M1s and BARs and being outgunned by the old vintage weapons!

If you enjoyed reading about "WWII 1943 Platoon vs. Current 2003 Platoon" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
February 15, 2003, 01:20 AM
Ask Custer.

February 15, 2003, 02:16 AM
In all 3 situations I'd give the upper hand to the WW2 guys. The weapons used dont mean crap its the guys behind them and I think the the guys back during the WW era had a better mindset.

February 15, 2003, 02:27 AM
Yes, that is a major factor. The troops of WWII had a motivational factor like never before or since....Esp. if General Patton was commanding! :eek:

February 15, 2003, 02:30 AM
US forces don't use RPGs.

We did have a nice, light rocket launcher; the M72 LAW. They replaced it with the AT-4, which is apparently more poweful. The tradeoff is it's twice as long, doesn't collapse for convenient carry, and weighs three times as much.

At any rate, the weapons don't make that much of a difference, it's the people using them.

That said, being armed with .30-06s, the WWII guys would have a big advantage in an Afghanistan type place.

The modern guys would have more ammunition on hand, but that's about their only real advantage. Either side could call in artillery, though modern artillery is more accurate.

Either side could call in air support. I don't think I'd want to be attacked by a P-47 any more than I'd want to be attacked by an A-10.

February 15, 2003, 02:37 AM
No Artillery or air support in this scinario, this is purely Infantry based! Who had the superior infantry?

February 15, 2003, 02:58 AM
"The troops of WWII had a motivational factor like never before or since"

What motivation ? In this senario they are attacking another platoon of American GIs.

February 15, 2003, 03:05 AM
What motivation ? In this senario they are attacking another platoon of American GIs.

Uuummmmm, errrrrrrrrrr, for all they know it's a secret high tech commie trick!

February 15, 2003, 03:25 AM
I'd have to say the modern guys would come out on top. They have the same advantage we have over most of the world, our night vision devices and our ability to fight a night.

February 15, 2003, 03:25 AM
I know this is supposed to be about the guns but it sounds like some folks are thinking of our current crop of soldiers as a bunch of scared kids who would not have clue what to do in a real firefight.

Remember what happend when our troops fought the "battle hardned Iraq's" a few years back?

How about when our "inexperinced boys" who were massivly outnumbered put down an approximate 120-1 KIA ratio with thier hands tied behind their backs in Somalia?

What about our recent incursion into Afghanistan against those folks who were "Raised on war" and understood "moutain fighting and guerilla warfare" as our volunteer force never could?

I take our current crop 3 for 3 in this contest. It's not about the guns though. It's about the fact that the current crop of soldiers recieved the training of the lessons learned by our brave men who not only fought in WWII, but also the lessons learned in Korea, Vietnam and dozens of other smaller confrontations.

Best, Blueduck

February 15, 2003, 03:59 AM
With all due respect, the modern platoon would handily destroy its antiquated cousin. The technologial advantage is overwhelming.

Night combat has been revolutionized by night vision systems. We have digital communications to the extent that field officers will be able to issue orders immediately to all troops via personal headsets.

Modern troops use GPS satellites for mapping and navigation.

Modern optics are far more clear than what was available in WWII and has night vision capability, both for spotting the enemy and for use as rifle scopes.

The modern platoon can carry far more light 5.56 rounds than the old platoons heavy .30-06.

Modern medics have far better resources to keep fighting men in fighting condition rather than in sick call.

I have to believe modern clothing and supply depot are far more effective against such WWII maladies as trench foot and frostbite.

This wasn't the intent of your question, but that modern infantry platoon is much more likely to be motorized and therefore highly mobile than it's antiquated cousin.

Moving further from your intent, the ability of modern soldiers to direct accurate artillery fire and close air support is light-years ahead of their WWII counterparts.

Their is no comparison. The M1 may be a better battle rifle than the M16. That aside, a modern platoon would quickly decimate one equipped with 1940's technology. Think about it.

February 15, 2003, 04:13 AM
Okay, where to begin. The poster was talking about a firefight between platoons, not an extended campaign.

-The night vision advantage is only an advantage if the engagement is at night.

-Optics aren't always standard issue, either. Some units get them, but the majority of troops are still using iron sights.

-Modern troops can use GPS. It doesn't mean everybody has it, (my unit sure as heck doesn't, unless the guys bring their own) and it isn't going to help you in a firefight.

-Personal headsets are anything but standard issue yet. Rangers and specops might get them, but the rest of us still have the guy with the radio. Besides, it's going to be hard to hear your headset anyway when your ears are ringing from gunfire. The only field officer in the platoon is going to be the Lieutenant (platoon leader). In most cases, even in the modern Army, he's going to be commanding his troops by shouting orders and hand signals.

-More rounds is only an advantage if you need to fire more shots. If you hit the first time, you probably won't need a second shot. Still, the modern platoon can lay down a heavier volume of fire with their SAWs, but again, the 1943 platoon will have the range advantage.

-Medics are typically a company asset, not a platoon one. In other words, each platoon doesn't have its own medic, as a rule.

-The fact that your foot powder is better isn't going to help you in a firefight. Modern issue boots are still made out of leather, and you can still get trenchfoot if you don't change your socks. Modern BDUs and equipment still give you rashes if they rub and you sweat alot.

-Modern soldiers are by NO means "more likely" to be "motorized". We have mech battalions and we have light battalions. Mech guys ride in Bradleys and 113s. Light guys (like rangers and airborne) WALK.

In other words, the modern Army would be able to defeat the 1943 Army, all other things being equal.

But two platoons, engaged against each other, without benefit of the rest of their respective forces, are going to be more evenly matched. Twenty guys versus twenty guys; it'll come down to which group is the better shot, is better at squad level manuvers, and has the best training and skill. Technology does not always mean victory. Never underestimate skill and motivation.

Jim March
February 15, 2003, 04:29 AM
What happens when we pit some sort of modern "special forces" (SEAL team, Green Berets, ???) versus whoever were the "elite foot soldiers" of WW2 (airborne?)?

Methinks the modern dudes will eat 'em alive and start munchin' on their buddies. 'Specially when the lights go out.

February 15, 2003, 04:30 AM
My mom can beat up you mom


February 15, 2003, 04:35 AM
As nightcrawler said, all things being equal, I would still pick the 1943 guys as victors. We can talk about technology til we are blue in the face but.....

Imagine if the guys back in 43 had our technology...

I got out of the Marine Corps 3 years ago and trained with some outstanding men (3 combat ready units, 2 "noncombatant" units). we are trained decently, but If we had the mentality of the guys back in the old days (not just the WW's but korea and vietnam), we wouldnt have to rely on technology to win a war.

Anybody can pick up a rifle or NV, are they ready and trained to use it? I'm not talking specops either, just the typical soldier, Marine, sailor and airman. hmmmmm......

February 15, 2003, 04:38 AM
watch out my mom is a big woman:D

February 15, 2003, 04:42 AM
lets talk about special forces, intel and technology. We've been fighting guys who live in caves for the last year+ and still cant get the sonsofbitches. I'm not saying that the folks from WW2 could better, but do you see a problem here?

mons meg
February 15, 2003, 11:18 AM
I still don't understand all this talk about the previous generation had a better "mentality" or mindset. Why? Because the fate of the world rested on their shoulders? And our Soldiers and Marines aren't motivated because...oh yeah, their enemy attacks civilians on purpose.

I think you have to take historical events out of it if you want this simulation to work. That being said, the modern platoon wins. Extra range on the M1? Whoopee. Can you see your target that well past 300m without a scope? Be honest. :)

February 15, 2003, 11:58 AM
...Because the fate of the world rested on their shoulders...

You mean it doesn't now?

As in, it doesn't really matter to the state of the world and the future whether Saddam stays in power, eventually with nukes?

It doesn't matter that whole generations are raised in ignorance, their only education being centered around a perverse interpretation of a religion, whose centerpiece is killing infidels and Americans?

It doesn't matter that women are treated as second or third rate citizens, kept barefoot, pregnant, and circumcised?

It doesn't matter that a whole region teeters on the brink of being a nightmare of a theocratic police state?

If that where true, I'd say lets stay home, and do BBQ and football, or the local equivalent, which is what most humans really want to be doing in the first place.

No, we're doing this, because it needs doing, and it's important to the future of us all.

The men and women of the "greatest generation" where heroes, and a reminder of our both our potential and our nobility.

We, however, DO MEASURE UP. We are not the group of craven weenies that we are sometimes made out to be.

American's have always been reluctant warriors, and always will be. It's our nature. We'd rather BBQ and toss the pigskin, and argue and bicker among ourselves, UNTIL it's time to roll.

Our enemies have always looked to our "soft" ways, our apparent disunity as evidence of weakness, and moral malaise.

And every time, we snap together, strap on our armor, and show them otherwise.

February 15, 2003, 02:52 PM
Say what you will, I don't think the weapons of today can stand up with classics like the M1 or BAR, esp at the longer ranges.

February 15, 2003, 03:13 PM
This question is somewhat interesting, but it is so open ended that there is no way to answer it. Are we talking about green recruits ? Actually this can't be the case because there will be NCOs and Officers that have some time in. Are we talking straight leg infantry, Rangers or what ? It seems to me that probably a lager percentage of GIs in today's Army have combat experience of some degree or another. We are involved in police actions and UN missions all over the world today which involve being shot at. Also today, we have an all volunteer military. Most of these guys want to be there, they are not draftees. Then there is the idea that men back then were really men and today we are a bunch of sissies. I don't buy that for a minute. Then there is the idea that everybody back then was a gun owner and shooter before entering the service. I dont' have any facts on this but I am sure that a very large percentage of those guys back then came from major cities and had never fired a gun in their lives. Another factor to consider is that many of the guys deploying right now have been in for at least a couple years. Most of the guys deploying in WWII had just finished basic and AIT (whatever they called it then) and often times the NCOs were just other guys that had the same amount of time as everybody else but showed leadership potential.
One thing about weapons that has always stuck in my craw. We all like to talk about how the M1 or the M14 or the BAR is a better long range weapon than the M16. But this assumes we can actually hit someone at "long range". Do yourself a favor, buy some kind of silhouette target and place it at 500 yards and shoot at it from a field position like prone. See how you do. Then imagine that an enemy soldier probably is going to blend in to the back ground better than a target. Also factor in the fact that you won't know ahead of time where the target is. Then factor in the possibility that he or his buddies are shooting back at you or will shoot back at you after you fire. Then keep in mind that the guy won't just stand still waiting for you to shoot; true you might catch a guy in the open totally unaware of your presence but probably not. Also factor in that odds are you will not be able to see his whole body, more than likely it will only be a head poking up from a foxhole or possibly a firing port in a bunker. Also keep in mind that in combat you won't know the exact range of the target, you will be estimating. Now most of us on this board are experienced shooters. I am sure that a lot of us would find a drill like this challenging. Now how about a raw recruit, or for that matter anybody whose only firearms experience was the little bit of time spent on a military range in training. Then get back to me about all this long range shooting.

February 15, 2003, 04:07 PM
The WWII American Combat soldier had a great deal in common with the French soldier of the 19th century. They had a great deal of e'lan (highly motivated to the extreme) but they lost because they chose to ignore advances in technology. Our modern day soldiers (volunteers) are pretty much as motivated as our WW2 soldiers but are much better educated, trained, and have better weapons and carry more ammo (Much like the early WW2 German soldier when compared to his rivals). If warfare had not gotten more complex and deadly at the squad level (and other levels) then you might have a point. All the stats give a thumbs-up to the present day American soldier, its not even close!

J Miller
February 15, 2003, 04:20 PM
Say a platoon or group of well armed WWII US soldiers faced off against a platoon or group of modern US soldiers (both containing identical number of troops) and both groups being equiped with their respective weapons.

The modern soldiers would whip the WWII's soldiers in about 5 minutes...........................................For crying out loud the WWII soldiers are in their 80's now.

2nd Amendment
February 15, 2003, 04:22 PM
I'd have to disagree across the board, telewinz. Our soldiers today are for the most part graduates of the most mediocre educational systems we have ever offered. They did not grow up shooting and have less over all weapons familiarity than their WWII predecessors. The average grunt has less training in some regards and the weapons are not necessarily better, merely different and with different specific capabilities.

We are a softer nation and we have softer troops. Examples of our recent *** kicking endeavors are examples of push button war against poorly trained and unmotivated forces. In a one on one situation I doubt either platoon would come out alive but I'd give the nod towards the WWII crew based on better marksmanship and longer range ability.

February 15, 2003, 04:57 PM
It seems to me that probably a lager percentage of GIs in today's Army have combat experience of some degree or another.

Not according to the Army and the word that's going around the service.

Many deployments today, yes. Most are peacekeeping or nationbuilding exercises. I have a buddy of mine that did guard duty in Kuwait; wasn't even issued ammunition. Word is from guys I know that have been in Bosnia and other places it was much the same thing. A few incidents here and there, but little of anything that could be described as "combat".

Wheras the US Army by, say, 1945 had a large number of combat veterans.

In fact, one of the problems I've heard discussed with modern military is the lack of combat experienced leadership. We have, for the most part, good training, but nothing simulates the real thing.

The USMC trains its troops to shoot out to 500 meters with the M16A2, from what I'm told. With irons. Tell THEM about how pointless long range shooting is. The idea that since long ranged shooting is less likely has been used as an excuse by the Army to reduce its marksmanship training drastically over the past few decades. If a soldier NEEDS to make a 400, 500 meter shot, and he can't, because he wasn't trained, then HIS TRAINING HAS LET HIM DOWN, and that could get him killed. There's no excuse for that. If hitting a man sized target at 500 meters is doable with the M16, then our troops should be training for it. They should be able to make the most of their weapons.

That said, an M1 Garand is going to have a lot more energy at 500 yards than an M16.

The fact is, the majority of engagements in, say, Vietnam, took place at less than 100 yards. Should we based on that start issuing our infantry FN P90s? Why not? They carry a lot of ammo (four mags and you've got 200 rounds!), they're light, handy, and easy to tote. They'll penetrate armor out to like 200 meters. They'd probably work well enough in a jungle environment. And besides, with all of the air support and artillery today, you don't see much in the way of large scale infantry battles. They just get on the radio and call in artillery.

Until, of course, the troops came to a, you know, field, and there was an enemy position visible four hundred and fifty, or five hundred meters away. The enemy could have a .50 caliber machine gun that could easily reach that far. But our troops with P90s couldn't fight back, because their equipment and training is based soley around the "all engagements are short range" doctrine. See the problem? Oh, artillery and air support aren't always going to be there.

See, whatever weapons our troops are issued, they should be trained to maximize the usage of them. The troops should be able to hit a man sized target with their M16s out to the edge of its effective range and beyond, because odds are, the poorly trained Terrorist rabble spraying his AK-47 sideways (ala that one Al Queda training video) isn't going to be able to hit squat at that range.

February 15, 2003, 05:24 PM
The first part of your post brings us back to the first part of my post. Are we talking about a seasoned line platoon that fought it's way from Normandy to Berlin or are we talking about a group of WWII GIs on their first deployment ? Obviously a platoon where a fair number of guys have been in a couple years of continuous combat are going to better a bunch of green recruits. Then we get into the peacekeeping missions. What units are we talking about ? If we are talking Rangers or Special Forces the odds are much greater that they have seen some combat than it would be for an activated National Guard platoon. The point I was making is that most of the guys in WWII were draftees. They went from basic/AIT (again, whatever they called it then) to combat. Many of the guys being deployed to Afganistan or Iraq will have a couple years in before they go. They very well also might have been deployed in the past overseas. We all have our own stories. Your buddies stood guard duty with no ammo. I work with a guy that spent 10 years as a Ranger and has been fired upon and fired back in several different countries within the last 10-12 years.

It is true that a lot, if not the majority of infantry combat takes place at relatively short range, so why would we issue rifles that are more suitable for long range ? I would rather have a weapon that is excellent for the vast majority of it's tasks and can also perfrom at a longer range if you have the skill to employ it. Would I rather have an M4 for city fighting than I would an M1, yes. Would I rather have an M4 for jungle fighting, yes. Would I rather have an M4 than an M1 carbine, a Thompson, or an M3 ? Yes.

You answered your own question about the field with a heavy machine gun on the other side. You certainly can engage him with an M16 from 500 yards, and have just as good a chance of hitting him as you would with an M1. Or you could engage him with your own machine guns, or your own M203s or your own AT4s. And, you can call in mortor fire, atrilliary fire, heilocopters, A10s, whatever, or you could simply flank his position and not go head to head against superior firepower.

I have no idea why you think that our troops arn't trained to engage the enemy out to the effective range of the weapon. I don't know about Marine Corp. rifle training, although I have asked some former Marines about it. When I was in Army basic training we shot at silhouette targets out to 300 meters. The rifles issued today have better sights on them for longer range shooting (M16A2). Shooting at 500 meters is no different than shooting at 300 meters other than the sight setting. Of course the wind is more of a factor, but doping wind while being fired upon by a heavy machine gun is certainly over the top.

February 15, 2003, 05:27 PM
There never was an army like our Army today. These guys training is far beyond anything anybody would have concieved of.They aren't wearing 'flak jackets' of vietnam era either! Just as a SMALL detail of enormous reasons why todays Army is so much superior(like todays atheletes have so much superior performance) is the fact that troops do not deploy on enemy positions from helicopters! We learned in mid 70's that on a modern battlefield that doesn't work! We now deploy under armor on high speed vehicles to get close to enemy. Far fewer casualties and these are WINNING tactics. Don't underestimate the M-16 to 600 meters it isnt a AK-47. Our guys are trained and conditioned and trained and conditioned again and again. They do what Patton said to do"make the enemy die for his country":)

February 15, 2003, 05:39 PM
Wheras the US Army by, say, 1945 had a large number of combat veterans.

This may be true but the original post said a platoon from 1943. In 1943 we didn't have too many combat vets. We had only been in North Africa and Italy, I think, by then. In Europe, at least. I've never really read about the Pacific campaign.

Everybody is talking about how these guys would be shooting at long range, over some field. Sounds like WWI with guys taking potshots from the trenches. I don't think that would happen.

Modern troops can use GPS. It doesn't mean everybody has it, (my unit sure as heck doesn't, unless the guys bring their own) and it isn't going to help you in a firefight.

Every active duty unit has PLGR's or other GPS devices. The idea isn't to use them in the firefight but use them to maneuver. Which is a good way to possibly get around the old timers.

The night vision advantage is only an advantage if the engagement is at night.

If it were my platoon, I'd wait until dark. If the other guys want to engage then they'll just have to move out across this field everyone keeps talking about...in daylight, making them perfect targets for 240's, SAW's, and 203's.

So, I'd still say the modern guys would win.

February 15, 2003, 05:41 PM
The idea that the training during WWII is somehow superior to the training of today is ridiculous. These guys training was made as brief as possible; there was a war on and a drastic need for as many bodies as they could get into the field. That isn't the case today.

February 15, 2003, 05:54 PM
To answer your question, 444, the scenario assumes an equal level of combat experience (whether it be none or a lot). If you believe that having both troops seasoned or unseasoned would shift the odds to a particular side than feel free to state so and why.

February 15, 2003, 05:58 PM
have no idea why you think that our troops arn't trained to engage the enemy out to the effective range of the weapon.

Because hitting the 300m range once a year isn't exactly quality rifle training. That's what we get. But, that's the reserve component. They tell us that if we're activated we'll be sent someplace for emergency trainup before being sent into combat. That hasn't been the case for a lot of reserve units that have been called up so far, from what my friends in the service are telling me.

Fortunately, most of the front line guys get a lot more than that. Still, I've no doubt that the Marines take their riflecraft much more seriously. Their basic, minimum requirement rifle standards are quite a bit more challenging than the Army's. When I was in basic, I got exactly two weeks of rifle training. They could've gotten rid of parade field marching that we did for one week and a few of the silly Army Values classes we had and given us more range time. I was never even taught the Four Rules; I didn't learn about Rule Three until after I got home from basic. I consider than inadequate introductory rifle training, frankly.

Some Army Basic Training these days has things like stress cards. Drill Sergeant down on you too much? Pull out the stress card. My battalion didn't have it, but I know guys who did. I kind of doubt they had nonsense like that in 1942.

So, it'd be safer to say that today's BASIC training has been dumbed down too much, whereas today's training exercises and available training resources are better than ever. Still, there is no replacement for experience.

I'd rather have an M16 than an M4, in any scenario you named. I don't see the advantage in having 6" less barrel and the associated muzzle velocity loss, especially with the 5.56mm round, which is very velocity dependent for optimum performance.

I'd rather have a FAL than an M16. I like the weapon better and it packs more punch at any range. If the quarters are really tight, then give me a FAL carbine. Why? Because I prefer it. Again, that's just me. Wouldn't necessarily make it the standard arm.

Then again, I wouldn't think that a group of soldiers armed with FALs are going to be at some kind of disadvantage when faced with soldiers with M4s. Neither are soldiers armed with M1s, all other things (night vision, available support units, etc.) being equal.

So if I were in charge, I'd offer a compromise. I'd go with the Designated Marksman, but different than how the Marines are doing it. It'd be a squad-level position, with the soldier equipped with a semiautomatic, .308 rifle with appropriate quick-detach optics. Not as well trained as a scout/sniper, but better trained than the aveage rifleman. There'd be one in every infantry squad in the Army.

I mean, is there any particular reason we need to have one specific standard longarm and make compromises all around? Is there any reason our troops shouldn't have available M14 type rifles when the situation warrants, and whatever shortened M16 type they think is best for whatever situation those are preferred in? Seems to me that'd be defense dollars better spent than on new berets or golf courses on Andrews AFB.

Every active duty unit has PLGR's or other GPS devices. The idea isn't to use them in the firefight but use them to maneuver. Which is a good way to possibly get around the old timers.

Like I said. Once you're already in a firefight, which the poster was referring to, the GPS isn't going to help. I didn't say it was never helpful.

February 15, 2003, 06:07 PM
But to answer the original question, of course today's troops are going to have a SIGNIFICANT technological advantage over anything from the 40s. The range advantage of the .30-06 round, in realistic combat ranges (600m and in), has more to do with energy on target. 5.56mm is pretty anemic at 500 yards. It's an advantage for the .30-06 round, undoubetedly. Probably not a huge one, but there it is. Every little bit helps, especially if your opponent has technology from 60 years in the future.

On the other hand, the World War Two infantry wasn't exactly pushovers. I'm more than confident that they'd give today's troops a good fight, even if they were at such a disadvantage. Like I said, NEVER, EVER underestimate motivation and skill.

And that's all I have to say about that. :cool:

February 15, 2003, 06:34 PM
I agree that the rifle training in basic isn't going to make anyone a chamionship caliber marksman. But after basic, depending on what your MOS is, you receive additonal training. If your MOS is a truck driver, or cook, odds are you will only do an annual quailification. If you are infantry, you will fire much more often. Surely you can't compare the training received in the National Guard with that of an active duty infantry unit ? I was in the National Guard of two different states. In the first unit I was in we were an Air Defense unit and most of our training was focused on that. We live fired a couple times a year; we had our annual qualification and we usually fired during our two week AT. In the second unit I was in I was a member of an Armored Cav unit, specifically I was in the Scout Platoon which was sort of like being in mechanized infantry. We live fired weapons almost every month. M16s, M60s, 1911s, and sub-caliber LAWS. Other months we called fire missions for the mortor platoon, usually LUME rounds to illuminate targets for the tanks at night. So my platoon wasn't actually doing any firing, but everyone else in the unit was. But I still wouldn't compare this level of training to that of an active duty platoon.

February 15, 2003, 06:37 PM
Ask the taliban

February 15, 2003, 07:28 PM
Well heck, I'm a combat engineer, 444. We do infantry stuff plus obstacle planting/breaching in our typical training.

Unfortunately, we don't have regular access to a real range, so our rifle training leaves something to be desired. I've contemplated getting an AR-15 again, just for the sake of staying proficient with my issue rifle.

I might drop the money on one if I could find an AR-15 that closely mimiced an M16A1 or A2. :banghead:

February 15, 2003, 07:48 PM
What about Grayling ?

February 15, 2003, 08:07 PM
You know as whole this reminds me of guys who argue sports legends versus modern day athletes. Jordon vs. Russell, Babe Ruth vs. Barry Bonds, Ali vs. Jack Dempsey...

But here's something to think about. People are only able to have these arguements about sports where there are no quantifiable measure of exactly how good someone is/was. By that I mean no one argues who could run faster Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens (Owens times would barely make the current womens team much less the mens). When you can actually measure preformance against a static benchmark throught history you'll see the curve go nowwhere but up.

February 15, 2003, 10:05 PM
We may know more about how best to train troops today than we did 50 years ago, but I don't think that's all that important. From all I've read, I get the impression that it's the combat experience, not the introductory training, that makes quality troops.

As for weaponry, there are only a couple important issues.
Does the gun go bang when you pull the trigger?
M1: Yep
M16: Yep

Does it fire a bullet that will kill an enemy soldier?
M1: Yep
M16: Yep, though it might take more bullets

Does the gun put the bullet where it's aimed?
M1: Yep
M16: Yep

The only technological development that would make a serious difference between the two eras is night vision. Every other difference is minor when compared to the combat experience of the units in question. Pit a modern platoon fresh from boot camp against a WWII platoon that just helped capture Palermo, and the modern guys are going to be obliterated.

It's about the soldier, not the gear.

Sean Smith
February 15, 2003, 11:09 PM
Kind of a silly question, but here goes:

1: In a place like Afganistan?
This would be the closest one in terms of equipment, because .30-06 is better at range than 5.56. Edge goes to modern U.S. troops because they have more (and better) machine guns, along with real grenade launchers.
2: A place like a southeast Asian jungle.
Modern kicks butt. Long-range advantage of .30-06 Garands is totally negated, and the much greater volume of fire put down by the assault rifles, grenade launchers and superior (and more numerous) machine guns wins out.
3: Or an urban city type enviorment?
See #2, for pretty much the same reasons.

WWII troops would be armed with an assortment of M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, BARs, .45 cal pistols, gernade launchers and bazookas of their time.

They didn't have grenade launchers in 1943.

The modern Soldiers would be armed with M4s, M16A2s, SAWs, 9mm pistols, and the modern 203 gernade launchers and RPGs.

Modern troops wouldn't have RPGs, they'd have AT-4s or something similar. The platoon would also have a couple of M240 7.62mm machine guns.

Who do you think has the upperhand in each of these situations and why?

See above. Between the M203s, M240 machine guns and M249 SAWs, the old platoon would be seriously outclassed in terms of overall firepower at all distances. Most infantry firepower most of the time comes from machine guns, not rifles. The only advantage of the older troops would be greater cartridge power, assuming of course their 500 yard + marksmanship was as good as nostalgia makes people think (hint: it wasn't). More and better machine guns are probably the biggest modern advantage.

I have heard reports of US soldiers in the early 80's confronting Communist rebels equiped with old M1s and BARs and being outgunned by the old vintage weapons!

Pure B.S.. I dare you to cite a source for that that isn't a complete joke. For one thing, what communist rebels did the U.S. even fight in the 1980's?

Sean Smith
February 15, 2003, 11:16 PM
And I find the regular bashing of the modern armed forces on this forum, with the implication that the volunteer military is full of sissies, kind of disturbing. Seems to be a recurring theme on these boards. :barf:

Here's a thought: read up on some history and get a clue. Start with Somalia... that was a real push-button Gen-X cakewalk. :rolleyes:

February 15, 2003, 11:26 PM
Unfortunately, we don't have regular access to a real range, so our rifle training leaves something to be desired.

Actually that is like REAL COMBAT!

No range markers, and 200 meters isn't 200 meters, it's "that A-hole behind that car!"

Sort of like how when hunting, the deer NEVER stands sideways at 100 yards.


February 15, 2003, 11:56 PM
"They didn't have grenade launchers in 1943"

Yes they did have gernade launchers which could attach to their M1s.

Jeff White
February 16, 2003, 12:04 AM
The modern soldiers would win hands down. If we equipped both sides equally it wouldn't matter.

Our soldiers today are in better physical condition and are more educated then the WWII GI.

I am also getting tired of the continual bashing of the modern soldier. I've had a lot of those conversations with myself in 28 years in Army combat arms. I have read a lot of history and wondered if our soldiers could face up to the hardships of the past. I have come to the conclusion that for the most part they will step up to the challenge and succeed. Sure some will drop out and quit. But many quit in WWII and in the wars before that.

I think that we are too hardware oriented here and on the other forums. Hardware is great..but if you know how to use the tools you have, all of their capabilities and limitations, you can easily defeat people with superior tools.

Intellignece, mindset and perseverance wins wars. Our soldiers of today are trained to fight a much more independent war then their WWII counterparts. There is no question that they are in better physical condition then their WWII brothers. This will give them more physical endurance.


February 16, 2003, 01:58 AM
As my grandfather always said, the men of today may be stronger and faster, but the men of the past were tougher! They had it a lot rougher and had to live and work in harsher conditions. Sure they may be stronger now, but they ain't nearly as tough as they used to be.

February 16, 2003, 09:39 AM
As a WHOLE our nation is softer compared to the adverage person of the 1930's and 40's. Thats part of the cost we pay for high technogy we posess. We have a much higher percentage attending and completing higher education than ever before (even through its been made less demanding as far as the fine arts are concerned). The test scores required to enter the service and STAY IN our much higher now than WW2, Korea, and Vietnam (before and after the conflicts). It was common during all 3 eras that an overweight, poorly educated person could enter the military with little difficulty and often did. It was not uncommon during WW2 & Korea for a soldier not to have his high school diploma, and the amount and intensity of the military training available to the average soldier refected this short-coming. Were the People of the 1940's and 50's tougher than the people of the 1990's and 2000's? Yes they were, (life was harder and shorter) just like the people of the 1840's and 1860's were tougher than them. Is physical and mental toughness the most important measure of a deadly soldier? Not anymore, if that were the case the 3rd world countries would be the military "top dogs". Advances in military technology have proven that time and time again over the last 100 years to be the MAJOR key to victory. I thought the colonial wars of the 19th century and WWI put that argument to rest. Vietnam and other wars were the exception, not the rule. Even then the KIA's of the 3rd World army were many times that of the technologically advanced army.

Sean Smith
February 16, 2003, 10:31 AM
"They didn't have grenade launchers in 1943"

Yes they did have gernade launchers which could attach to their M1s.

You are thinking of "rifle grenades." The "launcher" was just a muzzle attachment. They sucked, and sometimes interefered with the operation of the rifle. Many (actually, almost all of 'em) required that you manually chamber a special cartridge to launch them.

Med 10
February 16, 2003, 10:32 AM
You cant even begin to compare the somalies, and the Iraqis, and the Taliban to an outstanding war machine like the WW2 German army.

The real question should be: Do you think the current batch of volunteers could slug it out with Fanatical Japanese or well disciplined Germans of WW2? I personally dont think so.

I think the US military is evolving into the needs of the present world climate. The days of storming beaches and foxholes with bayonets and grenades are long gone.

All things considered, I'd take 8 rounds of 30.06 over 30rnds of 223. and as far as a general purpose MG goes, make mine an MG-42!

February 16, 2003, 10:49 AM
tough times breed tough people, ww2
folks would win hands down.

February 16, 2003, 11:19 AM
Very little has been said here about leadership.

All other things being equal, the platoon with the best leadership (platoon leader, platoon sergeant, squad leader), will almost always emerge the winner.

All troops perform best when serving with and under good leaders. Good tactics result in good performance. A soldier with no sense of direction is not going to be of much good to any one.

Most combat soldiers are primarily concerned with the five feet directly in front of them. (Voice of experience speaking here). A good leader will point them in the right direction.

Still, today's modern shoulder-fired grenade launchers have a decided advantage over WWII and Korea's hand- thrown devices.

February 16, 2003, 11:27 AM
The reduced caliber, hi-capacity, light weight weapons we now field are and were developed based on the performance of the WW2 weapons. It wasn't an emotional opinion, it was business decision based on decades of research and developement. Were the Japs and Gemans of WWII tougher than our military today and THEN (1940's)? Yep, but they both lost, and technology and productivety are the major reasons why. The Germans had the advanced technology but not the productivety (strange that the "toughness" of their troops cound not over-come this short-coming). The Japs were even tougher than the Germans but heir lack of technology (except the "Zero") made them a lesser theat to us so we devoted only 15% of our war effort to their defeat. Being tough is an asset, but seldom has it been the deciding factor. A rocket, bullet or bomb have no regard as to how fast you can run or how many push-ups you can do. The educated soldier builds a shelter or fox hole, not his biceps!

February 16, 2003, 12:09 PM
This is an unanswerable question. Too many unknowns - platoons isolated from any military support - that is a bigger loss for the modern platoon. Do they have standard equipment or are they on equal footing except for the guns- body armour, nightvision, ect... again a bigger loss for the modern platoon. Also what is "standard equipment" depends alot upon the particular unit - especially with modern forces.

The biggest advantage our modern forces have is communication and coordination, especially with air and fire support. Next is the ability to see at night.

If equal except for their weapons - then the difference at the platoon level would end up being the one forever unknowable factor - the quality of the individual men involved and their leadership. Which platoon has the unknown Audie Murphy or Alvin York?

I don't know who would win and I don't feel as some here have taken it that to say the WWII vets would win is a sign of disrespect for the modern soldier. The truth is that the WWII vets proved themselves under fire. They came out of the Great Depression, they fought at Omaha and Iwo Jima, Bastogne, and Tarawa, they not only saved our country, but the world. Therefore they earned the respect and esteem we hold for them. Our modern soldiers as a whole have not had to endure what our WWII vets did, yet that is not to say they could not endure and shine as bright. God Bless them all.

February 16, 2003, 12:34 PM
Grayling is a six hour drive from my unit's location, so we don't often get down there. Our annual qualf is on the Army's "other" standard, a 25m indoor course, firing low-velocity, blue-tipped ammo.

Not terribly challenging, but it's certainly better than nothing.

February 16, 2003, 02:16 PM
I think the 80's Showtime Lakers would beat today's Shaq and Kobe Lakers. They're bigger, stronger, and faster today, but the guys from yesteryear had better fundamentals, commitment to defense, and team chemistry. :D

Actually, most sports "gurus" debate topics like this and end up concluding that you really can't compare the two head-to-head. Different times, different eras, different situations.

Good topic, though. I just wish our boys today had the unilateral, unanimous support our boys had in WWII. These anti-war protests are really starting to irk me. :fire:

February 16, 2003, 05:14 PM
The 80's Lakers would DESTROY Shaq's Lakers, no contest! So would the 80's Celtics for that matter. ;)

Med 10
February 16, 2003, 05:24 PM
Mack, Well said.:)

February 16, 2003, 05:40 PM
I think a little too much is made of these WWII guys being tough because they endured hardships and lived through the depressions and all that. Those units were a cross section of society just like in today's Army. Some of the guys that grew up during the depression had fathers that had a steady job throughout the depression and had enough to eat every day (this would apply to both my parent's and their families). Some were from families that were rich (like JFK and his brothers), some were dirt poor. Some grew up in the inner city, some grew up on farms, some were in great physical shape and some were overweight. Some had a great work ethic, pride, and were motivated. Others were drafted and hated every minute of their time in the service. The same holds true today. When I was in the Army we had a guy that was a shoeshine boy in Juarez Mexico, we had a guy whose family owned a chain of truck stops, we had guys who came from middle class households. We had guys that were overweight and out of shape, we had guys that were serious athletes. We had guys that had been to college and guys that dropped out of high school; we had guys that knew only a few words of English. However, one big difference between then and now is that today they are all volunteers.

February 16, 2003, 05:59 PM
They're not all volunteers, 444. I had one guy I went to Basic with that joined the Army to avoid going to jail. It struck me as odd that I ended up becoming good friends with him, an ex gang-banger from urban Georgia, but circumstance can bring people together sometimes.

In any case, there wasn't any shortage of volunteers in World War Two. At the opening to one episode of Band of Brothers, one of the vets recalls that in his tiny rural town, THREE different young men COMMITTED SUICIDE because they COULDN'T join the Army after Pearl Harbor. They felt disgraced because they were 4F.

I don't know if that was typical of that generation, but volunteers were not in short supply. I'd say that, given the size of the World War Two army, we had more volunteers in the ranks then than we have NOW.

I don't know how much of a difference that makes, though. But a draftee isn't automatically a bad soldier; there are plenty of bad soldiers that volunteered and I'm sure there were draftees that, when the chips were down, stood up and did what needed to be done. Just because someone wasn't inclined to join the army to begin with doesn't mean they're useless in combat. You can never tell how someone will hold up in combat until the bullets start flying.

I also don't know why some think the average soldier is in better shape now than then. The food now is a little better (especially the field rations), but guys back then had pushups, situps, long runs, more pushups, and more runs, just like they do now. That's about the size of the Army's current PT regimen. But, doing LOTS of the above, plus front-back-gos, flutter kicks, carrying sandbags, etc. can get you into pretty darn good shape.

Besides, lots of things haven't changed from World War Two. Why, in my unit, we have pots and pans dated 1942 in our kitchen. Some things are just made to last. :D

Harold Mayo
February 16, 2003, 06:14 PM
Interesting question.

All being equal (training, experience, terrain advantage, leadership, etc.) except for technology, I guess you would say that the modern solders' technology would allow them to win...but would it?

I don't place a whole lot of stock in full-auto fire. Argue if you will, but I would rather have a guy spraying at me with an M16 at 200 meters than a guy with a Garand taking careful aim at that range. In close quarters, it might be different, but I would still rather face unaimed fire than aimed...of course, full-auto doesn't mean that it's unaimed, either...

Handguns wouldn't matter.

I don't really think that optics would matter.

Communication would definitely matter. If individuals at the platoon level all have personal radios (do they?!? I don't know), then that would make a HUGE difference in outmaneuvering your foe.

Night vision equipment could make a HUGE difference if the fight were in the dark.

Overall, justing sitting here in my nifty home command center and thinking about it, I would say that the modern troops have the edge but that doesn't mean it would be a hands-down victory.

Communications, if they are available to all (!?!?!?), would make more difference than anything else.

February 16, 2003, 06:25 PM
I think a little too much is made of these WWII guys being tough because they endured hardships )

I disagree, this was a tough generation,
I grew up in the 40/50's worked with
and for many ww2 vets they were a
different breed, always right, no,
but tough. Like it or not we have lost
that and the all "volunteer" force is
not all it was meant to be, let us hope
we never fight a long term ground war....

February 16, 2003, 07:54 PM
WWII soldiers would whoop the present day soldier.

Go find a yearbook from the years before the war, you can see the difference.

They were superior physically, mentally (pyschologically), and spiritually.

Todays soldier is the subject of PC policies, poor education, low moral character and preservative laden foods.


February 16, 2003, 08:00 PM
People on this thread keep talking about mindset. The mindset of the WWII grunt was far inferior when it came to killing than the modern soldier.

Many studies (can't find a ref right now) during and after the war showed that most grunts would not shoot at the enemy, because it was WRONG TO KILL ANOTHER PERSON! Beleive it or not, the people of the 30's and 40's were more moral and religious than the people in the Army now. The Army has had 60 years to refine the training and mental conditioning to break down the natural aversion to killing that most people have.

I beleive most people here would agree that being willing to hurt or kill the other guy is the most important part of winning a fight. I beleive that the modern American soldier will be much more willing than the WWII GI.

February 16, 2003, 08:19 PM
You are saying the same thing every generation says about those generations who follow them. You say low character, I say freedom of expression and tolerance. You say PC policies, I say equal access to sucess. You say low morals, I say we are a nation of laws not religious intolerance and ignorant bias. I looked in my old yearbook (1970)and looked at my children's, the only difference I see are the hair and clothes. As far as PT and fitness of the 30's generation, my gym teacher told me that pushups and pullups were instituted in the schools primarily because it was a scandal that the young men serving in the Navy didn't have enough upper body strength to pull themselves into the life rafts and many drowned un-necessarily. Also back then, a police record was considered a "fast track" to enlistment into the service. Today a police record will keep a recruit out. The standards and performance have increased greatly in 60 years, its a matter of record. By the way, my father fought honorably in Europe during WW2 and I spent my 6 years on active duty also. Today's troops are even much better than those of the 60's and 70's also.

February 17, 2003, 12:14 AM

The reference you need is David Grossman's "On Killing" in which he showed that the rapid-reaction firing drills introduced after Korea increased the percentage of soldiers who would shoot up to 90%.

February 17, 2003, 03:07 AM
There is a rumor that the Army studied, by way of journalist's film, that 85% of the US troops on Iwo Jima basically refused to fight, either not shooting their weapons or by shooting randomly. The conclusion was that onlyl 15% of soldiers did 95% of the fighting. Is this true?

Perhaps this is what Owen is referring to. The fact that most US GI's didn't really want to kill the enemy.

February 18, 2003, 01:38 AM
There is a rumor that the Army studied, by way of journalist's film, that 85% of the US troops on Iwo Jima basically refused to fight, either not shooting their weapons or by shooting randomly.

That is such BS. If that were true there would be no way that we would have won.

February 18, 2003, 01:57 AM
My vote is with the WWII guys. My reason is that the WWII Vets had more combat experience. They also had experience fighting an enemy that in some respects were equal to superior in combat.
Whereas our current crop of vets only have experience fighting a vastly weaker enemy. Take away the airpower, artillary, and Armor, the night optics...and just let two infantry companies duke it out..the WWII guys would kick the snot out of our current group.

Yes..the special forces are better trained..but the regular troops today are poorly trained compared to US troops during WWII.

February 18, 2003, 03:37 AM
But the big difference is you Can't take out the air support and Artillery and Armor, or the sat intel and J-Stars and scrambled burst transmitions.
todays troops train with Combined Arms Exercises , that incorperate Close air support, fire missions, enemy movement sitreps, and high speed mech/Armor available. thats what makes us so deadly.
Hand to hand or fixed Bayonets who knows probably pretty even
I know My platoon ran 6 miles a day and worked out at the gym once a day, and I and many Buddies went to a coed gym 3 nights a week (the coed nights we worked out there too) so I dont think WE were especially soft and I was in a TOW platoon, God knows what the Line animals did to stay in shape.
anyway while I have undying respect to the OLD men I have to vote for the young guns.
Semper Fi my Brothers in Arms:evil:

February 18, 2003, 06:37 AM
If you mean the WW2 Pacifice theater of war you might be right for a few Marine units but in the Euporean theater the majority of the units had less than a year's worth of combat experience by the end of the war. The American Army had a tendency to use the same combat divisions over and over again rather than bloody new units. Most of the units who landed in Normandy were inexperienced units who spent the majority of their time training in the US or England. If they didn't serve in North Africa in 42 or Italy in 43 they had no combat experience. Also the fact that the Persian Gulf war only lasted a couple of months might mean the the forces committed were much more lethal and PROFESSIONAL than their WW2 counter-parts. I will remind you that the German's considered the WW2 American GI's to be the Allies' "Italian" Army" because of their relatively poor leadership and combat performance. The Germans had a much greater respect for the British and Russian soldier, we were considered softer and more morally decadent than the French! It was our productivety the German's feared not our toughness. Our version of the history of WW2 and the false beliefs generated almost lead to our quick defeat in Korea 5 years later. Some units performed so badly that they were forbidden to wear their unit insignia as a sign of disgrace! Again. our present day soldiers have a proven track record and have the respect and are feared by every army in the World. This is the first time in our country's history that our military has ever earned this world-wide respect! If you served n the US military in any capacity you have my respect, but lets not re-write or sugar-coat our history.

February 18, 2003, 08:02 AM
"There is a rumor that the Army studied, by way of journalist's film, that 85% of the US troops on Iwo Jima basically refused to fight, either not shooting their weapons or by shooting randomly."

No, this isn't BS, at least the part about not taking part in the fight. I have heard and read this many times; Most of the guys in an infantry company don't even fire their weapons in a fight. This isn't just about the Marines at Iwo, I have read it about the guys at Gettysburg and I have read it about the guys in Vietnam. I read several times that after civil war battles, weaons were picked up off the battlefield that had charge/ball after charge/ball loaded all on top of each other where the guy was so rattled during the firefight he didn't fire a shot, he just stood there loading his rifle over and over without shooting. That friend of mine who was a Ranger NCO up until about two years ago gave me some statistic that basically said that most guys in a firefight never fire their weapon. He told me this and said "To be honest I didn't either the first couple times I came under fire". Combine this with the fact that the majority of the people in the military never even get near combat. I don't know if the Army studied anything that happened at Iwo, that was a Marine operation. I don't know if I would use the word refuse to fight, these guys go through all the motions but when the SHTF, they get behind cover and don't fire back. It isn't like they run away or tell their CO that they refuse to fight.

February 18, 2003, 09:30 AM
I read an article in a military journal (maybe Parameters or Military Review) over twenty years ago. It was called "Killers, Fillers and Fodder". To be brief, it said IIRC in a study of the Israeli Tank Forces in one of their many wars, Abrams 37th Armor in WWII and the Eight Air Force in WWII that roughly 10 % of the tankers and aircrews accounted for about 90% of the kills, another ? % acounted for the other 10% of the kills, and another ? % were just fodder that showed up as replacements and were killed or wounded rather quickly. The premise of the article was that the killers were a different breed altogether.
My father was a Combat Infantryman in the Philippines and New Guinea during WWII and the toughest guy that I ever knew (even tougher now in my eyes upon reflection twenty years after his death) and my uncles also fought in different theaters of the war, but I would put my money on the modern soldier. Put romantic (I ain't talking kissy-kissy) notions aside, these young men are tough, trained and innovative. Some have quit in'em, most don't!

2nd Amendment
February 18, 2003, 10:05 AM
While I still think that all things being equal; equipment, support and such, this theoretical duel would end up with two mostly dead platoons I have to support what's being said about soldiers under fire. My great uncle made his way across the Pacific and told me about this when I was probably ten years old. Some guys simply did not fight.

For those who did it was baffling. The men who failed to fire, or fired little, were not usually cowards. They'd be right there in the thick of things, packing equipment, helping wounded, assisting coms and taking bullets. But their own weapons would remain largely unfired. Art(my uncle) said it was beyond him and, when asked, beyond those who didn't shoot as well. I do remember him saying that those who survived one or two encounters wound up being some of the most agressive fighters in subsequent battles though. Doubly odd to me.

February 18, 2003, 11:19 AM
No, this isn't BS, at least the part about not taking part in the fight. I have heard and read this many times;

Oh, come on. You can't be foolish enough to believe that! If only 15% of us were shooting back at the japs we would have been slaughtered. do you really think the sargents and platoon leaders would stand for that either? I have seen many REAL TIME video footage of WWII soldiers, and they ALL were fighting hard. I didn't see ONE man not fighting, or cowering, or running. amazing what people will believe. There is no way we would have survived nevermind won.

February 18, 2003, 11:20 AM
And if only 15% of our troops somehow escaped any type of death and still killed the entire opposing force, than that would make them 5000 times tougher and better soldiers than anyone else on the earth.

February 18, 2003, 11:55 AM
Well Blain,

The japs had some major things working against them. Horrible tactics, like static defense, banzai charges against dug in and prepared infantry, rigid command and control, officers that didn't know how and refused to back out of bad situations to fight another day, etc.

The japs fought hard, but their own culture failed them in the long run.

Also, I doubt the 15% thing is relegated to just the US. The percentage varies, but i seem to recall that the number of fighters is fairly low everywhere in the western world.

Also, no one said they were cowering or running, they just weren't actively killing the enemy. Also, the available war footage generally won't show the good guys during bad moments.

February 18, 2003, 06:20 PM
Viking is right about his comments. Very few did most of the work (killing) because they had an agressive spirit and were not troubled my their actions. It takes a "special " kind of person to be a killing machine and escape imprisonment at the same time. Often times the decision for some is, die in combat or go to Hell for killing my fellow man. Remember, these people had weeks and months to think about their actions, often times these actions were and are in direct conflict with their childhold upbringing. How many of you were taught in grade school or Sunday school that its the right thing to do when you kill the "enemy"?

mons meg
February 18, 2003, 07:05 PM
Who would win in a HTH fight between TWO full strength WWII platoons (100-120 men) with fixed bayonets and a Roman century (80 or so men) circa 100 AD? Why, I think the Romans would carve up the GIs like so many pieces of pork.

Were the Romans tougher? More physically fit? Better mindset? Better training? Worse technology?

What does this mean? I have no idea. ;)

mons meg
February 18, 2003, 07:06 PM
It takes a "special " kind of person to be a killing machine and escape imprisonment at the same time.

As I see it, the USMC specializes in making people special in that way. ;)

February 18, 2003, 07:24 PM
True, True, True:D But the Roman's would win due to their superior sword design. Alas Technology wins again:banghead:

February 18, 2003, 07:32 PM
I had a reoccurring dream in Boot camp, where I was sniping people from a tree and after killing four of them I was shot out of the tree. What does this mean ? (besides the fact that a lone tree is a bad place to snipe from) I dont know. But I do know that it steeled my resolve to DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE in a battle.
And in the other Life threatening situations I have come under it has served me well, so I believe that the Corps Does have a way of instilling the will to Fight in Battle .
I must add that I have never been in a firefight just several life threatening situations, where I thuoght "So this is how its going to end".

February 18, 2003, 08:35 PM
What life threatening situations were those, Rick? I am interested in hearing about them if you don't mind sharing.

February 18, 2003, 11:11 PM
some were assorted auto related jobs, some have been Big Pump fires, the one that sticks in my mind the hardest was when a Hydroblasting shotgun (5000 psi) rolled onto the trigger, when I was pulling it up in a pipe rack, it was firing past my head missing me by 6" and I had it gripped VERY akwardly by the barrel just behind the tip with my left hand and I was straddling a pipe 20' off the ground.
The first instant you dont know whether to Poop, Scream or Throw up, the next you buckle down and fix the problem.
I think regular exposer to big fire at Texas A&M fire school help a lot as well.

February 19, 2003, 02:53 AM
Okay, now I am ticked off. The Americans were the Italians of the Allies in WWII. Sure.

First, the American soldiers were inexperienced early in the war and they were not as disciplined or as effective out of the box as the Germans or the English. That much is true.

However, the American soldier carried the brunt of the effort against the Germans on the Western Front. It was the Americans under Patton and Bradley who pushed the fight in Sicily. It was the Americans who carried the fight forward in Italy, despite some poor leadership early on and despite having to carry the fight against the Germans in tough mountainous terrain where the Germans picked and set their defensive positions. It was the Americans that faced the toughest fighting on D-day at Omaha. It was the Americans that broke out of the Normandy beachhead in operation Cobra. It was the Americans that encircled the German Army in France and while waiting, as ordered, for the British under Montgomery to close the gap, much of the German Army escaped. It was the British under Montgomery that failed again and again despite being given the gas and supplies to take ground quickly enough to succeed in break throughs - first in France and then in Belgium. It was the Americans who due to poor intelligence and disposition took the brunt of the attack during the Battle of the Bulge, yet they held Bastogne and then under Patton turned and attacked faster than any modern army had ever done, crushing the attack. It was the Americans that carried by far the brunt of the war in the Pacific, where the Japanese soldiers by a large margin preferred to die rather than surrender. If you want to rate soldiers on fanaticism to duty and a willingness to die then the Japanese win hands down. Yet we defeated them. The Americans in the Pacific were the brothers of those in the European Theater, they were not a breed apart.

What the American soldiers had in spades that the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, and to a lesser extent the British did not was a willingness to innovate, that peculiar independence of spirit that comes with freedom and liberty. American soldiers were willing to die, but they didn't want to and they weren't going to blindly follow orders in the name of discipline and get killed when they could get the job done and survive.

By contrast the Italian soldiers did not win any major victories of any significance in WWII. If the Americans were the Italians then the Germans or the Russians would still be in control of Europe today. So please don't tell me how pathetic and ineffective our soldiers were in WWII.

Lastly in regard to the psychologist who claims that only 15 percent or so of soldiers actually fired their weapons or were effective in combat and that todays soldiers because of better psychological training are better killers. I doubt it. First the evidence he has is questionable and his conclusions are even more suspect. Even if it is true that only 15 percent did the killing, it would not be that surprising, look at even non-life and death endeavors like sport. In basketball you always find that most of the scoring is done by one to three people, does that make the rest of the team irrelevant - no there are defensive players, there are those players who don't score much but who still make the big shot when it counts, there are those who put the team first and set up the shooters to take the shot, there are the rebounders and the shot blockers, everyone on a winning team fills an important role. So even if the so-called superior killer training is in effect in the modern military, I'm willing to bet you will still find that only 15 percent are effective killers, by this gurus definition. A deeper examination would find that effective combat units require soldiers to fill many roles. Why, because human beings have been involved in combat since the first organized societies and no miracle training is going to make everyman an elite combat soldier. Maybe genetics or cloning and training will, but no current training technology will. Oh, I am sure that the whatever army is training the troops tells them that they are mean lean killing machines, but that also has been the story told to all soldiers since the first army boot camp. You can train all you want and tell yourself you are a stone killer all you want, but until you are face to face with it you will never truly know.

If you want to claim that our modern soldiers are better trained and more effective than their WWII brothers that is fine, that may be true. God bless them both. But don't crap on the WWII vets by denigrating their accomplishments and attempting to paint them as generally ineffective and a joke when compared to their contemporaries.

February 19, 2003, 06:49 AM
The Germans in Italy did not surrender till May, 1945. The Cobra plan was adopted from a plan Montgomery used earlier against Caen. The only difference was Monty used 500 and 1000 lb bombs which hindered the advance due to the large craters created. The British failed to complete the encirclement of the German Army in France because almost ALL the German armor was placed against the British sector and not the American sector. The Americans held Bastogne with over 18,000+ troops, over half of which were from the elite 82nd & 101st airborne divisions(they did for the most part have weapons). They were by-passed by the German armored spearhead as was their custom to do. On Patton, he knew BEFORE he left for the conference with Ike and Bradley that he would be ordered to swing north to relieve Bastogne and issued orders to commence the redeployment. When does the clock start, when Patton issued the orders or when Patton agreed to accept the mission from Ike? Remember, Patton (and MacArthur alike) had his own public relations officer and didn't mind "bending" the truth to get the headlines. The term "citizen soldier" has more meaning than what a persons occupation was 12 months previously (pumping gas?). The unpleasant fact is that Russia accounted for 80% of all German losses in WW2 and America's most useful contribution to victory was it's productivety, American made trucks are what allowed the Russians to mobilize their army and pursue the Germans. Again, my father fought bravely in Europe but the popular "facts" differ from the documented historical facts.

February 19, 2003, 07:01 AM
The unpleasant fact is that Russia accounted for 80% of all German losses in WW2

Russia or the Russian winter? Russian Army or true "citizen soldiers" of Russia?

You can bet that if we would have had Nazi troops on American soil, the numbers would have been skewed THAT way.

Personally, I believe Overlord was the key to Allied victory. How succesful do you think that would have been without our boys?

All that having been said, a modern infantry platoon would destroy it's 1943 counterpart. Don't let nostalgia overpower your common sense.

February 19, 2003, 08:17 AM
I want to make myself clear. I, that's me, am not denigrating the WWII soldier. I agree with mack about the team concept and your "go-to" guys. The original question was whether a WWII platoon or a contemporary platoon would win or something like that, I gets confused. I say the modern platoon would. To say that the modern soldier is better is not to say that the WWII soldier was bad. The modern soldier built on that legacy and the legacy of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia and the Rough Riders..........
Nintendo generation, couch potato, whatever does not apply to all. What about the NFL defensive back that shucked it all to become a Ranger? If every generation is not getting at least a little measurably better then we're in a nasty rut. I don't know all the empirical data but I know if the good old US of A had not enterred the fray, Chirac would either be eating weiner schnitzel or drinking vodka today.

February 19, 2003, 08:51 AM
Your post shows that you've read quite a bit of military history, a field that has been dominated in the postwar world by the English, which lends a particular slant to the work. Despite several generations of spinmeisters working hard on it, there is no excuse for the Viscount of Alamein's shameful performance from D-plus one to the fall of Caen.

I've had a long-standing bet with a friend that I can determine the nationality of the author of a WWII history book simply by glancing through the index. I've yet to have to pay up. ;)

February 19, 2003, 10:11 AM
The unpleasant fact is that Russia accounted for 80% of all German losses in WW2

Considering the amount of actual combat time (June 41-May 45), this should be a no-brainer. That was pretty much constant fighting, not like the Western Front.

America's most useful contribution to victory was it's productivety, American made trucks are what allowed the Russians to mobilize their army and pursue the Germans.

So, we didn't need to get into the war because the Russians were going to win because they had some of our trucks? Our lend/lease policy may have been a good idea but it didn't win the war. Without our soldiers there would have been no Western Front which would have left he Germans able to fight the Russians alone. The Brits and Canadians certainly weren't going to invade Normandy by themselves.

By the way, I still think the modern platoon would win.

February 19, 2003, 11:20 AM
“The Germans in Italy did not surrender till May, 1945.”
In May of 1945 Rome and most of Italy was liberated and most of the post D-day effort by the Americans was focused on defeating the Germans in France and Germany, while still prosecuting the war in the Pacific.

“The Cobra plan was adopted from a plan Montgomery used earlier against Caen. The only difference was Monty used 500 and 1000 lb bombs which hindered the advance due to the large craters created.”

That is like saying that the flanking maneuver was invented by Alexander the Great, both Bradley and Patton also developed similar plans, i.e. given a specific set of facts there are always going to be similar lines of attack. And whether of not one wants to accept as valid the excuse, that Monty’s advance was hindered by 500 to 1000 lb. bombs, the fact is that it was American troops that did execute the plan with spectacular success.

“The British failed to complete the encirclement of the German Army in France because almost ALL the German armor was placed against the British sector and not the American sector.”

Yes, this was always the excuse Monty used; he always faced the toughest troops and the toughest terrain. Of course they could have let the Americans try to close the gap as they had flanked most of the German forces, but they were ordered not to as that was reserved for the British under Monty – who failed.

“The Americans held Bastogne with over 18,000+ troops, over half of which were from the elite 82nd & 101st airborne divisions(they did for the most part have weapons). They were by-passed by the German armored spearhead as was their custom to do.”

Oh, I’m sorry Bastogne was those rare good American troops, not the regular Italian ones. And they had all the “good” weapons – unlike the Germans of the rest of the American and the British forces. Yes, the Germans did “initially” bypass the resistance they encountered at Bastogne, then after they realized the necessity of taking it they made a concerted effort to reduce and capture the city and devoted considerable troops and material to that effort – they still failed.

“On Patton, he knew BEFORE he left for the conference with Ike and Bradley that he would be ordered to swing north to relieve Bastogne and issued orders to commence the redeployment. When does the clock start, when Patton issued the orders or when Patton agreed to accept the mission from Ike? Remember, Patton (and MacArthur alike) had his own public relations officer and didn't mind "bending" the truth to get the headlines. “

Yes, Patton had an eye for headlines, and yes he started planning before the meeting, the fact still remains that the bulk of the movement and redeployment could not begin until he had the okay from Ike. So that is when the “clock” really started, and the fact still remains that no other army in WWII achieved such a rapid redeployment and attack as was achieved by the “inept” American GI in that battle.

“The term "citizen soldier" has more meaning than what a persons occupation was 12 months previously (pumping gas?). The unpleasant fact is that Russia accounted for 80% of all German losses in WW2”

And how long had the war on the Eastern Front been going on before the Americans and British opened up the Western Front in Europe? And how many Russian and German troops faced each other during that period of time? Think that might influence the number of troops lost by the Germans against Russia vs. against America?

“and America's most useful contribution to victory was it's productivity, American made trucks are what allowed the Russians to mobilize their army and pursue the Germans.”

True that American productivity was a major contribution to winning the war – that has however nothing directly to do with the efficacy of the ineffectiveness of the American fighting man.

“Again, my father fought bravely in Europe but the popular "facts" differ from the documented historical facts.”

Funny, I’ve read a lot of history of WWII – first hand accounts as well as military history and historical overviews from authors from different countries – many with an Axe to grind – most do agree that especially early in the war the American soldier and their leaders were inexperienced and not as effective or disciplined as the Germans or British – but by the same token it is also recognized that the Americans quickly improved and by the end of the war were more than a match for any other soldiers on the planet. Those are historically documented facts and not unsupported opinion. The Italians disintegrated as an effective military force while the Americans improved. The Americans fought in and were central to winning both the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific, while providing crucial supplies to both the British and the Russians.
The historical record shows that the American soldiers were centrally involved in the vast majority of battles, (excluding those on the Eastern front), that lead to the defeat of Germany and Japan. History shows again that they won the vast majority of those battles. To suggest that the American fighting man was inept and/or ineffective compared to those he fought with or against is to suggest that victory after victory and ultimate victory went to the worst soldiers in WWII, excluding perhaps the Italians since the Americans were their equals. You can have all the “productivity” you want but if you can’t use it, you lose it to no effect. History is full of examples of superior cultures and armies that were swept into the dustbin of history after being destroyed by more effective soldiers on the ground.
Clearly the new American soldier or any new soldier for that matter was/is not a match for a battle hardened veteran. The point is that once they were tested they quickly showed that they did have what it took such that by the wars end they were clearly the superior soldier on the ground.
And none of this can answer the question, who is the better soldier the modern soldier or the WWII soldier.

February 19, 2003, 11:28 AM
The Germans advanced quite rapidly across France, but they were only fighting against the French and the BEF.

We also advanced pretty darn quickly across France, and we were playing against the varsity squad, and had to start from a small beachhead... ;) :D

Joe Demko
February 19, 2003, 12:18 PM
As for the original question, the modern guys would win if all we are considering is hardware. The range advantage offered by the M1 is only an advantage in terms of energy on target when that target is hit. There is no reason to believe that the 1943-era troops would be more likely to be better marksmen. The myth that we were ever a "nation of riflemen" is one that just won't go away. The BAR was an inferior squad automatic weapon even in its day. Its lack of a quick-change barrel and 20-round magazine makes it notably lacking in any kind of sustained fire. It, like the tommy gun, was used mainly because it was what we had and it was already in production. Handguns don't matter. The 1943-era troops would have had nothing to compare to today's grenade launchers. Their rifle-grenades were nowhere near as "user friendly" and accurate as today's 40mm systems.
With regards to toughness, every generation likes to point at the next generation and launch into a "These Kids Today..." tirade. They were doing that in ancient Greece and Rome. There were tough people then, there are tough people now. The real question is are you one of them?

February 19, 2003, 12:46 PM
First off Patton is the greatest general of all time.

Second of all, an M1 is such a superior weapon to the mouse gun 16 that it IS a laughing matter.

End of story.

February 19, 2003, 01:38 PM
Oh, come on. You can't be foolish enough to believe that! If only 15% of us were shooting back at the japs we would have been slaughtered. "

Yes, I am that foolish. I have read that time and time again. I have seen it on TV documentaries. I have been told that by people that have been there and done that. I think one mistake that you are making is in thinking that the causilties of war are mostly taken by small arms fire. The fact is that for any given, modern war, most of the casilties are enflicted by bombs, artilliary, mortors, navel guns, missiles..................... The futher detached you are from the situation, the easier it is to pull the trigger. There is certainly an emotional component to this, but another reason is just the survival instinct. For example, if you are in a foxhole and taking fire, the natural instinct is to seek safety. At the time, the safest place is in the foxhole as low as you can get. This only makes sense. Appearently a minority of the participants choose to ignore this instinct and instead stand up and shoot back. However, if you are three miles away at an artilliary battery, not under fire, it isn't as big of a deal to fire away. It is also easier because you are detached from the results of your actions.

February 19, 2003, 05:40 PM
WWII v. Modern?

Everyone will find out soon since the Iraqi army is rated comparable in equiptment & training to WWII-vintage US forces.

I think we all know the answer to the above.

The combat effectiveness of the WWII soldier was earned in battle, each lesson learned by casualties recieved. It was a very long & painful education. Survivors got better.

Modern USGIs are better trained from the onset. There is better emphasis on tactics, coordination, communication and reducing combat casualties.

February 19, 2003, 05:48 PM
In studies made by the US Army Medical Corp of the WW2 combat soldier the following observations were reported:

1. With even a very minor wound, soldiers would remove themselves from combat even through they were still 100% combat effective.

2. It took the average (not all!) soldier 2 weeks to gain the skills to be a combat veteran. After 30 days (if they still survived) the combat soldier's desire to fight would decline to the point that he was increasingly ineffective in combat and was considered a poor influence on the new replacements. The cycle ran from scared, confident(hero). fatalistic(hero), rebellion(battle fatique).

These observations should not bring dishonor to anyone, they document that the human animal has limitations like we should already know.

Also, Patton wasn't the best General of the American Army of WW2 or any other war. Lucien Truscott was....do reserch about him before you disagree, he served under Patton and performed most of the deeds Patton took the credit for. A great many people have never heard of him (poor PR I guess) but a high percentage of WW2 scholars agree. If Patton had been in the German Army(he would have made a more colorful NAZI than Herman Goeing), he wouldn't have got past major in rank, and even then it would have been a reserve commission.

Besides the best commanding general in American history was either Lee, Sherman, or Longstreet, take your pick. IMHO

February 19, 2003, 07:14 PM
How about C-i-C in 1945, vs C-i-C in 2003? Who would win a war?

I think Truman will win... he would drop 2 nukes over present day New York city, while GWBush will be frantically trying to contact Harry S. in order to congratulate him for getting rid of Klintoon. :D

Freedom in theSkies
February 19, 2003, 10:18 PM
I feel that the deciding factor in armed combat is the ability for the individual soldier to think clearly, remain focused and to use terrain and armament to their advantage. - Regardless of technology.
Having said that, the experience of the troops can also play a huge role in deciding outcome of battles, especially if troop numbers are even and more so when at a numeric disadvantage.

February 20, 2003, 12:34 AM
"In studies made by the US Army Medical Corp of the WW2 combat soldier the following observations were reported:

1. With even a very minor wound, soldiers would remove themselves from combat even through they were still 100% combat effective.

2. It took the average (not all!) soldier 2 weeks to gain the skills to be a combat veteran. After 30 days (if they still survived) the combat soldier's desire to fight would decline to the point that he was increasingly ineffective in combat and was considered a poor influence on the new replacements. The cycle ran from scared, confident(hero). fatalistic(hero), rebellion(battle fatique).

These observations should not bring dishonor to anyone, they document that the human animal has limitations like we should already know."

I wouldn't dispute the essential truth of this - new soldiers often are more aggressive than the veterans. That does not correlate directly however to combat effectiveness. Outside of veterans that are dysfunctional - i.e. unwilling to carry out orders to advance - I would suggest that a veteran that is less aggressive and more savvy is a huge asset.

Is true combat effectiveness measured by how many enemies a given platoon kills or wounds? I would suggest that it is not. Since WWII the primary object of ground forces has been to take ground and to take the enemy out of the fight. A direct man to man assault which results in the direct infliction of casualties - of killed and wounded enemy is certainly one way to take ground and to take the enemy out of the fight, but it is not the best or the most efficient way.

Consider, a new officer leads a direct assault on an enemy position with new and aggressive soldiers under his command, they take the position and many enemy soldiers are killed and wounded, however many of the attacking soldiers are also killed or wounded and the officer is wounded. Ground has been taken, the enemy taken out of the fight, but at the cost of taking the attackers out of the fight also due to their casualties. A victory and one in which the aggressive troops themselves killed many enemy, but a costly victory.

Now imagine a group of veterans led by an experienced officer, instead of leading a direct attack, they first send out a scout to determine more exactly the enemies disposition, then instead of a direct assault using their infantry weapons, they decide to call in an air or artillery strike on the enemy positions, during this strike they also decide to use their automatic weapons to lay down a steady stream of fire on the enemy position to keep them further occupied and confused, next using the information they obtained from their scouting they take a little more time to skirt around the enemy position and set themselves up in a position that allows them to pour fire on the enemies flank. The enemy now realizing they have been flanked and that they have no way out, and taking heavy fire from all sides, decide to surrender. As a result, only one enemy is killed by direct fire from the attackers and two wounded. The attackers suffer one wounded. The position is taken, the enemy is as effectively taken out of the fight and the attackers are still an effective fighting force. Yet, by measures of aggressiveness and soldiers killing other soldiers with their infantry arms it did not display combat effectiveness.

Modern war and combat effectiveness is not best measured by numbers of enemy killed or wounded directly by the infantry, it is best measured by the ability to go where the enemy is not or is weakest, to find an opening, to break through and isolate the enemy, and to deprive him of the ability to effectively resist.
Veterans know how to do this better than green troops.

February 20, 2003, 06:48 AM
In a way you are correct Mack...The average german combatant had a ratio of 16-1, for every german loss they inflicted 16 Enemy losses:what: .....and they still lost. To defeat 100 german combatants it required on average 125 enemy combatants. When German units were over-run or destroyed they were not permitted to withdrawn from battle. They and other survivors were formed into ad hoc combat units and lead back into the fight. I wonder what the mental profile of the average german soldier of WW2 is? It had to be awesome!
Also the "modern " tactic of attacking the eneny where he ain't is not so new, Sherman said the same thing 140 years ago and it has been practiced since the stone age. BUT their are situations when the military forces cannot be avoided and must be met and destroyed. When the French took Moscow but did not destroy the Russian standing army (he wanted to) it caused his defeat. A highly motivated army (US Marines, Republican Guards ?) might need to be defeated in battle regardless of what important political target may have been captured. True combat effectiveness is measured by the soldier's DESIRE and ability to complete the mission.

February 20, 2003, 07:46 AM
Yes, and the German soldier inflicted a 3:1-4:1 casualty ratio on Yank troops throughout the war.

There's a very simple explanation fo that, though... ;)

February 20, 2003, 01:53 PM
As a result, only one enemy is killed by direct fire from the attackers and two wounded. The attackers suffer one wounded. The position is taken, the enemy is as effectively taken out of the fight and the attackers are still an effective fighting force.

Yeah, but the New York Times headlines will read... US inflicts large casualties, civilian massacre suspected.

February 20, 2003, 03:22 PM
Whether we use a WWII nuke or a 2003 nuke ... doesn't matter to me ... result is the same!

February 20, 2003, 05:03 PM
Your right about "Monty", the Brishish public considers him a great leader that should have been the Supreme Commander instead of Ike. Monty was a liar during the war and a liar after the war. There is no doubt that Monty had some serious personal issues in his life. During the victory parade in London Monty refused to in vite his 2nd in command because he did not want to share the limelight. The US had to intervene to get DeGuiand(sp?) invited, and in this they suceeded. DeGuinand(sp) saved Monty's butt (career) several times but Monty's ego ruled. No serious student of WW2 considers Monty a great general, just a great British hero. I have been studying WW2 history pretty much non-stop for over 35 years. Getting other than the Ameican point of view of WW2 is difficult but not impossible and I have focused the last 10 years on the German point of view. The German's common belief (right or wrong) was that the British soldier was #1, Russian #2, and American #3. What they admired most about America was our abundant wealth and supply, not our leadership or our fighting skills. Germany was overwhelmed, not out-fought. We could not have beaten Germany (most believe using the "bomb" wasn't an option)without Russia but it is quite possible Russia could have beaten Germany alone provided we continued to send them supplies. More Russian 2nd Lt's were killed than American privates! Only since the collapse of the Soviet Union has historical truth been released. 10 years ago we did not know that about a million russian soldiers died in the battle of Stalingrad alone:what:and that one they won!

Med 10
February 20, 2003, 05:05 PM
The WW2 German soldier was the finest soldier in the history of war. By the time the Aliies landed at Normandy The Germans had been pounded by round the clock bombing, and did not have air superiority. Also the bulk of the German army was fighting the Russians and inflicting a hell of alot higher kill ratio than 4-1 on them!

If even half of the germans were pulled back to France or for that matter if the Panzers had been allowed to attack the allies on the beaches the outcome of the war would have been much different.

And Tamara, the Varsity that you speak of was fighting in Russia at the time of the D-day landings. France was defended by second rate Germans thrown together by Rommel to defend his Atlantic wall. The majority of the top-notch SS and Panzer Grenadiers were fighting the Soviets.

February 20, 2003, 05:52 PM
Got to hand it to the Soviets... they bred like rabbits and they had the manpower to hold off the German war machine.

I see us in the same predicament, with the Chicoms. Gen MacArthur was thrown back from the China/North Korean border when the ChiComs came down in tremendous numbers.

Now, after Clintoon giving the ChiComs US military secrets, we could be in trouble when the ChiComs finally integrate these technologies into their armed forces.

February 20, 2003, 05:58 PM
Ubermensh! Ubermensh!


February 20, 2003, 06:23 PM
The Germans for the length of the War considered the Western front to be of secondary importance, just as we assigned the Pacific theater secondary importance (15% of our war effort). That does not mean the Japs were not excellent fighters, just that they were (rightly so) not considered the most serious threat. If Overloard had not happened, at best the German's would have had a stalemate with Russia. Germany lost their chance to win WW2 when they lost at Stalingrad(early 1943), the Germans knew it, our leadership knew it, and so did the Russians. By then (1943)Russia was also out producing Germany(and increasing)and their equipment was almost as good. Their leadership and the quality of their soldiers(training) were never better than fair and more often, poor. Thats why they suffered so many losses, thats always been Russia's way to fight a war. While the Allies landed at Normandy, by arrangement Russia attacked (and destroyed)the German Army Center in Belorussia. More German divisons creased to exist in that one battle than were ever deployed in Normandy or France. Even the landing in Normandy required Russian help to draw off some of the re-inforcements! The Russians call WW2, "The Great Patriotic War" I don't like it but they earned it. Thats one of the reasons IKE decided to let the Russian take Berlin AGAINST the wishes of most of his troops. Were the Germans of 1870 to 1943 the best military soldiers in World history? Either them or the Romans, take your pick. If we, the US maintains our military might for the next 10-20 years I think we have a shot at number #1. I think we are #3 in World History right now. Long live America and Hail to the American Veteran!!!!!

side note; Why were the losses so great at Omaha....one unknown German division (352nd) and the fact that Bradly declined to use the special built tanks designed and used by the British called "funnies".

Med 10
February 20, 2003, 07:47 PM
telewinz, what do you think of the rumor that the only reason the Russians stopped at Berlin instead of conquering the whole of Germany and perhaps all of western Europe was because the U.S. had the bomb?.

Any serious student of WW2 history would know that the Soviets would have been quite capable of doing so. With an Army of nearly 12 million + reserves, at the end of the war, the Allies would have been hard pressed to stop continued Soviet aggression.

Just some food for thought.

BTW, youre knowledge of Mil-Hist is impressive. :)

February 20, 2003, 08:39 PM
Med 10,

"The WW2 German soldier was the finest soldier in the history of war. "

I respectfully and strongly disagree! I would stack Leonidas and 700 of his Spartan countryman or Lars and 700 of his Viking berzerkers or Gengis and 700 of his born-in-the-saddle bowmen against Hans and 700 of his Teutonic clan anyday.

Civilized man does not the best killers make. The ancient, primal and tribal warriors were born and bred from cradle to grave to fight and fight hard.

February 20, 2003, 09:13 PM
Stalin knew we had the bomb before Truman told him, thats why Truman could not understand why Stalin seemed so unimpressed. Stalin also knew we only had 3 or 4 at that time and they would be committed against the Japs. Also it was a deal Ike made with the Russians, his reasons were 1) the russians had done the most and suffered the most so they deserved the prize, Berlin. 2) Ike felt that the "final battle" would cost several hundred thousand allied losses and Berlin wasn't worth the cost. Considering what it cost the russians, he was right. Of course it's possible the Germans may have decided to surrender en mass to Ike in order to escape the Russians. As you know, the Germans in many cases fought thru the Russian lines in order to make it to the Elbe River to surrender to the Americans or British. I agree with you that except for our allied air power, the Soviets would have kicked our butts out of Europe. Patton was a ignorant fool to think he could defeat the Russians. Our tactical air force would have needed to do the dirty work against the Russian Army, just like they did against the German Army. Here is a short list of the facts of WW2, you probably have more to add:

What Allied rifles did the Germans seek to capture and use? Not the Garand, it was the M1 carbine and Russian SVT 40.

What was the most feared tank of WW2? The German Tiger tank

What was the best tank of WW2? The Panther

Why didn't the Germans just copy the T34 tank as the Generals wanted? German industry could not produce the aluminum engine block that was in the T34.

How did the inferior German tanks of 41 & 42 defeat the T-34 in battle? One tank would hit the driver's hatch (had a poor latch) which caused the hatch to fly open and lock. A second tank would shoot their 37mm or 50mm shell thru the hatch opening. Thats what the historians mean by superior German tactics and training!

Why were the Sherman tank crews forced to use the out-gunned and poorly armored Sherman in 44 an 45? Our "tank expert" Patton over-ruled all of the senior US commanders and vetoed the ideal of introducing the M26 6 months earlier because he didn't think it was needed and didn't want a slow down in production:what:

German armor plate and their steel in general was of higher quality than any Allied steel. Thats why the American 90mm still could not equal the German 88 or even the panther's 75mm. In the few engagements between the panther and the Pershing, often times the 90mm would bounce off the frontal armor of the panther even at ranges as close as 100 yards! The steel in the 90mm round just was not hard enough, but the energy was their.

How long did the Vatican hold on to the treaty between German and themselves before they decided not to sign it? Over a year, it wasn't until they felt sure Germany would lose the war that they notified Germany that they were not going to sign.

enough is enough. regards:)

February 20, 2003, 10:05 PM
mons meg,

A Roman century would kill ANY WWII bayonet armed platoon in HTH fighting. (Roman enemies typically fought with spears/javellins).

First of all, they are trained for HTH fighting, gun-era soldiers are not and have an aversion to it.

Second of all, Romans are trained to fight HTH in a cohesive unit, while WWII soldiers are not.

Romans carry shields, WWII riflemen do not.

Romans are armored, WWII obviously are not.

Lastly, Romans are physically stronger, and better mentally disciplined. Roman Legionarys built overnight fortifications after marching every 10 miles. Cutting logs and digging trenches every single day of your life in addition to training and killing made some physically tough hombres.

February 20, 2003, 11:21 PM
Yes, the Romans were very tough!

Med 10
February 21, 2003, 12:05 AM
OK jimbo, how about the finest fighting force of the modern era? :)

telewinz, VERY interesting tidbits. especially the deal with the aluminum engine of the T-34!

I agree that the Panther was the best tank of the war but only after a few months went by to work the bugs out.

Here are my takes on the "best of" of WW2:

GPMG: MG-42 {what a cyclic rate! ease of barrel swap}
Light MG: The Bren.
semi auto battle rifle: Garand. {what else}
Bolt action: K-98
SMG: MP-40
Pistol: 1911 I know,{what else}
Fighter: P-51 {FW-190 a close second}
Medium bomber: B-25 mitchell { Mosquito a close second}
heavy bomber: B-24 Liberator. { ruled out B-29 due to little known but atrocious engine probs.}
Battle ship: the Bismark!
Artilery piece: the "88"
Submarine: anything German.
Carrier: {no brainer} anything U.S.
Ground attack aircraft: The Stormovick { these REALLY chewed up the Germans!}

Care to add anything?

February 21, 2003, 01:08 AM
"16-1, for every german loss they inflicted 16 Enemy losses .....and they still lost."

That would include the Eastern Front where the Soviets lost especially early in the war, at times more than 18 to 1. If one looks at troop losses (killed in action, wounded in action {though many wounded returned to action}, and captured), and breaks it down by Eastern and Western Fronts then the ratio on the Western Front does not even favor the Germans depending how you want to stack your statistics. Also the Germans were fighting a defensive war and the Allies had to carry the attack to them. After D-day the Germans were forced in actual manpower to split their forces. In 1943 72 percent of German forces were on the Eastern Front, in 1944 that dropped to less that 50 percent. Statistics can be misleading however; even those that show that America had the lowest rate of combat losses of any of the major powers on either side in the war. The bottom line on combat effectiveness is to look at who won what battles and the war. What major battles did the Germans win against the Americans?

"The German's common belief (right or wrong) was that the British soldier was #1, Russian #2, and American #3. "

Yes, underestimating ones opponent can even lead to losing a war.

This tangent from the original thread all started for me at least because the opinion was offered that the American soldier of WWII was the equivalent of the Italian soldier of the Axis. I think it is clear that that was an absurd, unfounded, and gratuitous insult. I have never claimed that the American soldier was the best or most effective soldier in WWII - at times especially early in the war they were not. However by the wars end they were equal if not superior to any other nations soldiers. That heritage lives on in their grandchildren and great grandchildren that make up our military today.

Med 10
February 21, 2003, 01:21 AM
Mack, where did you get youre stats?

Med 10
February 21, 2003, 01:43 AM

That tells you that the Germans fought smart and relied on aggresive decicion making and brutal tenacity from their NCO's.

Unpredictability and aggresive small unit actions were the hallmark of the Whermacht. Unlike so many other armies of the war, the German infantry unit could still remain an effective fighting force after its officers were killed or wounded.

I'm not taking anything away from the good old GI joes, but man to man they were absolutly pathetic compared to the Germans.

The U.S. could in no way shape or form have beaten the Germans if the germans were not decisively engaged with the Russians.

By the time the allies landed in Europe the Germans were suffering from critical fuel shortages and decreaesd overall production of war material, and the Germans still managed to mount a serious offensive that only stalled when the fuel ran short and the weather cleared up to allow Allied aircraft to bail the groundforces out of trouble.

A little known fact is that the Allies were moving so slow in western europe that the Soviets actually had to put the brakes on thier campaign in the east a few times to allow the Allies to "catch up"

February 21, 2003, 06:45 AM
By and large we agree except:

I feel the US "Fleet" sub of WW2 was the best

I feel the "88" was the best anti-tank, but not the best artillery piece. The Germans felt that the American artillery was better than theirs.

I'd give the nod to the Mosquito because it was the best fighter/ bomber. For most of the war it could also hold its own as a fighter.

Ground attack, you could be right but the Stuka (tank killer version) and the Bristish Tempest were very potent.

Best rifle Kar 43, and of course the '44 assault rifle. For some reason the German infantry was never impressed with the Garand but like I posted, they loved the M1 carbine and Russian SVT 40.


That 2+2 =4 does not mean 3 is being underestimated. Saying their was 100 divisions doesn't mean anything if you don't know their current strength at the time. On a whole, Panzer divisions in 44-45 had anywhere from 25% to 75% less personnel and equipment than their western allied counterpart. An American armored division had about 400 tanks +/-, an INFANTRY division had about 200! At best in '44 & 45 a very FEW panzer divisions might have 100 - 150 for a short time but the Germans were unable to replace their losses while the Americans could. If is often recorded that "Panzer" divsions had less than 10 AFV but the Western Press always reported that they were at full strength as if it were 1942! Russian divisions were about half the size of german divisions, and german division were about half the size of American divisions (in all cases their was a great deal of variation) AGAIN, by 1944 the Germans were already well on the way to defeat, Overlord just hastened the end. The only time after 1941 that there were more germans soldiers west of Berlin were those escaping to surrender in 1945. North Africa, Italy, and France were considered secondary fronts compared to Russia. These are historic facts of record as best I can remember (I'm not sitting here with the books in my lap).

Med 10 is 100% correct in his comments, he is just not sugar coating the facts as many Americans are used to. High School history books have never been known for their accuracy or their hard hitting facts.

February 21, 2003, 06:57 AM
We are talking Army size units, even the French nation could come up with a few thousand elite troops IF they had the time and alot of American help. :D

February 21, 2003, 07:43 AM
Boy, the revisionism and "grass-is-greener" syndrome are getting pretty thick in here. ;)

The Russkie advance stalled out several times after the crushing success of Operation Bagration because they: a) outran their logistics (which were primitive), b) began running into stiff resistance again, and c) many units at the point of the spear had been ground down by steady attrition. By the time it drove into central Poland, the 2nd Byelorussian front (and its important 5th Guards tank army) was outta beans, bullets and bodies, and once again up against an opponent that was determined to fight rather than run. Summer of '44 saw the German army on both fronts acting more like the French than anything else. If the Russians had had the logistical train to back up Bagration (or, for that matter, if Ike hadn't panicked at Third Army's gains and started insisting on his "broad front" advance) the war could possibly have been shortened. Would the Germans have been able to mount Wacht Am Rhein or Fruehlinsgerwachen if the Ruhr or East Prussia were already in allied hands?

Uncle Joe may've said that he magnanimously was holding up and snicker "waiting for the Western allies to catch up", but if so, he sure didn't have any choice in the matter at the time.

February 21, 2003, 08:12 AM
I certainly don't have the breadth of knowledge on this that some have and I don't have a history book in my lap, but I do recall something about the Soviets holding back on Poland in order to let the Germans put down some Polish Resistance that was more closely aligned with London vice Moscow. And then what was the little forest incident that massacred the Polish officers?....and on and on. And just to prove that NO horse is too dead to kick, #1, #2 and #3, what is the comparable difference between the Bronze and the Gold? And finally, war is a national effort, not just material but moral, ergo nations win wars not just armies. Peace, out!

February 21, 2003, 10:31 AM
Interesting info has become available since the end of WWII (and also since the end of the Cold War) on the Koenigstiger and Jagdpanther. Apparently both these vehicles were, indeed, equipped with very hard steel armor. Indeed, it was too hard. Photos of the captured King Tigers used for gunnery tests by the Russians show armor that shattered (especially when hit near defective welds) by large-caliber weapons. This may not have meant much if you were in a short-barreled Sherman or T-34/76c, but it meant a lot if you were behind the sight of a Russian 85- or 100-mm gun, an American 90mm, or even a 17-pounder firing APDS rounds.

Also, here’s a scenario to ponder: A Tiger I is behind a shallow reverse slope at the edge of some woods with only the upper hull and turret showing. Scattered in the woods around it are a handful of Panzerfaust teams. An American tank battalion on the advance stumbles across this setup. The lead platoon engages the Tiger, and two or three Shermans get brewed up. Meanwhile, as the other platoons fan out through the woods to take the Tiger from the flanks or rear, another couple get treads blown off or k-killed by Panzerfaust teams, who then decide that discretion is the better part of valour, and fade back into the woods. About this time, an “Easy Eight” has worked its way around the Tiger, and puts a 76mm shell into the engine compartment, reducing the big Maybach to so much scrap, and peppering the loader with spall from the engine bulkhead. The Tiger crew, with an immobile tank, a wounded loader, and no power traverse for the turret, decides that a crippled track isn’t the place to be when the surrounding countryside is crawling with American armour and Jabos are sure to show up soon, so, grabbing their wounded loader, they sensibly unass their broken panzer and head for the rear with the gear. As each succeeding American platoon comes up, they’re going to see the same thing: a Tiger perched at the edge of the woods. A knocked out tank and a live one look pretty much the same, so each platoon is going to do something called “knocking on the door to see if anyone’s home”: ie popping off a round or two at the stationary German tank. Pretty soon, the Tiger’s mantlet and glacis plate are peppered with gouges from 75mm shells.

Now, a day or two later, when the area is now in the Yank rear, anybody who comes along is going to see five or six burned-out Shermans and one knocked-out Tiger with 20 or 30 divots in its frontal armour. What kind of reports and war stories do you think that’ll lead to? ;)

mons meg
February 21, 2003, 11:10 AM
CWL: Isn't that pretty much what I said?

February 21, 2003, 06:17 PM
Now, a day or two later, when the area is now in the Yank rear, anybody who comes along is going to see five or six burned-out Shermans and one knocked-out Tiger with 20 or 30 divots in its frontal armour. What kind of reports and war stories do you think that’ll lead to?

This is a valid point but there are other factors that can contribute to the stories. Anyone ever hear of SS Captain Michael Wittman? He had 138 tank kills, more than half in a Tiger. His Tiger almost singlehandedly brought the attacking British 7th Armoured Division to a complete halt in Villers-Bocage. When you're fighting guys like this, it's understandable when soldiers get somewhat awestruck. Wittman was so good that he was claimed to have been killed by British Army, RAF, Canadian, and Polish units.

February 21, 2003, 08:44 PM
You have read a great deal on WW2 and armored warfare also;) You have been holding back. Your situation is quite possible but it would be the exception to the rule, even the Italians knew you would not put your tank in an area which favored the infantry, any tank is at a disadvantage in wooded or buildup areas that offer concealment. It did happen of course but only in desperate situations where proper infantry protection was not possible. You are right, it took about 5 Shermans on average to defeat a panther or Tiger tank! Tank destroyers (M18-M36)were seldom used in the offensive against German tanks by the allies. It was tried but they fared even worse than the Sherman, Cruiser, Cromwell, Churchhill, ect. The best tank destroyer(at least at that time) was another tank which had enough gun AND enough armor protection. This was not true of the german mobile anti-tank guns, they had better guns and armor than their allied counterparts and were quite successful, by 1944 more assault ATVs were made by the germans than tanks. they were quicker and cheaper to make and more effective than any American or British tank or anti tank. As far as the tests done on the armor plate, I have never read this study or heard about it, none the less I think you will agree that (as most do) that German steel/armor was better than any allied effort. Also it is a fact that most German armor plate was face hardened during 1943 and after. This was an improvement not a defect, it was intended to increase the penetration reistance of the armor. It suceeded, at least the germans and allies thought so. The face hardening was going on for a year before the allies knew about it. At a British HQ in Africa a German Mark III was on display as a trophy. It was there for over a year until a British officer (R&D Tech) out of boredom decided to take a real close look and discovered the improvement. Again, by '44 the German army was defeated. It just took longer for than to lose than the French. I disagree that they acted like the French and no American, British, or German history has ever hinted that they did. My comments are not revisionism, I do not study that kind material as it does not interest me. I read about the same battle from several perpectives from several authors from different countries. All are recognised experts in their field, thats the best I can do and am doing to get the objective(hopefully) truth. My father was an American Tanker in WW2 serving with the 741st tank battlion, I feel it is unlikely to be bias against the American Army of any time. Also official histories are for the most part based on after action reports from Both sides of the conflicts. As you know, company sized units (and larger) kept records on a day to day bases. It may not be perfect but its the best we have and I think when its all said and done it paints a very accurate picture of WW2.

February 21, 2003, 08:59 PM
I was hoping someone would bring this engagement up. Whitman in his Tiger tank along with a battery of 88's and some help from a company of Mark 4's did just what Danny Boy says. Its' interesting to note that Whitman was killed later not by an allied tank but by a rocket firing typhoon. He and his crew's remains were retrieved not too many years ago and buried with full military honors. Also another very important advantage the Germans had were there optics, The 88's and 75's could defeat MOST allied tanks at 1000 meters or more, the record being a T-34 at 2100 meters by a Tiger's 88. Because of the superior optics the German could ID their targets much sooner than the enemy, who more often than not had to get within 500 meters or less to penetrate the armor of the Panther or Tiger I or II. Also Germans with there superior armor could afford to fire from a stationary position. Allied tanks were taught to shoot on the move, less accurate which was really needed but who could blame them?

Stephen Ewing
February 21, 2003, 11:38 PM
A few general thoughts on a very fractured thread:

A) I’m betting on the modern platoon because the situations that favor modern toys are more numerous than the situations that favor the heavier bullets. It’s still not that hard to come up with a scenario where the WW2 platoon wins.
B) Wittman’s cause of death is very unclear. Typhoons and Shermans both have good claims, ISTM, but I’m betting on the Sherman.
C) Forget the tankers for a minute. German 88s knocked out multiple T-34s beyond 3,000 meters, and there is at least one halfway serious claim of a 7,000-meter kill on a T-34. That’s credible shooting even by navy standards.
D) Comparing Patton and Monty says more about the person doing the comparing than about either general, IMO. Neither was nearly as good as he thought he was, both had flaws, and both were very successful regardless. Both were really very good, but I don’t consider either to be the best of his era, or his nationality.
E) The Red Army defeated Nazi Germany. This is pretty much in the realm of fact, rather than opinion. Granted, they might STILL be working their way towards Berlin without boots, fuel, wire, and Studebakers, and the elegance of their work has its critics, but they did the work, and Bagration makes Overlord look like a day at the beach. The Western Allied ground forces measure their success in Europeans freed from Soviet dominion, rather than Nazi, so I’m not diminishing their sacrifice or their success, merely quibbling over which horror they contained. .
F) The U.S. certainly did poorly at Kasserine, but relative to the Russian or British introduction to Blitzkrieg, the G.I. did okay. Like our allies with uglier uniforms, the American fighting man got better as the war went on, he just started later. The gentlemen in the gray or black uniforms seem to have gotten worse, curiously.
G) Don’t forget the Firefly in any armor discussion. Nothing clearly outgunned it, little could really outmaneuver it, and the few that could out-armor it probably wouldn’t run long enough to do so.
H) Blame Leslie McNair for those bad American tank guns. One of the few positive things a strategic bomber ever accomplished was killing him.
I) American artillery’s superiority was in relatively unlimited ammunition supply and fire control better than anybody but the Finns. The hardware wasn’t really that different.
J) For subs, ignoring the clearly superior late-war German boats, the VII-C and its handling make it best against a serious ASW campaign, but if the enemy is utterly incompetent, then the American boats can multiply that advantage. Have to give the nod to the Germans here.
K) Assuming both populations can be motivated (very iffy, at best) the US/UK combo would have run amok on the Russians. Sudden Russian shortages of sundries, combined with Meteors, B-29s, traffic deserts, and American logistic capabilities make this simply murderous. Never mind what happens when the nukes start dropping, all that carrier aviation appears, the Marines arrive, and all those swabbies on fleet vessels get handed rifles. If the Americans had actually planned this, and increased or even maintained military production in 1944 along with abandoning the “90 division gamble”, it would have been even more ridiculous.

Egad, this thing wandered.


February 22, 2003, 12:30 AM
Using Wittmann as an example of your typical panzer commander is like using Alvin York as an example of your typical doughboy. ;)

February 22, 2003, 01:10 AM
Tank vs. tank encounters, while critical to the crews, are vastly over-rated on this thread. The fact of the matter is, a German tank had far less to fear from a Sherman's weak 75mm or a Pershing's high-velocity 90mm cannon. It was 105mm howitzer shells raining down on the paper-thin top-plate armor of German tanks that caused so many to fall to ruin. US artillery was queen of the battlefield in WWII, and Panzers had far more to fear from spotters directing accurate fire on their heads than they had from anti-tank encounters.

February 22, 2003, 01:40 AM
Using Wittmann as an example of your typical panzer commander is like using Alvin York as an example of your typical doughboy.

I never said he was a typical panzer commander. It's probably a good thing he wasn't or things may have been somewhat different. Knowing you were fighting against someone like Wittman doesn't do much for morale, IMO.

B) Wittman’s cause of death is very unclear. Typhoons and Shermans both have good claims, ISTM, but I’m betting on the Sherman.

Here's an excerpt from Steel Inferno by Maj. Gen. Michael Reynolds:
For some time after the war it was thought that Wittman had died when his tank was surrounded by a number of Canadian Shermans and shot to pieces. Later, in the 1980's, credit was given to A Squadron of the British 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry which, it will be remembered was in a defensive position just south of St. Aignan-de-Cramesnil during the period in question, and most commentators were content with this version. However, Hubert Meyer, the former Chief of Staff of 12th SS, recently added to the controversy by writing in the (Old Comrades) magazine Der Freiwillige, that tank number 007 (Wittman's) was hit in the engine compartment by a rocket fired from a Typhoon which blew off the turret.
Personally, I believe Mr. Meyer because he had nothing to gain by saying this. Unlike the Allied units involved that all wanted credit for killing Wittman.

February 22, 2003, 03:24 AM
While Whittman was not a typical example of the German AFV crew of WW2, he wasn't far from it. The length and quality of training of the panzer crews was the best of any combatant country and they pretty much maintained that high standard till the end of the war. German tank crew morale was always very high and they had a great deal of confidence and trust in their AFV's till the end. It's for sure no allied tank crew had their german counterparts confidence after '42/43. By the end of '44 American manpower for FRONTLINE service was becoming scarce and hard to come by. Bloated rear support units were raided and turned into combat replacement troops. Since it was a common belief that the war "wouldn't last much longer" the US Army had already shut down most of their tank schools:eek: . By late '44 and all of '45 often times untrained troops were given a FEW hours of instruction (less than a day) in tank operation and then committed to frontline battle. Needless to say their survival in the "Ronson Lighter" was shorter than most. England's severe manpower shortage finally occurred soon after Normandy. Thats another reason Monty became even more careful and timid in battle, he was informed by his government that large manpower losses would/could not be replaced and he was ordered to restrict his operations accordingly, the situation only worsened as the war continued. A "Bridge too Far" was a gamble by Monty to end the war while he still had the manpower to fight. The operation was considered to be a 90% success, if that matters.

Question: how do you determine the length of a german tank tube? They expressed the length of their gun tubes by a multiple of there caliber.
a 50 mm L70 barrel would be: 50X70=3500mm, 3500 divided by 25.4 (=inch)=137.79 inches divided by 12 (a foot)= about 11.5 feet long. I must be dumb, but it took me years of research before I found a book that explained their formula. The authors would always give the demensions of the AFV in feet and inches and then quote the barrel length as something like 88/L70. Maybe the authors didn't know the fomula either :D

February 22, 2003, 05:02 AM
B) Whittmans cause of death has been cleared up, his tank and his remains were discovered by retreating german infantry. They buried Whittman and his crew on the spot and made a full report.

D) Both would be considered 2nd or 3rd string at best in the German Army of WW2.

G) the Sherman Firefly was an improvement developed by the British first (17 pounder) then pretty much forced upon the American armor board (" it can be done")with the 76mm. Although a more powerfull anti-tank/aircraft gun than the weak 75mm, it was never a match against the Panther or Tiger except at close range or a side or rear shot at long range. It stiil had inferior armor and optics compared to the Germans but it was a pretty fair match against the MKIVF2 which was much more common on the battlefield than either the panther of tiger for which it was often mistaken for "Tiger Fever". Another Sherman modification was the "JUMBO" with additional heavy armor applied. But again the increased protection did not make it a worthy match, it turned a fast medium tank into a slow moving german target. Its' importance like the Firefly was that it helped toimprove the morale of the American tankers who increasingly viewed there duty assignment as suicidal.

H) I have never heard or read that point of view about McNail. He was one of the most highly regarded and respected soldiers of the American Army, by his speers. Besides, McNair had little input on tank design or production, he was an administrator not a combat general. He was in Europe seeking input and advice from fellow generals, not giving it. Its a matter of record that Patton vetoed the early introduction of the M26, we all make mistakes.

I) True

J) Valid point but the late model XXI(?) was not yet perfected but it was good enough to be the best. The VIIC could dive deeper (record or 920 ft) and turn on a dime but none the less the german sub service had the highest losses of ANY service in WW2 75%! :what:

K) Again the US was involved with Japan, the B29 was never deployed to Europe, the Americans only had 3 bombs, one for test and two for Japan. America had no more nukes and it would be months before they had the materials to produce another(Stalin was aware of this). Current events demonstrate that it takes months(about 6, at best) to deploy forces it probably would have taken 1945-46 America longer. By the time we amassed our forces(what did we do with Japan, surrender?) who would we bomb with our two or three bombs, London, Paris, Madrid? Do you really believe that after the 20 million+ losses they had suffered and endured at the hands of Germany that they would surrender now? The russians were already in Europe, their production output was almost as good as ours, their armies out numbered ours with better/more lethal equipment in most cases, plus they STILL had plenty of manpower. Maybe our Air Forces could have held them off for a year or so but I doubt it, after our first 100,000 losses we would have negotiated an "honorable" peace and beat a path home, hung Patton in the village square and quoted Washington's advice about "entanglements with other nations".

February 22, 2003, 10:53 AM
Boy I haven't talked this much since the cop gave me a speeding ticket.:D

February 22, 2003, 11:19 AM
How come on the General Forum we can only view 4 clickable pages of the thread, when there are 6? Must be a bug!

Stephen Ewing
February 22, 2003, 11:48 PM
Some amplification:

B) Wittman’s death is still pretty murky: Cross (1997) says tanks; d’Este (1983, 1994) seems to think tanks; Edwards (1989) is another believer in tanks; Kurowski (1992) asserts tanks while his editor mentions the Typhoon but doesn’t make a call; Reynolds’ (1997 again) next sentence after the earlier quote from Steel Inferno was “The only thing therefore which can be said with any certainty is that Wittman did not survive the 8th August fighting against the British, Canadians, and Poles,” while he also points out that most accounts rely heavily on “supposition and uncorroborated statements;” the 1944 belief in tanks started with the aforementioned Oberfuhrer Meyer’s interrogation of the Germans nearby; Tout (1998) flatly contradicts the Typhoon idea in detail and supports the tankers case at length albeit subjectively while pointing out that the remains-still in and around the tank-were in the hands of the British the next day; Hastings (1984) says tanks, and I don’t have it handy, but I believe Tiger Ace says tanks; Jentz’ Panzertruppen is annoyingly silent. I believe I’m on pretty firm ground when I say we simply do not know how Wittman died, and I’m gonna agree with Reynolds, while what little amount I would bet on this one still goes with the majority of the authors I can find on the subject who actually take a stand.

D) I guess we need heroes and Patton and Monty were the closest thing. I still think they were both very good, with some blemishes, and I’ll not argue either was exceptional and in Guderian or Manstein's class (or Lee or Wellington's), but winning has to count for something, doesn’t it?

G) Advantages of the Firefly over the T-34/85: Better armor, better gun, better radio, approx three times the operating time between failures. Advantages of the Firefly over the Panther: No torsion bar failures, no serious shot traps, engine doesn’t get rebuilt every 10 tanks of gas, Firefly needs external help to catch fire. Advantages of the Firefly over the Tiger: Recovery vehicles could actually pull a Sherman, ground loading permitted movement through mud, much faster turret traverse than any German tank, no major blind side (right for the Tiger) problems, replacing a road wheel didn’t require disassembling half the tank, five times the track life of any German tank. There is more to tank evaluation than gun+glacis, and on this forum more than any other, I expect reliability to count heavily in any weapons comparison, which the Firefly wins going away, as well as mobility. Also, I’d suggest that the German optics meant more on the Russian front than against the Anglo-Americans, since German tanks all alone in the middle of open country had this habit of blowing up on the western front, which tended to discourage sniping, as well as closing distances to the point where armor was less decisive. Don’t knock the M4A3E2, BTW. It did quite well as the designated target at the head of convoys. The fact that a 30 ton Sherman derivative needs 45 and 60 ton German tanks to get relative inferiority in any sphere ain't bad, though.

H) McNair was the fella who started the idea that high velocity tank rounds only result in destroying the rifling that much faster, and got American guns limited to those cheesy little rounds which were easy on the tubes. Yeah, he was an administrative type, and what later generations of G.I.s would call a REMF. Patton’s thoughts on the M26 are, in retrospect, a mistake, but in his defense, M4s did more in Korea than M26s, which seems to say something. What it says I’m not sure, but I’ll suggest that Korea supports my Firefly fetish as it illustrates the mobility and reliability of the chassis, as well as supporting the notion that it was better than the T-34/85. I’m trying to tie the Panthers that fell victim to up-gunned Shermans in Israeli hands into this, and I’m darned if I can pull it off.

J) The crash dive times of the VII are what made it able to handle its environment better than any contemporary boat. The U-bootwaffe was unique in that it remains the only submarine force ever to be involved in a real shooting war against a truly ticked-off first class opponent, let alone two at once or in multiple wars. Their casualty rates reflect that quality opposition, but there is every reason to believe that nobody else would have done half as well. If you were to switch U-47 and the USS Cavalla, I firmly believe the Cavalla would have done U-47’s job worse than the other way around, whichever way the crews go.

K) Let’s concentrate for a moment on why the Germans never even attempted to fight a battle of maneuver with the Anglo-Americans in Europe, preferring to dash from one line to the next: The 8th and 9th USAAFs together with the RAF had ~30,000 front line aircraft and the only source of either jets or high-octane fuel in Europe by VE day. Adding the 15th AF, whatever friendly Germans can be found, strategic bombers and this is not any better for the Red Air Force than it is for the Red Army’s logistical train, and both would last a matter of weeks at best facing the overwhelming air assets already in theater, although Soviet offensive operations become impossible immediately in the face of western aerial supremacy. The USAAF-induced “Deutsche Blick” would have become the Russian Look very quickly, and then the Russians would face the only completely motorized army in the world with their limited ability to supply an army at the front all but destroyed, with what was left of their air force operating on low-octane fuel, with a meaningful cut in their food supply, no replacements for trucks or locomotives (the USSR built precisely eight locomotives in 1945) destroyed by Anglo-American airpower, and without any meaningful source of boots or telephone wire. Remember those M4A3E8s and T-34/85s in Korea? Add in superior American artillery with VT fuses, vastly superior Anglo-American counter-battery fire, ridiculously superior Anglo-American radios and C3, those friendly Germans again, and I’m not going to cut the USSR much slack on the ground forces comparison, and the American mobility would be as rude a shock to the Soviets as the Anglo-American tactical airpower. The English-speakers don’t even need to convoy anymore and gain a 30% supply increase simply from shipping congestion disappearing, so logistics get even more lopsided. Add to the above second transportation plan the fact that by VJ day the US had 2,500 operational B-29s, and that the Soviets had absolutely no conceivable means of stopping them or conquering enough of Africa, Alaska, and all of Asia to trouble their bases, and little enough means of stopping B-17s or Lancasters, and Soviet war making capability goes downhill in a hurry. Make no mistake: It would have cost us much more than 100,000 casualties for no conceivable gain, but it could only have gone one way, and that was east. Oh, and take a look at the Olympic plans. Start with a half-dozen nukes….

When pulled over for speeding, try the following: "Actually officer, I'm a laboratory mouse engaged in the early stages of a plot to take over the world. Rest assured that my regime, when successful, will result in substantially increased funding for law enforcement." :evil:


February 23, 2003, 12:32 AM
Debut of T-34/85 vs. Koenigstiger: In sPzAbt 501s eastern front debut, Lt. Oskin used his T-34/85 to get k-kills on 3 PzKw-VIbs at Ogledow.

Russkie supertanks,
Exerpts from Chrysler's 1951 analysis of captured T-34/85: "Rough steering due to clutch-and-brake steering control", "rough ride due to an absence of shock absorbers", "excessive [interior] noise due to a solid mounting of the engine to the hull and the absence of a muffler, all-steel tracks contributed to this", "clash-shift transmission and dry clutch", "liquid cooling system vulnerable to loss of coolant from small arms fire and concussion", "wholly inadequate engine air filters could be expected to allow early engine failure due to dust intake", "no turret basket", "poor fire-fighting equipment", "poor electrical weatherproofing", "no aux. generator to keep batteries charged", and "lack of a means to heat engine oil for cold weather starts". Incidentally, more than one T-34 radiator was found to have its capacity reduced by as much as half due to sloppy soldering.

The M-4 pioneered quick-change powerpacks, wet ammunition stowage, and gyrostabilization of the main gun. As Stephen Ewing pointed out, "There is more to tank evaluation than gun+glacis".

Those Panthers and Tigers sure looked really cool, though, and had big guns and thick armour. Wonder why modern tanks don't use electric drive and interleaved road wheels? ;)

February 23, 2003, 01:38 AM
The two platoons would go out for brewskies.

February 23, 2003, 01:43 AM
Viking is right about his comments. Very few did most of the work (killing) because they had an agressive spirit and were not troubled my their actions. It takes a "special " kind of person to be a killing machine and escape imprisonment at the same time. Often times the decision for some is, die in combat or go to Hell for killing my fellow man. Remember, these people had weeks and months to think about their actions, often times these actions were and are in direct conflict with their childhold upbringing. How many of you were taught in grade school or Sunday school that its the right thing to do when you kill the "enemy"?

This reminds me of the criticism being heaped on Col. Charles Askins for being such a killer. Hell, the man had a military career. That was his job.

I also recall reading about criticism being heaped on snipers by regular infantrymen. The regular grunts didn't like the snipers because they were such "killers". Such criticism seems odd to me because its a soldier's job to kill the enemy. What is a sniper but a superior rifleman?

February 23, 2003, 07:41 AM
Snipers have almost always been looked down on by others. Its more the circumstances of the kill and the often lack of any fair play. The target might not be armed but because of the distances involved the option of the "target" surrendering is removed. Kind of like being killed by bombs or shells. It's a fact of war and the purpose of war but its always been viewed as lacking honor and courage. Sgt. York and Audi Murphy killed fewer enemy soldiers than any of the F-117's flying in Iraq but because it require greater personal courage on their part, they got the medals and the pilot just got another mission. Being a sniper (despite the training) does have alot in common with murder. If the shoe fits wear it, if you don't like it then do what everyone else does, join a more honorable trade. It may require more personal courage but no one ever said Honor comes easy.

February 23, 2003, 08:17 AM
Being a sniper (despite the training) does have alot in common with murder. If the shoot fits wear it, if you don't like it then do what everyone else does, join a more honorable trade. It may require more personal courage but no one ever said Honor comes easy.

That does not seem logical to me. A rifleman is there to shoot the enemy. A sniper is simply a superior rifleman with greater effective range.

I think the criticism levelled at snipers for being such killers is evidence that there is some truth to the theory that only 15% of infantrymen are shooters.

I think this increasing pacifism shows through in Western society. The anti-war marches in the United States and Europe a few days ago were larger than anything seen in the 1960's. The gun control movement and the anti-death penalty movement also bear this out.

February 23, 2003, 08:25 AM
Most of your comments are good as long as your conclusion is:

1. The combat vets of WW2, for good reason would have preferred the protection and gun tubes of the Panther, Tiger I, Tiger II, and T-34 plus a half a dozen other ATF's instead of the Sherman. Note: Their is a documented case where a Grayhound armored car (37mm) defeated a Tiger tank in combat one on one, no tricks. Yet that doesn't make a serious case for the Grayhound being a match against the Tiger does it. Putting a 105mm on the Sherman made it more lethal but not the better tank.

2. Was the T-34 a manufactured masterwork? Heck no but it got the job done better than the Sherman in most cases, not all. Some T-34's went to battle without a paint job, that doesn't change their combat performance. Their were defects in their armor due to mass production and they may have been more uncomfortable for their crews due to their bare bones design but they were still more lethal than the M-4. If I was a Sherman tank (any WW2 version) crewman going up against a german or russian tank I would hope(pray) my tank breaks down BEFORE I ever got close to the shooting.

3. The Sherman was used in Korea and was more common than the M26 because of the massive budget cuts after WW2. The Army and the Navy were hard pressed to get money from congress. The Air Force was the "War Winner" and got the money. Remember, Korea was called the WWII "war surplus" war because we pretty much used WW2 left overs, but not by choice.


If I remember correctly, the Tigers were deployed on unfavorable ground and were in single file due to the muddy road conditions and driving thru a wooded area. Hitler insisted they be deployed as soon as they were unloaded against the better judgement of his generals who wanted to wait for better road conditions. They were ambushed, not unlike the Grayhound incident mentioned above. The Panther Model 'D' fared even worse went it was first deployed. Again, against the wishes and advise of Hitlers generals. Still they were both superior tanks to the T-34. When are you going to mention the J. Stalin tank with it's 120 mm main gun?:)

February 23, 2003, 08:49 AM
If war broke out between the USA and the USSR back in '45, I think US air power would have made all the difference.

US infantry with M1 Garands would have had greater effective range over Soviet units armed primariy with PPSH41 SMG's and have had greater firepower than Soviet troops still using the old Mosin-Nagant bolt rifles.

Shermans -vs- T34? Shermans with American air support will win everytime. The mobility of the Sherman would be an asset in the vastness of the Russian front.

February 23, 2003, 09:08 AM
It took me a second read of your post to catch this:Firefly needs external help to catch fire.


Maybe MAN picked up some unemployed ex-Heinkel engineers from the He-177 project on the cheap. ;)

February 23, 2003, 09:12 AM
Air power didn't need the Sherman, its the other way around. Our air power is the only thing that had a chance to slow down the Russian advance. Airpower accounted for more destroyed German tanks than the Sherman or any American or British AFV. With poor weather, air power could not have stopped the Russian Juggernaut, I don't think they could have stopped the Russian advance even on a bright shiney day, just hinder it. It would have taken the Russians longer to count the allied prisoners and dead than to send them back across the channel (3-5 weeks) but I think the politians would have surrendered sooner to prevent more horrible losses. It would have been the Battle of the Bulge all over again but with a very different outcome. IMHO.

February 23, 2003, 09:30 AM
2. Was the T-34 a manufactured masterwork?

We are not talking "loveably crude", like an AK or PPsH, here; we are talking "suffering from major design and manufacturing defects". There's a reason that supposedly inferior German tanks could outfight them; your tank could have the thickest armor and best gun in the world, but if the crew's been pounded senseless and deafened in a cramped, hot, stinking space on the drive into combat, and then the engine overheats, or the driver stalls out shifting the crash gearbox (did you know that the KV-1 couldn't shift gears while moving?) it doesn't do you much good... There's more to a tank than "Main gun + glacis".

If I was a Sherman tank (any WW2 version) crewman going up against a german or russian tank I would hope(pray) my tank breaks down BEFORE I ever got close to the shooting.

Easy Eights and Fireflies did okay against T-34/85s in Korea, would there be some magic ingredient in the European air to change that? ;)

When are you going to mention the J. Stalin tank with it's 120 mm main gun?
It was a 122, actually. The IS-3 and its successor, the T-10M were the bogeymen of the West for a long time post-war, sparking the design of such inanities as the Conqueror. Until, that is, Israelis shot them up left and right with Super Shermans and 20-pounder Centurions...

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 09:35 AM
American airpower, American airpower. Its nice to see some things never change. We always place our total cofidence in our airpower. As good as it was, however it still would not have stopped the Soviets because by the time the war ended the Soviets were already mass producing some really good fighters and ground attack aircraft. So they didnt have a long range heavy bomber; THEY DIDNT NEED ONE!.

The soviet Yak 9 for instance was so dominant in combat that the Luftwaffe ordered its pilots to avoid intercepting any Yaks below 16,400ft. German pilots also reported formations of soviet groundattack planes so thick they could not see where the formation started and ended. Soviet airpower concentrated on airsuperiority and groundattack.

Keep in mind that everything the Russians built was getting better toward the end of the war and like telewinz said they STILL had tons of manpower even after gettin the tar stomped out of them by the Germans. Yes the Mustang was awesome, the Typhoons and P-47's were all absolutely AWESOME planes, and the mighty 8th was the stuff of legends, and while they were all fine and good, the Russians would have found a way to deal with them just like they had found a way to deal with whatever the Germans threw at 'em.

As far as arty goes, yes American equip. and fire and control were second to none. Everybody knows that the Soviets were relativley crude in comparison.{heck most T-34's didnt even have radios the comander having to stick his head out the hatch and give hand signals!} Nevertheless, the reason that Stalin refered to his arty as the Russian god of war was sheer numbers! The Soviets had SO MANY artillery pieces! I would not have wanted to be that poor German on the recieving of that bombardment.

I'll wrap it up by saying that It wouldnt have been easy for the Soviets but with decent equip, equal production, superior manpower, equal leadership, YEARS of fighting the best the world had to offer? Lets just say its a good thing Patton kept his big mouth shut.

February 23, 2003, 09:56 AM
But designers have to put a priority on the many desirable features in a tank. Had the T-34 provided for better crew comfort and had radios it would be considered the best tank of WW2 not the second best. All tank designs of WW2 had short comings but the final factor/judgement is their ability to out-survive the enemy AFVs on the battlefield. That is why the Panther, ect. are considered the best but not the perfect tanks of WW2. That animal still doesn't even today.

Six gun:

Do I feel military snipers have honor performing their trade? IMHO no:barf: We like to believe and teach our soldiers that their is honor in War. For a soldier to have honor, he (not his weapon) must be respected. Was their honor and respect in WW2? Yes mainly between the British and the Germans. Has their been much in the way of honor on the battlefild since WW2? Not as much as I would like to believe. I think it's a thing of the past by and large and may not even belong on the modern battlefield. Military snipers IMHO are like gas/bio warfare, it exists but that doesn't mean ii isn't evil.:barf:

February 23, 2003, 10:09 AM
Med 10 is right again, plus that fact that even through allied air power in the long run MAY have defeated Russian air power(would not have happened over night you know), by the time they would have obtained air superiority (and been able influnce the ground war) the issue would have been already decided in favor of the russians on the ground. The Russian air force didn't need to win the air war, just buy time for their ground forces and delay the allies' victory in the air. It would be a repeat of May/June, 1940 all over again, the only difference is the AFV's would have had Red Stars painted on them.

February 23, 2003, 10:21 AM
The Finns were doing quite well with F2A Brewster Buffalo and German ME-109 fighters against the Soviet air force.

Bring in the American Air Force with P-51, P-47, and P-38 fighters and the Soviet Air Force would be shot out of the air. B-17 and B-24 bombers will have had some impact on Soviet industry and oil fields. With diminished industrial capacity, to say nothing of the end to lend-lease, the soviets would quickly run out of equipment and spare parts necessary to fight a mechanized war.

The Soviet Union would also soom be fighting a second front as the US comes in from the east. B-29 airbases in Siberia would destroy even more of the Soviet industry.

Lets not forget about the USN. The Black sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Barents Sea would be quickly secured.

February 23, 2003, 10:47 AM

You sound like the old British redcoats complaining about the American frontiersmen that were taking aimed shots with longrifles.

Again, a sniper is merely a superior rifleman. They do what all riflemen are supposed to do which is to engage the enemy with aimed fire.

Now in the "real world", alot of people believe in the spray & pray principle. I guess that the "common man"with an aversian to killing would prefer this method as they can just close their eyes and shoot full auto in the general direction of the enemy. (Assuming the theory about 15% rule is really true)

I fail to see how it is more honorable. I only see it as ineffective.

February 23, 2003, 11:13 AM
New guys.

No question.

February 23, 2003, 11:21 AM
Your conclusions avoid a great deal. First, Japan was not defeated yet, by the time they were, the Russians would have finished us off in Europe. Our Pacific forces would have been our ONLY effective allied military force by the end of '45. If the Marines invaded Siberia, woo be to them as they battled the MIGHTY Sherman tank. You know where the russians sent all the allied armor we lend-leased them? Siberia! Even the Russians considered the Sherman only superior and worthwhile in combat against the Jap tanks(they were superior against to Ital's tanks also). All Shermans and other inferior imports were sent to Siberia in order to release the more effective Russian tanks (on guard against possible Jap invasion even after 1941/42) to the west to fight against the Germans. The Brewster was a bad joke, but it could hold its own against the biplanes the russians first used.in 1941. Like Med-10 said, there was a huge difference between 1941 and 1945 and I don't mean just time.:)

Why do you assume China would permit our flying B-29's from their airfields to attack Russia? Would not have happened unless we were planning to take on China also:eek:

February 23, 2003, 11:29 AM
No one said snipers were not effective or skilled, they are for the most part viewed as not having honor. A higher percentage of cooks and clerks recieved awards of valor or merit than snipers.

February 23, 2003, 11:32 AM
We need an area for weapons and warfare discussion. I haven't been this stimulated since I started sleeping in a double bed:D :evil:

February 23, 2003, 12:26 PM
Wish there was spell checker on this thing, my spelling leaves alot to be dIsiXXXred.:)

February 23, 2003, 01:03 PM
We need an area for weapons and warfare discussion.

Amen to that! I'm interested to know how people feel about Fritz Christen as compared to York or Murphy.

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 01:11 PM
HAHA Marines invadidng Siberia! after years of fighting in hot tropical conditions, the Russians would have destroyed them before they were even aclimated!.

What a lot of folks dont realize is that any U.S, ground campaign in the East would have run into a strong Soviet presence already engaging straggler Japanese units in the region. These soviets made VERY sort work of the remaining Japanese and would have destroyed any U.S. formations before they even had a foothold.

Think about it. The casualty estimates for a U.S. attack on the Japanese homelands ran about 100,000. the Americans considred those to be unacceptable losses; hence the "bomb". Now the Soviets on the other hand would have been 10 times the enemy to beat if any attempt were to be made to open an eastern front. U.S. casualtys would be even higher, and the Soviets would consider a major offensive with only 100,000 losses to be a major success. They lost 900,000 just taking Berlin and the immediate surrounding areas!

As far as the Finns go? Yes, they fought valiantly and bravely against the Soviets with whatever they had and would like to think they stopped the Reds, but the simple truth is that the Russians didnt commit too many forces against the finns, and a lot of the finns were supported by German units. When you have to fight along a front up to a thousand miles long you tend to spread youre forces pretty thin. Any SERIOUS Soviet commitment against the Finns would have been succesfull. Think about it. The Soviets can beat the Germans but not he Finns???.

Few people realize just how extensive the Russian rail system was, and they could zip back a nd forth from west to east with ease. They would move entire factories in mere days!

All in all I think an Allied effort from the East would be wrought with problems and eventually fail. the Soviets were just too strong.

telewinz is right about the Pershings collecting snow in Siberia. How many period photos have you seen of Barbarossa in which Pershings were seen ? I havent seen many. As a matter of fact the biggest contribution initially to the Russians were not weapons but our wonderful trucks!.

February 23, 2003, 02:09 PM
telewinz is right about the Pershings collecting snow in Siberia. How many period photos have you seen of Barbarossa in which Pershings were seen ? I havent seen many.

Er, Soviet "Pershings"? You maybe wanna go study up and come back to this discussion? ;)

February 23, 2003, 02:26 PM
Your conclusions avoid a great deal. First, Japan was not defeated yet, by the time they were, the Russians would have finished us off in Europe. Our Pacific forces would have been our ONLY effective allied military force by the end of '45. If the Marines invaded Siberia, woo be to them as they battled the MIGHTY Sherman tank.

You mean the Sherman that (in its M51HV guise) was being used to mop the floor with T-55s as late as 1973, long after everybody but the crudest Third World armies had ditched the T-34? Anyway, continue...

You know where the russians sent all the allied armor we lend-leased them? Siberia! Even the Russians considered the Sherman only superior and worthwhile in combat against the Jap tanks(they were superior against to Ital's tanks also). All Shermans and other inferior imports were sent to Siberia in order to release the more effective Russian tanks (on guard against possible Jap invasion even after 1941/42) to the west to fight against the Germans.

Guess those photos of Russkie M4A2(76mm)Ws I've seen from May '45 in Berlin were an hallucination... ;)

"The Soviet Army received 2,007 M4A2s with the 75mm gun and 2,095 M4A2(76mm)Ws, which were extensively used in the 1944 and 1945 campaigns in Central Europe... Although American military aid is played down in the Soviet Union, Soviet unit histories make it clear that American equipment was well-liked. At least one of the Soviet tankers to win the coveted 'Hero of the Soviet Union' decoration, V.A. Galkin of the 7th Guards Cavalry Corp's 31st Tank Regiment, commanded an M4A2 Sherman." - S. Zaloga, p.40

The Brewster was a bad joke, but it could hold its own against the biplanes the russians first used.in 1941. Like Med-10 said, there was a huge difference between 1941 and 1945 and I don't mean just time.

Tsk, tsk... Back to the research desk with you... ;) The export version Buffalo used by the Finns (...and sometimes referred to as the "Finnish Mustang" ;) ) was quite different from the USMC variant massacred at Midway. The export version (an earlier-design acft than the American one) lacked armour plate and many other features that the USMC insisted on, had smaller fuel tanks, and as a result was several hundred pounds lighter and a very nimble low-altitude dogfighter. Four Finnish aces scored more than 20 victories in type, and pilots generally refused D.XXIs, MS.406s, G.50s and other acft, not moving up until Bf-109Gs became available (and some retained their Brewsters even after that, refusing to trade maneuverability for guns and speed).

February 23, 2003, 02:50 PM
I think we all know Med 10 meant the Sherman tanks just like I mean to spell my words rite. Also, although the Finns gave the Russians a hard time, thats when the Russian willingness to absorb any loss to acheive their goal was first demonstrated. Kinda sounds like the US Marines:) Also the Finns joined the Germans in the attack on Russia in '41, but although the German's pleaded with the Finns(the Finns owned them) to join the assault against Leningrad they stopped at there re-captured border and refused to go farther. Also the estimated 100,000 casualties were for just stage one of the Japanese invasion, it only got worse from then onwards. Stage 2 and 3 got much, much worse. Also it is assumed that the forces being re-staged from Europe to help with the invasion of Japan would have been willing. Their was a very great concern by Truman and our military leadership that many European troops felt they had "done their share" and would rebell at being ordered to fight against Japan. It was estimated that whole American divisions would crease to exist after being committed to battle, some as few as 2 days! Truman's decision to use the bomb wasn't really all that difficult to make after all. Many thousands of lives were saved by dropping "the bomb". Why were the bombs dropped with such a short interval between the first and second? We had no more but we wanted the Japs to believe the 3rd or 4th drop were just days away if they did not surrender.

February 23, 2003, 03:12 PM
The US released 43 for export to Finland. They were known as the model 239(our F2A-1). They were armed with one .50 cal and one .30 cal machine gun, max speed was about 300 mph. You are right, they were not the same model used at Midway, they used the FINAL & IMPROVED model, the F2A-3 that was still easy meat for the Japs at Midway and elsewhere.

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 03:22 PM
Yes I meant the Sherman.

Also what makes you say that a Brewster will out manuever an ME-109 G?

Well, Tamara, looks like I'm gonna have to proof read my threads from now on. I see you like to go for the throat in youre discussion/debates. Its time to pull out some reference material. up till now this has all come out of my head. ;)

February 23, 2003, 03:34 PM
Also what tanks did Galkin knock out? Panthers, Tigers or were they just the inferior Panzer I &II's or maybe the 50mm MKIII or the short barreled 75mm MKIV. Because of shortages the Germans were forced to use these tanks way past their prime, as the Americans & Israels(sp, again) were forced to use modified Shermans to do a better tank's job. Doing a fair job on Monday doesn't mean the whole week was a sucess. Remember, Germany started the war with inferior tanks compared to the British (Matilda II) and French (Char B and one other tank starting with Su I can't spell):D

February 23, 2003, 03:49 PM
Tamara, Med 10, Six gun and one or two others have impressed me greatly with the information you have between your ears on WW2 our most popular war. I'd love to sit down at a bar with you all.:)

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 04:12 PM
telewinz, most definitly! Though I suspect it may get a little vocal in a good way!:)

This thread has caused me look for some forums of like. You got any ideas where to find them? Also its a pretty well known fact that the PanzerKampfWagen{sp?}3's and 4's were the work horses of the German army. If they could have manufactured more Tigers and Panthers certain engagements may have turned out different. I doubt it though. Germanys main problem was a shortage of fuel, and experienced crews lost to attrition. Lack of fuel also kept the training of new tank crews to a bare minimum.

{ A little side note here: before I go any further I just want ya'll to know who's side I'm on and i'm glad of the out come of WW-2,
but I must confess that i do admire the WW2 German military form a purely studious/ armchair generals perspective.}:)

February 23, 2003, 04:22 PM
The US released 43 for export to Finland. They were known as the model 239(our F2A-1). They were armed with one .50 cal and one .30 cal machine gun, max speed was about 300 mph. You are right, they were not the same model used at Midway, they used the FINAL & IMPROVED model, the F2A-3 that was still easy meat for the Japs at Midway and elsewhere.

You're missing the point on the Buffalo. The "final" F2A-3 model was hardly "improved"; it was much worse than the original. The Finnish ones has one .50 and one .30; the American models had four .50s, heavier armour, bigger tanks and were several hundred pounds heavier. These modifications turned what had been a nimble low-altitude turn fighter (a la the A6M2) into a sluggish, underpowered, slow-climbing deathtrap...

Also what tanks did Galkin knock out? Panthers, Tigers or were they just the inferior Panzer I &II's or maybe the 50mm MKIII or the short barreled 75mm MKIV. Because of shortages the Germans were forced to use these tanks way past their prime, as the Americans & Israels(sp, again) were forced to use modified Shermans to do a better tank's job. Doing a fair job on Monday doesn't mean the whole week was a sucess. Remember, Germany started the war with inferior tanks compared to the British (Matilda II) and French (Char B and one other tank starting with Su I can't spell)

Late model IVs and Vs and jagdpanzers.

The Matilda and Char B1 bis were only "superior" if you measure tanks by the simplistic "glacis + gun" formula. They were cramped, mechanically unreliable, had inferior vision, and high ground pressure. Even the otherwise excellent-for-its-day Somua was crippled by a one-man turret and abysmal ground pressure, plus a tendency to throw tracks during cross-country maneuvers.

There's more to what makes a good tank than "glacis + gun" and more to what makes armored warfare than two tanks popping shots at each other's front arc from 1,600 meters. I'm not even saying that the American tanks were superior, I'm just saying that those who look at a spec sheet and go "Ooh!Our Shermans had 100mm max armour and the Panther had 120! The Germans Ruled! And they had spiffy uniforms!" might not be looking at the whole picture... ;)

February 23, 2003, 04:28 PM
I could hit the books and get the answer but again thats cheating. I think only 1500 Tigers were ever made and were replace by the Panther because it was quicker and cheaper to make. I hate to make exact statements unless I'm certain and like I said, I've being reading this stuff for over 35 years. I want to understand WW2 not memorize it. Every book I get my hands on from Ike's "Crusade in Europe" to the more modern stuff from the military book club and others I read. I refuse to read anything that has a bias in one direction or another UNLESS they state the facts behind their conclusion. I have never been bored yet even though I have over 16 books on WW2 armored warfare alone. I'm starting to get real close to understanding WW2 but I'm not their yet.:)

February 23, 2003, 04:30 PM
I only "hit the books" for the Zaloga quote, although I can dig out more if you want.

I agree, though: hopefully someday I'll get to chat WWII with y'all over a beer or four... ;)

(Oh, here's part of the library; you may've noticed I'm kinda into this stuff... ;) )

February 23, 2003, 04:33 PM
...and some of the tanks:

(Top shelf, L to R: SdKfz.222, PzKw II, S.35 Somua, Matilda II, PzKw IVD, M3 Lee, PzKw VG.

Second shelf, L to R: M-41 Walker Bulldog, T-62A

Big stack to right: I have my work cut out for me... ;) )

February 23, 2003, 05:00 PM
Loaded book shelves make the VERY best COVER
you have a good hidey hole there.

February 23, 2003, 05:03 PM
Its possible for 2 people (or more) to look at the same evidence and come up with different conclusions. Armor plate and up-gunning with 2 more 50 cal machine guns(instead of just one) just might be viewed by a few as an improvement and make the aircraft a little more survivable. It was viewed as an improvement by the maufacturer, the US Government, England, the Dutch and some other Far East Governments and their pilots. It fought and won against more inferior aircraft, there was plenty of them around at that time. But by 1941 it was obsolete, just as the Jap Clyde with open cockpit was. Their were several B17 gunners that became aces against the FW190 and ME109's but that would not imply that the B-17 was as good or better than an FW190 for air supremacy. In general, I like most women, and I am a firm heteral sexual. I can say in a very few examples I dislike a woman or two,(sister-in-law) that doesn't mean I am gay(watch it) in general. In general, those on the band wagon feel that the Sherman was inferior to the Russian and German tanks made during 1943-1945. It is a fact, based on facts and the personal and professional opinion of educated historians both american, english, german and russian. The Sherman, Grant, Lee were all superior to the Panzer I, Panzer II, The Panzer MKIII 37mm and 50mm gun tubes, the short barreled 75mm Mark 4. It was only equal to the MKIVF2 with the long barreled 75mm and their are plenty of researchers that would argue that point. The examples you give are the exception, not the rule. I remain on the band wagon until someone can prove the Sherman had a 5-1 victory rate against the panther or Tiger. Looked at your pictures, I'm impressed but what do you do with that whip next to the leather boots?:evil:

February 23, 2003, 05:13 PM
Use your great influence to start a weapons and warefare forum. After shooting all 3, I choose the Browning .30 MG over the FG42 or MG34. Boy would that get things going.:D

Med 10:

Never found a Web site that discusses WW2 like we have. I'd be concerned about hurting the feelings of some delusional WW2 vet. Anyone convinced Patton was a World Class general might get violent. In negotiator class they said not to become involved in a delusional person's fantasy, its pointless.

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 05:14 PM
Tamara, you can say what you want, but when it come to MBT's thick armour and a big gun are definitly what seperates the men from the boys, and even though the other tanks you mentioned all have thier superlatives, It's kinda hard to stake a claim as the "best" battle tank if you aint got the punch to back up you're "crew comforts", Gas Mileage, am/fm cassette, and what have you.

The ability to destroy the enemy, and take a lot of damage and remain in the fight has been the dream of tank designers for decades.

I hold out that the Germans had the best AFV's of WW2.

February 23, 2003, 05:42 PM
15 reasons why the Sherman (model X-15) is better than Abrams M1A: (I'm sure their are many more, but I get headaches when I think hard).

1. Has better gas mileage.
2. Has a smaller diameter gun tube so it would be easier to shove it up the Abrams exhaust pipe, size matters.
3. Its a smaller target.
4. It doesn't have all that extra armor to "weight it down".
5. Its smaller so it can hide easier and has a smaller radar signature.
6. Its cheaper and easier to make so we can build a whole bunch of them.
7. It can be transported by aircraft.
8. It forces the crew to develope their stealth tactics and get REAL close before firing, we also save on ammo.
9. The "light" 75mm tube doesn't kick-up as much dust when fired and the ammo is cheaper to make.
10. They are STILL being used by the Israeli defence forces SO IT HAS TO BE GOOD!
11. Patton SAID it was good.
12. Its not as quiet as the Abrams so the enemy will hear it and run away.
13. It beat the best tanks GERMANY could throw against it at least a dozen times.
14. We used it against the T-34 (85mm) in Korea and beat it also a few times.
15. We didn't use it in Vietnam and look what happened!

OK I'm convinced, tomorrow I am e-mailing Brush about our poor gasmasks AND tanks. Please allow 1-2 weeks to get your medal in the mail.:D

February 23, 2003, 06:25 PM
Seems like the same debates/arguments I had with my childhood friends while playing 3rd Reich, Russian Campaign, Panzer Blitz, Panzer Leader and all those other Avalon Hill and SPI games of long ago.

February 23, 2003, 06:27 PM
What makes you think I'm still not playing them?:)

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 06:35 PM

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 06:36 PM
Are you serious? the Israelis are still using them?

February 23, 2003, 06:38 PM
OK I'm dumb again, what does ROTFLMAO mean? I don't know that they are still eing used, I hope not. But I am sure there are some people out their that THINK THEY SHOULD!:banghead:

February 23, 2003, 06:39 PM
rolling on the floor laughing my (bottom) off
I want to know whar IIRC means

February 23, 2003, 06:41 PM
Are you making fun of my spelling?:D

February 23, 2003, 06:43 PM
nope not at all
heckm it took me several weeks to figure out what IMHO was and how it related to a 1911:rolleyes:

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 06:46 PM
What does IIRC mean??

KY Moose
February 23, 2003, 07:02 PM
What does IIRC mean??

If I recall correctly.

Now I will get out of the way and continue to enjoy reading this thread. :p

February 23, 2003, 08:26 PM
Why did the Matida II and the French Char B have such thick armor if the German anti-tank guns were only 37mm?

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 08:32 PM
Ask Tamara.;)

February 23, 2003, 08:34 PM
The reason the Char B and the Matilda II had so much armor is because they were considered "Infantry Tanks" and the needed the added pertection against artillery, not anti-tank guns. They were intended to stay with the Troops and provided fire support, thats why they had such a slow speed. The German Mark IV had a short barreled 75mm for the higher explosive content, again not for its anti-tank performance. The Mark III which started out with a 37mm was intended as the anti-tank vehicle. Because of its smaller turret it could not be up-gunned beyond a 50mm but the MKIV's larger turret presented no problem. It eventually carried the same lethal 75mm as the panther. It was the ONLY AFV that remained in production thru out the war among any combatant.:D :evil:

Med 10
February 23, 2003, 09:01 PM
telewinz, I dont think Tamara is hitting the books, I think she's reading the sides of the boxes of all those model tanks!:p

February 23, 2003, 10:17 PM
Med 10, here is a forum that may be of interest to you. The panzer threads are about halfway down.

I had the honor of serving my country as a tanker quite a few years ago when the M-60A1 was the MBT. Someone touched on the fact earlier that the effectiveness of an AFV is a conglomeration of factors melded into a cohesive fighting platform. Armament, armor, signature, powerplant, suspension, fire control systems and even ergonomics come into play. We(US) were waay behind the other modern army’s mech forces in the early ‘80’s. If any of those late night alerts had actually meant protecting the Fulda Gap from the pouring Red horde we had a life expectancy of seconds, not minutes. The Leopards and Chieftains used to wax our rumps during Reforger. The 60 was a dino. The A3 config went a long way towards helping us in the fire control dept, so now we could punch effectively but we were still in a deathtrap that was too slow, too tall, with the armor of a box kite. Then they gave us the M1 Abrams. Ahhh. Turbine, Chobham, IVIS, ammo compart, NBC and low & sleek! The only thing to miss was the HEP and beehive rounds. I got out in ’84 so I was not one of those who put the Abrams to its ultimate test. Come to think of it, I don’t think the Iraqi’s did either ;) I guess what I am saying is that it all must come together to be a truly devastating fighting machine. Just some treadhead ramblings.
On a side note, I keep waiting for an anti war plea on the Grammy's. Nothing yet but I bet ya some bright bulb will step up for the cameras before it's over... We now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Stephen Ewing
February 23, 2003, 11:04 PM
Tamara, glad you liked the Panther jibe. :D It really did need the engine rebuilt every 1500 km, which blows my mind.

Telewinz, I hate to break this to you, but at 1000m, the Firefly's gun with APDS ammo will punch through the combined thickness of a Tiger's glacis+mantlet, and the Tiger cannot return the favor on the Firefly's armor with any ammo. The Panther is in the same boat. That game doesn't prove much, but the Germans' only hope was to have their guns compare better to the Allied armor than the other way around, right? FTR, the Konigstiger can actually turn things around, but the Firefly can still punch holes in either glacis or mantlet individually far enough out to be quite respectable. My premise that the German recovery issues, ground loading, and general reliability problems fail to offset their extreme vulnerability as platforms for inferior guns remains in place, thanks, although I will give the Germans credit for better glass. :D

Reminder for the Russophiles here: Soviet production in 1945 was NOT three-dimensional, and the complete absence of several items already mentioned would be fatal almost immediately. No high-octane aircraft fuel, no telephone wire, no more trucks, no more trains, no more food imports, and that's not even considering what the Anglo-Americans can ADD to the equation that the Germans couldn't, like jets, strategic bombers, motorized armies, Fireflies, radar, American artillery, etc.


February 23, 2003, 11:11 PM
Because of its smaller turret it could not be up-gunned beyond a 50mm

The PzKw IIIN carried the same 24-caliber 75mm gun as early Mk IVs. ;)

but the MKIV's larger turret presented no problem. It eventually carried the same lethal 75mm as the panther.

The largest gun carried by production Mk IVs was the 48-caliber 75. Krupp experiments to fit the Panther's 70-caliber gun into the tank were a failure. (Even the late model IVs with the 48-caliber gun were so nose-heavy as to wear out the front suspension in short order...) ;)

February 23, 2003, 11:15 PM
Don't forget that even the M4A2(76mm)W was recording k-kills on Panthers at 1600+ yards with HVAP ammunition... ;)

(Those forward ammo panniers behind the Panther's driver were a bad combination with the shot trap under the mantlet and the thin roof on the front hull. There's a reason why so many knocked-out Panthers have the turret upside-down in the dirt fifty yards away... :eek: )

Stephen Ewing
February 23, 2003, 11:32 PM
Tamara, you have a point about how the basic Sherman is underappreciated, and it is in so many ways a superior tank to the Ubertanks, but you're carrying the flag quite well for it here. The Firefly is such an orphan since the Americans couldn't accept the fact that those darn Limeys did a massive upgrade on an American tank, while the Brits can't deal with the fact that their best AFV of the war came from Detroit, and the whole thing gets to me. Nobody wants it, nobody ever publicizes it, and that's so sad, I just have to take it home. :(

Besides, that 17pdr gives it so much firepower it's just silly.:evil:


February 24, 2003, 12:27 AM
No one said snipers were not effective or skilled, they are for the most part viewed as not having honor. A higher percentage of cooks and clerks recieved awards of valor or merit than snipers.

Well that certainly reinforces the theory about how only 15% of troops are shooters.

Not having honor because they actually shoot to hit someone?

February 24, 2003, 01:05 AM
What a lot of folks dont realize is that any U.S, ground campaign in the East would have run into a strong Soviet presence already engaging straggler Japanese units in the region. These soviets made VERY sort work of the remaining Japanese and would have destroyed any U.S. formations before they even had a foothold

The Japanese were pretty much finished at this point of the war. The decision to use the A-bombs would have freed up alot of American forces for going into Sibera.

The Soviets would have initially been eatern up by US naval gunfire and naval air. Climate would be difficult for Marines and Army troops used to tropical conditions. Of course they would be well supplied with cold weather gear. The beachead would be secure.

Seabees would construct airbases and that would be the beginning of the end for what Soviet troops were based in the far east.

The big job would be to build and defend a railroad through the Siberian wilderness to keep the US forces supplied as they advance into Soviet territory. POW's can certainly be used for labor (make 'em work for their food/shelter).
I bet Chang Kai-Shek would have been able to spare a whole mess of coolies and troops in exchange for weapons and equipment to fight Moa Tse-tung's forces. That would speed up work on the railroad and keep it secure from paratroops and partisan forces.
Heck, alot of American troops could be freed up from occupation duties in Japan by having some of Chang Kai-Sheks troops take over occupational duties in Japan for US.

February 24, 2003, 01:24 AM
Why would we be fighting the Russians? I thought they were our allies at the time?

February 24, 2003, 01:31 AM
double post

February 24, 2003, 01:39 AM
The Russians under Stalin had no hope of defeating the US and Britain in Europe. Stalin knew it. First the US had Air Superiority which would have hammered the Russian troops, supply lines, manufacturing, and oil production and transport. Second the US manufacturing capability was greatly in excess of the Soviets and protected from bombing whereas the Soviets was not. Third the Japanese by May of 1945 were not an offensive threat to the US, therefore the US in the event of a Soviet attack in Europe would have been free to redirect massive forces, carriers, planes, and troops from the Pacific to Europe, and finish Japan later. Fourth, if Stalin had attacked in May of 1945, the atomic bombs would have been free if needed to be first used on him, since they had not yet been used on Japan. Fifth, even if the Soviets by some miracle had somehow forced the US and Britain off continental Europe before any of the above could come into play - (impossible outside of divine intervention) - the US and Britain would have been back in short order from England, (safe due to US and British navies and airforces), and aided by the bomb if necessary - B29's takes a few trips to Soviet cities and manufacturing sites and after a little argument it would all be over.

February 24, 2003, 01:44 AM
So why didn't we just start a war with them while we had the chance like Patton wanted us to?

February 24, 2003, 07:33 AM
Why do the vets of WW2 disagee with you? Why did they make the Pershing M26 if the 76mm/17 pounder was such a worthwhile opponent? The Sherman was a reliable and deadly AFV up till 1943, then it became just reliable. You are taking tibits of extreme cases and presenting them as a rule, not the exception. I still refuse to hit the books to debate the matter, my final conclusion remains the same....The panther was the best tank of WWII, the Tiger was the most feared, the T-34 was the second best tank and the Sherman was guarding the frozen wastelands of Siberia against a Jap invasion that never came. It does deserve to have honorable mention, like someone who had perfect attendance at school. The standards use use to praise the Sherman are not very demanding and didn't have very much to do with survival/victory on the battlefield. How can you possibly praise a tank which require 5 to beat one panther. Thats a tribute to our productivity, not our design, most of all, how can you ignore the common feelings and experience's of the WW2 tankers who disagree with you and Steve. You are ignoring historic fact and expert opinion, talk about revisionism:) I've got to go to work now and terrorize some inmates.:)

February 24, 2003, 08:56 AM
I have to agree with Telewinz. The Sherman may have been a good all around tank but it was nowhere near the best tank in WWII. Not only was it not the best tank but it didn't instill the same fear that the Tiger did. I really don't think the Germans ever had "Sherman Fever."

Joe Demko
February 24, 2003, 09:27 AM
So why didn't we just start a war with them while we had the chance like Patton wanted us to?

Because, thankfully, that wasn't Patton's decision to make. Our European allies were war-weary and so was a largish segment of the American public. If such a war had been prosecuted and won, what benefit do you see accruing to the US as a result?

February 24, 2003, 10:10 AM
The panther was the best tank of WWII,

Probably so.

the Tiger was the most feared,

No doubt.

the T-34 was the second best tank

History isn't as kind to that conclusion. It was, however the perfect tank for the Russians; cheap to make, good gun and armour, and low ground-pressure for good all-terrain maneuverability.

the Sherman was guarding the frozen wastelands of Siberia against a Jap invasion that never came.

That is simply incorrect; Soviet units using Shermans were quite involved in Eastern Europe in '44-'45

How can you possibly praise a tank which require 5 to beat one panther.

It took four Americans to kill one German, and not because they had bigger rifles and thicker uniforms, but because (all else being equal) the attacker is going to take heavier casualties than the defender. ;)

Yes, the Panther was a better tank overall than even the best Shermans, but not by as wide a margin as most folks think. (...and as far as the T-34 v. Sherman thing goes, other than Task Force Smith, I'd challenge anyone to find an incident where a force equipped with T-34s beat a force equipped with Shermans. They've met in combat plenty of times, from Lebanon to the Golan to Korea to the Sinai to Uganda and beyond, and the T-34's come out on the short end every time. ;) )

As far as the decision not to re-equip with the M-26, bear in mind that at the time the decision was made, we were in the middle of an armour intensive advance at the far end of a trans-oceanic supply route; hardly the time to change your primary tank, especially for one that is harder to transport and that couldn't cross most European bridges of the day. Replacing your MBT means replacing all your stocks of motors, wheels, tracks, suspension components, other spare parts, ARVs; we were winning with the Sherman, so why switch? History seems to vindicate the decision by my lack of knowledge of the German tongue... ;)

most of all, how can you ignore the common feelings and experience's of the WW2 tankers who disagree with you and Steve. You are ignoring historic fact and expert opinion, talk about revisionism

I'm not; there's plenty of recorded bitching about the Sherman. Of course, these are American troops we're talking about; I could find you plenty of recorded bitching about every weapons system that the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines have ever issued, starting with the Charleville musket. ;)


The Sherman may have been a good all around tank but it was nowhere near the best tank in WWII.

*sigh* I didn't say it was, it's just that most people look at "main gun + glacis" and deduce things that ain't necessarily so. Incidentally, the Sherman's thickest armour was a whopping 20-40mm thinner than the Panther's (depending on the version); they were a lot closer in armour than most people think, but the Panther had vastly superior optics and a generally better gun, although the general availability of HVAP for the 3-inch Shermans closed the gap considerably. Also, later models of Sherman had wet ammo stowage, which increased the chances of the crew surviving and the tank being able to be returned to service in the event of a penetrating hit. The Panther's ammo-stowage arrangement wasn't very well thought out, as almost any penetration in the forward arc would cause a catastrophic ammunition explosion in the forward stowage panniers.

Speaking of ammo stowage, the earlier-mentioned IS-2 had internal stowage available for only 28 rounds, and was too cramped inside to stow more, so Russian crews would stack spare ammo on the rear deck of the tank (much to the delight of anyone with a machinegun and a belt of tracer or API... :eek: ).


When folks start talking about Jets and Tigers and 88s and StG-43s, I know we're in for one kind of military discussion; when they start talking about code-breaking and jeeps and deuce-and-a-halfs and Liberty Ships and C-47s and pressurized heavy bombers and Higgins boats, I know we're going to talk about war. ;)

Oleg Volk
February 24, 2003, 10:15 AM
AFAIK, most folks underestimate the degree of Soviet dependency on the US medications, fuel, some types of food, field artillery and ammunition and trucks for moving all of that. The major limitations of the USSR by 1945 were the lack of manpower (they were drafting 15y.o. kids by then) and lack of trained manpower for the air force and other, similarly technical applications. That explains, among other things, why their artillery preferred firing point blank/by direct observation whenever possible (poor coordination, lack of experience for effective indirect fire.

My guess is that the Soviets would have been massacred without a couple of months. It probably would have made for prolonged low-level conflict in Europe...I doubt that US efforts to re-build all of that continent would have been sustainable.

February 24, 2003, 11:45 AM
Tamara, your "main gun + glacis" idea has merit but every tank is judged on 2 things, survivability and killing power. Like death and taxes, that's guaranteed. Everything else is secondary.

FWIW, most Germans I've heard seemed to think the Tiger was pretty comfy.

February 24, 2003, 11:55 AM
FWIW, most Germans I've heard seemed to think the Tiger was pretty comfy.

Did someone here say it wasn't? :confused:

The only real weaknesses of the Tiger I were the usual ones associated with the interleaved roadwheel suspension (you'll note that type of suspension hasn't been a resounding success) and the tendency of the powered traverse mechanism to burn out. It was an excellent heavy tank, and far better all-around than the later King Tiger.

...every tank is judged on 2 things, survivability and killing power.

...and mobility, and reliability. Without the last two, all you have is an expensive bunker, like the Ferdinand or JagdTiger. ;)

February 24, 2003, 05:56 PM
For the most part we agree, where we disagree seems to be based on research. My research says the Sherman was considered inferior for deployment on the eastern front by the Russians, based on my reasearch that was a wise decision on their part. My only explanation the the photo of a Sherman in Berlin in 1945 is, photo is dated incorrectly, it was a german war trophy (quite possible, we did the same prior to '45) or its Patton's personal command tank and he got to Berlin ahead of the Russians. The Germans felt they had the best tanks for combat after 1942, based on the german morale of the tank crews and kill ratio, I agree. The Sherman crew members after 1942 felt they had an inferior tank when commited to tank battle against the Panther model 'D, A, and G. and against the Tiger I and Tiger II. Their low morale reflected these beliefs and so did their kill ratio. Please quote the author(s) that state this conclusion is incorrect. I am always interested in reading other points of view. What book states the Sherman of any model was the superior tank on the European battlefield of 1944-1945. I don't believe that book exists except maybe at the high school level.

Sherman 75mm, 2030 feet per second
Pentration@ 1000 meters -59mm
Sherman 76.2mm, 2600 fps, penetration@1000meters- 89mm
49,000 made during WW2
Panther 75mm L70, 3068 fps
pentration @ 1000 meters-121mm @ 2000meters- 88mm
5508 made
Tiger I 88mm L71
1354 made
penetration @1000 meters- 215 mm, @4000meters -80mm

30 degree armor plate in all cases

February 24, 2003, 05:58 PM
Why do you feel the Tiger I was better than the King Tiger?

February 24, 2003, 06:01 PM
Chesty Puller

February 24, 2003, 06:05 PM
Russia did not have a manpower shortage in '45 if compared to the other combatants of WW2. They always a shortage of trained personel during the war. Their artillery was always considered suitable for anti-tank work even before 1941, german artillery (77mm) had some success against allied tanks during WWI, thats why the Infantry tanks like the Matilda II had so much armor, for protection from artillery not other tanks.

Stephen Ewing
February 24, 2003, 10:45 PM
Telewinz, not to suggest that your data is flawed, but you've got your Tiger guns backwards. Tiger I had L/56, Tiger II had L/71. Jentz shows 193mm penetration at 1000m at 30 degrees for the L/71 firing Pzgr.40/43, and 138mm for the L/56 at 1000. That aside, you remember how we established that I'm not the one arguing for the inferior gun? I'm also not the one relying on "tidbits of extreme cases." At one end, the Firefly is not the least numerous tank in the discussion, and on the other, I can document entire COMPANIES of Tigers experiencing 100% noncombat casualties in a morning if you like. I will also grant that the German 88 terrified the American tankers. Then again, it also terrified the American infantry, and sloppy authors (Ambrose!) have been known to refer to anything that went bang as an "88" to further propagate the legend even today, but legends aren't reality. Incidentally, when my copy of the Tiger manual isn't offering doggerel, or talking about shooting giant naked blondes (not kidding about that; anything to keep the Tiger crew's attention, I guess) and obsessing about cloverleafs, it describes the T-34 as "fast, agile, very powerful weaponry and strong armor," and the Sherman as "fast, agile, heavy armor and powerful weaponry." Not exactly the sort of thing one finds in the average high school, but it doesn't seem to find much difference between the American and Soviet designs. Did I mention that it obsesses about cloverleafs?

As an aside, the Russians equipped entire Guards Tank Armies with M4A2s. Note "Guards." The massive reliability edge (~3X) of the Sherman over any comparable Russian vehicle, combined with acceptable tactical mobility, justified its use by Guards units on deep penetrations. The Soviets explicitly and openly adopted the "running tanks are better" philosophy on this one, and turned to the Sherman.

In the end, the Firefly could engage any turreted AFV of its era with complete equality, even being able to compete on a level playing field with tanks that outweighed it by 130%, which isn't a bad achievement. At the least, that merits it consideration in any discussion of best tanks of the war, and yet it always gets ignored since the grass is always greener. You asked why it wasn't adopted more widely? Two reasons. The first is the most important and also the reason nobody talks about it today, since both of its parent countries wanted an entirely domestic solution. That part is pure politics and pride. The second is actually a legitimate problem, and you're going to love this, as I'm going to finally tell you what actually removes it from consideration as the "perfect tank." The darn thing was unable to fire anything but AP. This is a crippling shortcoming, I believe, and while I'm not sure if it was better or worse than the reliability/mobility/recovery/etc. problems the Germans experienced, it's close enough not to discard out of hand.

And just to be perverse:evil: "The Mark IV (Sherman) is one of the finest weapons on the battlefield."---Dwight David Eisenhower, July 22, 1943, letter to Vernon Edwin "Prich" Prichard.

And I'm STILL waiting for a Russophile to tell me what could possibly replace lend-lease aviation fuel, locomotives, trucks, telephone wire, boots, food, etc. Dialectic may feed the bulldog, but it don't feed an army.


February 25, 2003, 12:25 AM
My only explanation the the photo of a Sherman in Berlin in 1945 is, photo is dated incorrectly, it was a german war trophy (quite possible, we did the same prior to '45) or its Patton's personal command tank and he got to Berlin ahead of the Russians.

Hahaha... anyways...

Not sure of the unit # of the Russian Shermans in Berlin, however, the 9th Guards Tank Brigade, at the sharp end of the 1st Guards Mechanized Corps (the unit that took Budapest) was a Russkie Sherman outfit. Several tank outfits of the 2nd Ukrainian Front (the spearpoint of the Soviet drive into Czechoslovakia) were Sherman-equipped, too. All these places are kinda far from Siberia. ;)

What book states the Sherman of any model was the superior tank on the European battlefield of 1944-1945.

What post of mine has called it "superior"? I merely stated that it was adequate, and history seems to bear me out.

Why do you feel the Tiger I was better than the King Tiger?

Uh, the difference between "tanks" and "bunkers" is that "tanks" can move. Something the Tiger I could do that the Tiger II couldn't. The Tiger II's drivetrain was designed for a 40 metric ton vehicle, and suffered from leaking seals and blown gaskets when run at anywhere near top speed for more than a couple of minutes. The first Tiger II's received by Panzer Lehr were destroyed by their own crews before they ever saw combat due to the fact that every last one of them broke down in transit. Three of the first Tiger IIs recieved by sPzAbt 505 burned out completely due to engine compartment fires before ever encountering the enemy. These are not good things. The Tiger I, on the other hand, was a completely reliable tank, with lower ground pressure and a higher top speed, both on the road and cross-country. The Tiger II, however, did have a more powerful gun and thicker glacis... ;)

February 25, 2003, 12:44 AM
Wasn't this supposed to be about a plattoon of infantry?

February 25, 2003, 07:04 AM
The Tiger II and the Jadtiger were not very mobile but since Germany was fighting a defensive war at this time the enemy met them more than halfway. Later production models of the Tiger I got rid of the interleaven wheel system. I stand corrected on the L71, it was the L56, but a light weight L70 was developed but not utilized in the Tiger 1. I disagree that the Sherman was adequate after 1943, but my feeling on this is as if I was a crewman in a Sherman. Again, the M26 could have been introduced as early as 43 if Patton (mainly) would had accepted a temporary production showdown while the transition in manufacture was made. The Sherman could travel farther and more reliably from point A to Point B IF it didn't have to cross a battlefield on the way:D . The MKIIIN did have a 75mm, I stand corrected again but it was a short barreled 75mm with the same poor anti-tank performance as the early MKIV. It was a compomise for the small turret ring. Also the record distance for a kill was 7224 meters with a one shot kill by a Panther Model 'D against a T-34

If my facts are right (ot at least close) their were less than 7000 Panthers, Tiger I's,and Tiger II's made in WW2. Their were 6000 Lee/Grants, 49,000 Shermans, 40,000 T-34's, and over 2200 IS'2's (100-122mm) Russian heavy tanks made.

Med 10
February 25, 2003, 11:50 AM
Tamara, the trend of German tank builders toward the end of the war centered more on firepower and less on mobility. If you notice all the German tanks were heavier and hit harder because they were planning on fighting a more defensive battle. you seem to conclude that German tanks had reliability issues as a rule and this is just not true. When the first Panthers were built they had bugs which were worked out. When the first Tigers were built they were deployed on unsuitable ground and were forced to advance single file and were then chewed up.

Initialy the Panther was to have 60mm of armor on the front glacis but Hitler intervened and it went up to 80mm. Their were problems with the Maybach HL during the DEVELOPMENTAL stages only that were cured with the adoption of the HL 230 engine that gave it a top speed of 28mph. Despite teething problems such as engine over heating, the Panther remained in production till may 1945.

As far as the Tiger or PzKpfwVI goes, it too had DEVELOPMENTAL problems cured by the HL 230 engine. The tiger was never used to spearhed many offensives due to its weight and slow speed, but when deployed defensivley it gave the Allies many headaches. The thing with the german tanks was that they needed to be maintained religiously and if so kept, were very effective.

You know all this sounds VERY much like the argument that the US military has had for decades; you know the whole quality vs. quantity thing. To qoute American M1-Abrams tankers" We can fight Russian T-72's 4 to 1 and still win" Well I'm sure thats what the Germans were saying in their AFV's during WW2. !

Back to the Russia vs the Allies:

The Russians didnt need any more troops they already had over 12,000,000 + reserves.

I seriously doubt the russian troops would have starved.

How many times do I have to say this; The Soviets already had a HUGE airforce of purpose built planes. U.S. bombers would have to fight their way through ThOUSANDS of Russian fighters to hit there targets.

The Russians designed thier aircraft engines to run on low octane avgas which they still do to this day.

The Russians have HUGE petroleum reserves. They just needed to tap them.

Trucks are easy to build.

How many American moms would have let 15 yearolds go to war.

The Russians were consumed with hate of the enemy and were fighting with all they had. SPIRIT.

The U.S. would have sued for peace cause the American population cant stand to see the body bags pile up.

Naval power would not matter much. Those hellcats and Dauntlesses sure had alot of punch! yea, right.
Besides, how can you blockade a country the size of Russia.

The Brits simply had no more manpower.

I could go on but I dont want to use up any more band width.

February 25, 2003, 12:01 PM
Shermans in Budapest and perhaps Berlin? Yeap. Had a Prof in College 20 years ago who was in Budapest back then. He though the Americans had arrived because the Tanks, Halftrack and Trucks all had white stars painted on them. Needless to so he was quite shocked to learn that the Russians had arrived instead.

Do not discount the Soviet manpower shortages for their combat troops. Oleg is quite correct. Even the Soviets did not have unlimited manpower available. Some source I read 20+ years ago stated that German combat troops were quite shocked when running in to 15 and 16 year old Soviet kids at the front in early 1944.

Have some great first hand accounts of WW2 combat experiences from my great uncle (Gross Deutschland '39 - to the end) and other long time friends of the family. Like all people, the combat experiences affected them all differently.

February 25, 2003, 12:41 PM
Have some great first hand accounts of WW2 combat experiences from my great uncle (Gross Deutschland '39 - to the end) and other long time friends of the family. Like all people, the combat experiences affected them all differently.

I would love to hear some stories, first-hand, from the "other side."

Med 10
February 25, 2003, 12:55 PM
Oh, one more thing. They also had HUGE supplies of iron ore.

Russian production capabilities were more than a match to ours.

Radar wouldnt have mattered much. Besides the russians and japs were both experimenting with radar and the soviets would have have it in short order.

Medicine saves lives, but I dont think the Russkies were too concerned about saving lives to achieve their gains.

Back to the food issue; The black sea region is home to some of the most fertile farm land and soil in the world. I know, that doesnt matter cause then just like now, all we have to do is bomb 'em.

Speaking of bombing, the B-29's didnt exactly have to face much in the way of Jap air supeiriority; a fact that would have been much different trying to bomb Russia in its vastness. Russian fighters had excellent high altitude perfomance and were for the most part all cannon armed. I still maintain much to the disagreement of most that the U.S. bombing campaign over Japan went by and large unapposed. Not completely, but the Japanese were never able to mount a full scale defence of the puny home islands like the Luftwaffe was able to over Germany.

sorry, i'll quit now.

February 25, 2003, 05:46 PM
Med 10 is painting an over-all accurate picture of the "world order" of 1945. If Russia had 15 year olds fighting they were most likely volunteers(The Russians do call it the "Great Patriotic War")! Russia also had female combatants but not because they didn't have enough men. Manpower-wise Russia was in far better shape than any other western combatant and even the issue of training was only going to get better as it had been for two years. America by April 1945 was cancelling war contracts and had already closed down a part of their tanker school in late '44. As far as the B-29's are concerned, Russia already had several impounded and was in the process of making their own look-a-like version, which they did. Russia with it historic unlimited supply of manpower would have flown bi-planes if they had to. Remember, Russia had more 2nd Lt's KIA's than we had pivates KIAs, that should give anyone a moment of pause. Almost without exception, 1940's era carrier aircraft were inferior to their EQUAL landbased aircraft due to the design limitations of landing and taking off from a carrier. That doesn't mean a Hellcat could not shoot down a Mustang P-51(not to be confused with the the "Finnish Mustang") or a land based Zero but the Zero by 1944 was flown for the most part by inferior pilots and considered a'dated' design by many in 44/45 compared to the Hellcat. I do not know if this holds true today, I have heard that an F-15 or F-16 would be superior to an F-14 or F-18 in equal combat (ooh-noo) but I can't say one way or another.

Med 10
February 25, 2003, 05:55 PM
wher did everyone go?:(

February 25, 2003, 06:04 PM
I don't think the topic is getting old, I think they are busy hitting the books instead of talking off the cuff. I enjoy this all to heck, especially the informed different points of few.:)

Med 10
February 25, 2003, 06:04 PM
hey! someone came back to play! This has been a great thread and I have a great deal of respect for the knowledge of WW2 that you all have.

I think in WW2 the gap between land and carrier based planes was more pronounced than today. Example using American planes: I think the P-51 would have the edge over the Hellcat, but a harder time with the corsair.

But I think an F-18 would probly be able to hold its own against an F-16.

February 25, 2003, 06:18 PM
If you will recall when they first tried to use the Corsair on carriers they pulled them because of the high accident rate. The Corsair was considered a very "hot" airplane that was more than a match for the Zero. The "gull wing" design wasn't for performance but to allow the propeller to clear the deck, it's engine and propeller were that big! IIRC:) The Marines insisted it be re-assigned to carriers and it was. Also don't underestimate russian flyers, when Russian Pilots (secretly) flew the Mig-15 against American F-86's, the Russians had the higher kill ratio (they kept score).

February 25, 2003, 06:46 PM
I can't agree that the Firefly was equal to any AFV (tank) of WW2. It might engage but it would not win most encounters (unless it was 4-5 to one) if the panther, or TigerI or Tiger II were firing back. In each case the Firefly is out gunned and is lacking in armor. Remember, the Allies fired on the run, the germans fired stationary and they had better optics to boot. In "tank country" the Firefly would be racing to its death IN MOST cases, in the woods, it would be a more equal match.

February 25, 2003, 07:36 PM
If land based aircraft are so much better than carrier based aircraft, then why were the Finns getting so much good use out of the Brewster F2A Bufallo, a naval aircraft design, against Soviet land based aircraft? Hmmm...?

I think the Grumman F6F Hellcat was a much more capable aircraft than the Brewster F2A Bufallo.

That the Japanese pilots were considered inferior at the end of the war is because we shot down all their good pilots earlier in the war. Thats when we were using Grumman F4F Wildcats against the superior Mitsubischi A6M Zero fighter.

On mentioning the closing down of armor schools and cancelling munitions contracts in the USA, I don't think it would have taken much to get remobilized.

The Germans may have had some big, powerful tanks, but they were too few and came too late to win the war for Germany.

The M4 Sherman had worked fine in dealing with Soviet T-34's through much of the Cold War. Thus the M4 Sherman would have been adequate for a war against the Soviets in '45 as suggested by Gen. Patton.

February 25, 2003, 08:15 PM
"Equal aircraft design", there were plenty of obsolete aircraft in the Russian inventory in 1941 to feed the Buffalo. The Buffalo served on the Saratoga but was removed in 1938 IIRC. Wildcats were considered inferior to the Zero, it was only when the Hellcat (oversized Wildcat) was operational that we had a superior fighter. The Wildcat was limited in the tactics it could use to defeat the Zero. Attack from above, the "Thatcher Weave", and never turn with a Zero were some of the common warnings. But many experts feel that in the hands of an experienced pilot the Zero could be effective during the entire war. No armor plate and a lack of seal-sealing tanks came with a price.
The 1945 russian tanks out gunned the Sherman tank also. I don't know of any meaningful (of any size) encounters between the Sherman and the T-34 or Stalin tanks. Korea didn't have much to offer in the way of "Tank Country". I do know we had to rush deliever some 3.5" bazooka's because our 2.75"(?) was inaffective against the T-34. HMMM I hear the 2.75 worked fine against the Sherman.:) Also which Patton our we talking about? The one who stated in the early 30's that the Calvary was superior to the tank? He always knew which way the wind was blowing before he said anything. At the time the calvary officers were in charge and it was best for a major's career to agree with the boss. Before 1940, Ike was considered our "tank expert" also but Marshall must have seen something in IKE he didn't see in Patton.

February 25, 2003, 09:15 PM
The Japanese Navy Zero pilots were 1st class. However, the Flying Tigers with the P-40's did a pretty good job against the Japaneese Air Force in China as I recall.
'God is my Co-Pilot' was a pretty good book when I was 12 - was my step-dad's childhood copy and one of the first american war books I read - once I could read english.

The Soviets had incredible industrial capacity and natural resources. If I remember correctly, they dismatled whole factories and moved them east of the Urals - when possible. Took time to rebuilt those factories though. American lend lease helped hold them up.

Also do not forget that Germany did not go to full war production until 1942. The German civilian ecconomy actually grew in '39, '40 and '41. Hitler had to keep the people happy to a point. He did not have total power like Stalin. Close but not that close.

Med 10
February 25, 2003, 10:45 PM
The Germans were issued orders to hunt down and engage the Firefly first. They were on the Germans S**t list from the get-go.

Which had a bigger propeller. the jug or the corsair?

Stephen Ewing
February 25, 2003, 11:33 PM
Telewinz, you're letting opinion cloud reality again. The Zeke had a roughly 1:1 kill ratio against the F4F, baseless hysteria notwithstanding. This is the extreme example of the Sherman-style bad press taken to the point of absolute absurdity, and I'd been avoiding mentioning it for comparison because it was simply too ridiculous to be taken seriously. What you see in both cases is nothing more than American frustration that we simply couldn't trade treasure for blood, although actually with some shred of support for the Sherman's criticism.

At risk of repeating myself, re-check the 17pdr statistics. The only superior German gun was the 12.8cm, but the rest were good enough to blast a Sherman from about as far away as the Firefly could perforate a Tiger, so victory goes to the first good hit, and that will come down to training, optics, luck, terrain, and the circumstances of the engagement. Two of those favored the German, two generally favored the defender, and that left luck for the Brits.

One of those stats that sticks with you about those "inferior" carrier aircraft is the F6F's 19:1 kill ratio. All that whining about the horrible F4F produced an "acceptable" design. I hate to drag out another multinational effort, but the RN first put Corsairs on carriers, and then Kamikazes really got the USN involved.

Lower octane fuel: WITH American fuel, a Yak-9U or La-7 can climb high enough to greet a B-29, although it's still looking up (waaaay up) at any fighter escort but the unlikely Hurricane IIa. Without that American fuel, what happens to performance? Now the Yak is looking up at the B-29s, too. The nearly 40,000 western front-line aircraft in Europe are interested in whether the Yak and Lagg designs can get the last bit of performance, but there's something to be said for flying CAP over the other guy's base, and the Meteors simply don't care.

The above assumes daytime operations. Upon reflection, that might be an error, even against a fundamentally limited tactical air force. With no Soviet radar to speak of, no Soviet heavy AAA worth mentioning, and large-scale long-range night-time B-29 tactics well established, the obvious next step is to send a thousand or so Superforts against a different Russian city each night and see what happens. Start with Grozny and Astrakhan so there's nothing to ship with, then get Moscow and Gorki so there's nothing to ship through, and then finish with Perma and "Tankograd" so there's nothing to ship. After that, it's all about the bodycount, and that could top Hitler's in a matter of months, since there is no conceivable opposition to a night-time assault by thousands of B-29s.


February 26, 2003, 01:49 AM
At no time in history did the Soviet Union have even near the industrial capacity let alone flexability to match the United States. The Soviet Union at the end of the war did not have the manpower to match the United States. Industrial manufacturing capacity and manpower, (population of both countries and their losses during the war), are readily available from numerous sources which verify those facts.

Allied air superiority both in raw numbers and in quality of aircraft and piloits was clearly in favor of Britain and America.

The Soviets manufacturing and supply infrastructure would have been open to continued attack by American and British airforces, whereas Americas manufacturing base would not.

The Soviets did not have the bomb in 1945 and any war with America and Britain would have been over before they could.

One must respect and honor the immense effort and sacrifice of the Russian people in WWII and how they carried most of the burden for most of the war in fighting Germany. But they were far from being able to defeat America and Britian.

February 26, 2003, 06:59 AM
General Omar Bradley"Our tank superiority devolved primarily from a superiority in the number rather than the quality of tanks we sent into battle". Soon after D-Day, 138 of the newly armed Shermans soon found out the new gun (76mm) would not penerate the front armor plate of either the Panther or Tiger. The Firefly 17 pounder was British, although the Americans tried to get some to use they had to settle with the 76.2mm. The 17 pounder was an outstanding British Anti-tank gun, one of the best in the world at that time. But "AP shot against face hardened armor (German armor was face hardened) tended to shatter" British view not mine. To booster the performance Tungsten carbide was used in '44 for the 6 pounder and the 17 pounder but being rare was hard to come by BUT when it was used it was the most effective anti-tank gun of WW2. But improving ALL shot with tungsten would improve ALL tank gun performance, not just the 17 pounder. Kinda comparing apples to oranges. Because of limited production, only about 25% of the British units were able to be issued with the 17 pounder. Had the firefly had thicker and better quality armor, (battlefield survival) it could have been the equal of the the panther or Tigers but except for the M26 it was certainly the best allied tank used in any numbers.

Oleg Volk
February 26, 2003, 07:32 AM
FWIW, the nickname of LAGG fighter (obsolete by 1945) was "Lakirovannij Garantitovannij Grob" (Laquered Guaranteed Coffin).

February 26, 2003, 09:17 AM
the new gun (76mm) would not penerate the front armor plate of ... the Panther

With APC? Not over 500-600m. With HVAP? Out past 1500m. Off the top of my head, Sgt. Figueroa blew the turret off one at some 1600m, but there may have been longer kills.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 10:12 AM
Hmmmm, haven't given much thought to the B-29's ceiling. Like I've said before, I don't hit the books or dig stuff up on the net cause I dont feel like making an internet discussion forum feel like a term paper:) . BUT, If the soviets werent able to effectively operate at B-29 altitudes, well.............

How bout it folks, anyone know the ceiling of the Superfort? {you may use the books:) }

February 26, 2003, 11:06 AM
I think the service ceiling for the B-29 was just over 33,000 feet. Also, was not the B-32 (?) in the works too? It had the range to bomb Germany from America, if I remember right. The German luftwaffe had the tools (planes) to deal with the threat. The biggest problem facing the Luftwaffe in 1944 and on was lack of fuel. I remember reading that the Luftwaffe required about 200,000 tons of fuel per month for operations. It received on average only 20K - 30K tons of fuel per month. There is more than one way to achieve air superiority.

The Germans were also getting ready to roll out SAM's and guided Air-to-Air missiles. Would have made things interesting for bombers.

February 26, 2003, 11:16 AM
The Americans had a tank destoyer with a 90mm AA converted AT gun. Can't remember that tank destoryers designation. Had the U.S. put a 90mm on a better armoured Sherman with turret stablaizer for firing on the move, they would have had an awesome tank.

Funny, but even up to the M1A1, the U.S. seemed to prefer smaller main battle tank anti-tank guns. The original M1A1 was designed with a 105mm AT gun, yet the German Leopard II had a 120mm by then. I remember there being a huge debate at the time within NATO and the American's agreed to use the 120 mm.

editied: removed my firefly ref since it was covered above in better detail than I recall.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 11:29 AM
mack, this much I do know: The Russians had 12,000,000 + reserves. not to mention the fact that the ENTIRE civilian population was mobilized for war. I repeat. do you think that the U.S. would be willing to sacrifice so much? dou you think our politicians would be willing to watch Americans die by the millions, or do you think after Patton was drawn and quartered that we would have all said, " hey let the Russians have Europe"

I'm not saying the Soviets would utterly defeat the U.S., but that with momentum on their side, and with VASTLY more numbers, they would have drove the Allies back across the channel before we could have cranked our factories back up to full speed and started making the 3 week trips across the pond to respond.

The Soviets learned about land warfare from the fighting the best the world had to offer. and they would have unleashed a Blitzkrieg of the likes the world has never seen. One so unbelievably overwhelming in sheer mass that the Allies in Europe would have been forced to withdraw. The Allies in Europe couldnt even stop the "bulge" offensive by a few hundred thousand second rate Germans! The Germans only stopped when they ran out of fuel! and then they were picked of by Tac air that could finally fly when the weather cleared up.

No, I'm not saying that the U.S. would lose the war but they would lose Europe.

Why do you people keep saying that the Russians didnt have the industrial capacity that we do? They went from having nothing in 1940 to having the largest military force in the world in 1945 while continuously enduring the fight against a powerfull enemy.

The ONLY saving grace the Americans had is that thier industrial capacity was out of the reach of the Russians. A VERY important advantage I might add. However you still need to get youre stuff across the pond and commit it to battle. you think the Russkies had along supply line?

Think about the problems we had kicking Hitler out of Europe. we were going up against a force that was a mere shadow of it self. yet it still took us almost a year with many losses.

According to certain historical accounts I've read, Patton wanted to "keep on goin" and Stalin knew that. I think the Russians were very prepared to continue the fight if neccessary while the average American G.I just wanted to go home.

I'ts a good thing that pattons words were just the ramblings of an old fool.

Oleg Volk
February 26, 2003, 11:51 AM
They went from having nothing in 1940

I recall them having more men under arms, more tanks and aircraft than the Germans did, and often of comparable quality. USSR was just done rolling over Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and was set to take over parts of Rumania.

Now, a war against the would have been a bad idea in many ways...but ending Lend-Lease in 1943 would have given them huge problems and made the USSR a bit player post-45.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 12:13 PM
If the U.S. chose to open an Eastern front against the Russians here is a taste of what would greet them.

After utterly defeating the Japanese in the little known but major battle of Manchuria that Soviets would have had the Following immediatly available to commit to battle.

1,600,000 troops
5,500 tanks
27,000 artillery pieces
4,400 aircraft.

During the offensive against the Japanese the Reds advanced an amazing 900 kilometers in just ELEVEN days! I gues the Russians figured out how to keep thier supply lines moving.

When you consider that McArthur only had about 1,000,000 troops for the invasion of the home islands, and would have to wait till Army units could be brought over from Europe to get enough troops for the invasion of Japan it kind of makes you look at the whole Soviet "manpower shortage" thing a liitle differently.

February 26, 2003, 12:17 PM
Funny, but even up to the M1A1, the U.S. seemed to prefer smaller main battle tank anti-tank guns. The original M1A1 was designed with a 105mm AT gun, yet the German Leopard II had a 120mm by then. I remember there being a huge debate at the time within NATO and the American's agreed to use the 120 mm.

I wouldn't say the US preferred smaller tank main guns. I'd say they just ran with what they had with the original M1. Supposedly, the Army had always planned on using the German guns. I can only think of 2 reasons why they didn't start with them, 1) they didn't have any to use for testing purposes and 2) all their ammo, including the new APFSDS round was 105mm. Either way, the M1 was only around for 2 years before they started testing the 120mm guns which were then used in the M1A1.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 12:22 PM


"and often of comparable quality"


Oleg, I respectfully must disagree with you on this point. I cant recall much of anything equipment/weapon wise that the Soviets had in 1940 that was equal to what the Germans had.

At the start of Barbarosa the Germans had 148 divisions

to oppose this the Soviets had 60 divisions. plus 11 cavalry divs.

I dont see how you arrive at the conclusion that the Soviets had more troops than the Germans.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 12:29 PM
hops, I agree that the Soviets would have had quite a little problem to deal with in the B-29's. We had a whole bunch of 'em and they carried an awfull lot of bombs.

Of all the factors taken into consideration in this thoroughly enjoyable and quite immpresive debate, I feel that the long range strategic bombing capability of the U.S. would have to be one of the first things the Russians would have to handle.

February 26, 2003, 02:25 PM
Both the B-32 Dominator and the B-36 Peacemaker were WWII designs. The B-32 actually reached squadron service in the Pacific before the war's end, and the B-36 (aka "The Big Stick", aka "The Aluminum Overcast") could have gone into production in '43, but was no longer necessary, as England was no longer in danger of falling, so it was put on the back burner 'til the postwar years. If WWII in Europe had dragged on any longer (say, if Overlord failed), it would have ended in B-29 or B-36-delivered nuclear fireballs over Hamburg and Berlin.

The Abrams, although initially equipped with the British L7 105mm, was designed from the outset to accept the Rheinmetal smoothbore. At the time the Abrams entered division service, the L7 was still the standard NATO tank gun, but a future switch to what is referred to in US service as the M256 was seen as a given.

February 26, 2003, 04:24 PM
BEFORE WW2 started Russia had 20, 000 tanks most like there aircraft were opsolete. Russia still doesn't throw away much, being obsolete is no excuse for not using it. Russia did have some tanks superior to the german tanks but not enough and the germans' had better tactics and training. As we all know it was the Russian leadership and Stalin's stupidity that helped the german advance and kill so many russian troops. Several months after the june invasion Hitler was informed that 300 Russian divisions were ID'ed YET to be engaged. Hitler's response"If I had know that I would never had invaded Russia". In Guderian's pre-war book Actung Panzer he wrote that the Soviet Union had 16000 tanks only because he didn't not feel anyone would believe the 20, 000 figure. He was right, they didn't believe the 16000 figure either till AFTER the invasion. As part of a (pre-war)"deal" German staff officers were permitted to observe russian tank production factories. The Germans were shocked at what they saw and were very impressed. The Russian Staff officers were shown the MKIV and MKIII factories fair and square, they were 100% convinced that the Gremans were cheating and showing them just a small portion of their production and that the tanks shown WERE NOT there best design. The warning signs were their for objective review.

Oleg Volk
February 26, 2003, 05:23 PM
Looking at 1941 tanks, German mk.I and mk.II were obsolescent and no match for the T26, BT5 and BT7 counterparts. Mk.III and IV were far better but also relatively few in numbers, compared to the huge number of T34, KV1 and older T28s. I am very much amazed at how well the Germans did given inferior numbers and often inferior equipment.

In small arms, the Soviets cited large number of MP38/40s in German service, yet the USSR had a higher percentage of PPD and PPSh submachine guns in use even in 1941. Seems to me that lousy tactics and lack of support in the newly occupied territories had more to do with their troubles than the equipment mis-match.

In aircraft, USSR had slightly inferior equipment till about '42. PE2 and IL2 compare favorably with the German equivalents, and also LA5/LA7 designs. OTOH, the Societs had no decent strategic bombers.

February 26, 2003, 05:46 PM
But you have to remember that the Germans put their "best tanks" to the front. A PzI or PzII were not suppose to run into a T-26 but of course it happened. With the air superiority germany had for most of the next 2 years it was penetrate, surround, and reap the harvest. The germans captured so many excellent 76mm guns that they remounted and used them giving them another name. I have also read that they rechambered many to take german ammo. Doesn't make sense, they had to capture huge amounts of ammo also, I doubt that they recahmbered many. Same thing with the SVD 40 rifle, was so very popular with the troops that captured models were re-proofed amd marked by the germans.

Volk, you know your stuff!:cool:

February 26, 2003, 05:56 PM
I believe reading at the time that everybody knew the 120mm was better but they didn't want to abandon the large inventory of 105mm ammo that was made for the M60. It was an accountant's way to cut costs, I imagine it was a change in the administration that brought about the demise of that cost saving measure. In hind site it was correct but I sure would like to know whats happened to all that 105 ammo. The Marines could not have used it all, I bet target practice was easy to come by:D


The issue of dropping the "bomb" on Germany in WW2 is often debated. It GENERALLY agreed that unless Germany resorted to gas/chemical warfare that because of racial reasons, America would not have used the bomb. Even Bomber Harris caught hell soon after WW2 for Hamburg and the like. ChurchHill made a deliberate attempt to distance himself from "Harris's" decision in Parliment a few days later after the results of the "fire storms" were known. But we will never know.

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 08:17 PM
Tamara, I have to agree with telewinz on this matter of nuking Germany. Based on the huge public outcry over the firestorms in Hamburg in which over 100,000 civilians were killed, I dont think the court of popular opinion whould have allowed nukes, and we would have payed a dear price if we would have used the 2or3 that we had on the russians.

As I see it, The Russians were fighting for thier survival with a determination and rage the likes of which the world has never known. This was similar to a giant bee hive or school of pirranha; a single gigantic entity with but one cause. The complete and utter destruction of all who sought to destroy mother Russia.

The U.S. on the other hand had plenty of voices of opposition then just like now to military action. Yes we came together in WW2 and got the job done, but like telewiz said, we were already gearing down production, and the longer the campaign in Europe went on the worse the morale of the average joe got. Unlike the stiffening resolve of the Soviet soldier who just got tougher the longer he fought. I simply do not think the U.S. would sacrifice millions and millions of "American boys" just to help bail the Europeans out of trouble.

In the end we would have lost the continent of Europe, not due to one side neccesarily being stronger than the other, but simply because some things about Americans never change; We just dont have the stomach for a bloody war of attrition and with our 2 party system it would have got real political real fast.

Stephen Ewing
February 26, 2003, 08:34 PM
The Firefly was usually matched with three normal Shermans by design. One tank capable of playing with the panzers, three capable of playing with the MG nests. The ratio had much more to do with minimizing the liabilities of the tanks in the face of likely opponents than it did with production limitations.

Tungsten ammo wasn't exactly common for the Allies, I admit, but may I respectfully suggest that "It was rare and difficult to make" is not a concept that should be introduced in defense of the Tiger and Panther? There's only one way that idea can ricochet.

Med 10: boots. Don't forget uniforms. The ability not to freeze to death isn't as sexy as big guns, but it does come in handy. ;) Having said that, the Germans have produced some nice stuff.

Depending on who to believe, I have between 33,600 and 36,000 as service ceiling for the B-29. I have between 34,500 and 39,000 for the Yak-9U on high-octane fuel, and not much else that will top 34,500. Even daylight ought to be fun with Anglo-American fighters engaging from a few thousand feet above with "Boom-and-Zoom" tactics. Between that and being so badly outnumbered by the Anglo-Americans in every conceivable theater, you can see why I believe the Soviets needed every edge they could get? I still don't see how B-29s at night can be opposed at any altitude, regardless of aircraft or fuel. Heck, I'm not sure B-24s can be stopped. Wilde-Sau doesn't strike me as useful at that point.

The Russians ran all over the Japanese in 1945. They also did it in 1939, so it can't exactly be regarded as a useful omen. Eight American Air Forces in the Pacific (seven if we ignore the 20th because we've been plundering it's greatest aircraft), the USN, USMC, and Commonwealth assets against 4,400 Russian aircraft. Halsey or Spruance could almost handle that, never mind Nimitz, LeMay, or MacArthur. And I thought it was ridiculous in Europe with only three American Air Forces and the RAF against the Soviet main strength. Traffic desert in, what, 48 hours? This is typical of Soviet problems in this comparison: Several viable to quite strong components and one (or more) piece of the puzzle simply absent. It's like a stool missing a leg.

The U.S. produced 40% of the munitions used in WW2, and had half the world's production capability in 1945. That percentage goes up the more of Russia we destroy. America gearing down is still superior to anybody else's best, and officially we never even "took the slack out" of our economy, while the Russians were played out.

Incidentally, the atomic bomb was explicitly developed for use in Germany. We have to remove the filters we've developed in the last decades, and look at with 1945 eyes. It was just a big bomb to them, and a bomb meant for Germany. As for Hamburg, it raised such a stink that it made Dresden and Tokyo possible. No, the record is clear: Burn 'em out.


February 26, 2003, 08:44 PM
Wow...thread drift of monumental proportion.

But, what a thread! What an education!

This is the first time that I can recall thinking that the collective wisdom in any given thread could challenge the same in TFL.

I'm impressed...

Med 10
February 26, 2003, 10:17 PM
If the U.S. had half of the worlds production capability and produced 40% of the worlds munitions then who do you think produced the other half and the other 60% in 1945. Britian? probably not. I still dont understand the whole production argument. I will give you the airpower bit but production? I dont think so. thats not a valid argument. I believe that the numbers of the Soviet military can attest to their production capability. They had plenty of steel, plenty of fuel, and plenty of bodies to do the labor.

My whole argument is based on quite a few revisionist historical authors and think tanks that i've joined over the years, and also my argument was never wether the Russians could "beat" the Americans, but rather that the Russians had so much initiative in Europe in 1945 that they would more than likely been able to take continental europe based on numbers and momentum, and speed of advance. Bagration was once described as "the mother of all blitskriegs" and I think that a continued offensive westward would have mde Bagration pale in comparison.

Now then. On a global level we can agree that the continental U.S. is remarkably safe form any sort of invasion unlike Russia. After all, Hitler did manage to ge to within a few miles of Moscow. So I suppose in the grand scheme of things its quite possible that the Russians would eventualy "lose" if you want to call it that.

My question and whole argument is based on whether the American people would be willing to put forth the unbelievably huge sacrifices to make that happen. And to that I say no.

Stephen Ewing
February 27, 2003, 01:49 AM
The assumption I made up front was that the Anglo-American populations could be sold on such an unwise idea. If it's a defensive war, that's not a problem at all.

Munitions production: Please note I quoted WORLD production used in the war. Without a breakdown of the lesser players, after subtracting my best guess for the Axis, Commonwealth, occupied Europe, etc., I'm having trouble fudging the Russians much past 20%, although I might be generous enough to give them 25%, which still leaves them less than half the Anglo-American contribution, and a two-dimensional effort at that. After their cities and transportation net start disappearing, I do not expect this number to climb.

Global Production in 1945: Who produced the other half? The rest of the world put together. The single major bite is the Commonwealth, but every nation on Earth takes a nibble, and the Russians aren't left with much to compare against the other two largest players, and this ratio is probably closer to 3 or 4:1. Even this paltry number assumes they still have roads and cities.

Overall production comparison? You'd have to get Hans Blix to evaluate the western capacity to make this one look close. It wasn't.

Immediate battlefield results, ignoring the above: In place on V-E day were more than 30,000 front line aircraft (~9,000RAF, 21,000 8th+9thAF) in northern Europe, counting jets, but ignoring both the 12th and 15th AFs, which I don't have strengths handy for. I'm unclear on exactly what factor the Soviets were outnumbered by, but it's certainly a multiple, probably close to 3, and they'd never had that happen before, even when they had high-octane fuel. They'd also never faced an air force with a doctrine or a strategic bomber force, but at least they were used to qualitative inferiority. Soviet ability to seize even local superiority is simply nonexistent in the face of that much airpower being that active, and this removes one major prerequisite for an offensive. American radar-guided counter-battery fire, especially combined with aerial supremacy, removes a second, as Soviet artillery becomes a deathtrap. Anglo-American aircraft with a huge numerical advantage creating the usual traffic desert remove supply altogether for ~300 miles behind the front, which eliminates a third prerequisite, and complicates even defense considerably. American artillery (with a nod to the British for proximity fuses) would be exponentially more deadly than the German artillery that largely held the line for years with inferior fire control and supply, so Soviet infantry casualties skyrocket. Stukas were very nice early on, but they just don't compare to swarms of Typhoons or P-47s, so expect Soviet armor losses to go up on a pace with infantry. American mobility, as the only army in the history of warfare with more vehicles than the TO&E called for, would be a significant force multiplier and an unpleasant surprise, as that was ~85% more motorized army than they'd ever had to deal with before.

The initiative rests with the side that has unquestioned supremacy in artillery, technology, communications, mobility, logistics, airpower, and eventually in production. That was emphatically not the Russians on any count. Bluntly, I'm not sure they could even retreat fast enough to be useful.

Frankly, I'm not really certain the "90 division gamble" would have to be thrown away, although it would certainly help. This is not even close. As far as sustaining casualties, the U.S. isn't looking at much more than continuing what it took conquering Germany and Japan although the Americans' favorite way of making war does get very expensive.


edit: Upon reflection, it was three years since the Soviets had known qualitative inferiority in the air.

If you enjoyed reading about "WWII 1943 Platoon vs. Current 2003 Platoon" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!