Started by mdgiles, October 04, 2012, 04:06:08 AM
Quote from: mdgiles on October 04, 2012, 04:06:08 AMI was looking at a program the other day - Weaponology on the Military Channel - the were discussing the antecedents to today's RPG's. They specifically discussed the Nazi'z WW2 weapons the Panzerschreck and the Panzerfaust . Light, cheap, and deadly against armor. The question that occurred to me, was why the Allies never copied them. It wasn't like they were complex and would have not disrupted production. They were cheap and easily produced. Think US infantry wouldn't have liked to have some Panzerfausts in the hedgerow country? And why not copy the Germans machine guns, they must have captured copies early in the war. Simply copy them and rechamber them for Allied Ammo. If your enemy has a good piece of equipment copy it and use it. This is like why I wonder why the Germans never copied the British 4 engined bombers - which they desperately needed on the Eastern Front. They must have had copies of those littering half of Germany.
Quote from: tbone0106 on October 04, 2012, 11:20:25 AMThe Panzerschreck didn't come into common usage until 1943; the Panzerfaust 60, the most common version, didn't even begin production until September 1944, just seven months before VE-day, and didn't reach front-line service for some time after that. The two weapons probably instigated the design of the "Super Bazooka," introduced near the end of the war, but such things take time.
QuoteThe Germans never copied the British (or American) four-engined bombers because they didn't want four-engined bombers. The German war philosophy was the classic European war philosophy -- nothing we want is more than a couple hundred kilometers away. Germany's only attempt at anything approaching a strategic bombing campaign was the Battle of Britain, which found them trying to use short-range tactical bombers and fighters in a long-range strategic role. Lightly-armed twin-engine bombers protected by fast and agile fighters -- with only ten minutes over target before their fuel status forced them to withdraw -- was a recipe for disaster.
QuoteHitler's forces may have benefitted from a force of four-engined strategic bombers in the East. But that didn't become apparent until the Russians showed the world just how fast an army can retreat. By that time, it was too late for Germany to put large bombers into their VERY limited pipeline. Hitler's war was nothing if not an exercise in impatience.
Quote from: tbone0106 on October 04, 2012, 01:33:26 PMAs an extension of my previous comments, I'll offer this...American soldiers didn't really begin fighting Germans face-to-face until the summer of 1943, in the Italian campaign, beginning with Sicily. (The North African campaign was largely a British affair, with only peripheral American involvement.) Serious large-scale tank warfare between Americans and Germans began after D-Day in mid-1944.
QuoteArmored cavalry exchanges between US and German troops lasted mere months, not years. Getting new weapons through the military pipeline takes years, not months.
Quote from: mdgiles on October 05, 2012, 03:47:14 AMThat would be news to the American troops who died in Tunisia, at the Kasserine Pass in February, 1943.It always depends on how complex the weapon is and the Panzerfaust was simple. And the US was ALREADY producing our version of the Panzerschreck, the bazooka. The Panzerschreck was simply better. And the Panzerfaust wasn't about tank versus tank, it was about infantry versus tank. Even during WW2 we knew our 60mm bazookas were useless against German tanks unless you got a lucky hit on the threads. The panzerfaust was death to Shermans and T-34's.
Quote from: mdgiles on October 05, 2012, 03:27:21 AMThe Nazis used them experimentally in 1942 and started producing them both, en masse in 1943. There is film of German troops carrying them in Normandy, in the hedgerow country.When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, and the Soviets withdrew their factories to - or beyond - the Urals, the Germans found that their two engine bombers - good as tactical weapons - could not strike at the Soviet factories. They spent from then, until the end of the war, attempting to produce a strategic bomber; but were stymied by the usual rivalries, equipment shortages and inability to decide on just what it was they wanted. For instance they wanted a bomber able to reach the United States; but Goering's fall from grace, and idiotic proposals for stop gap measures (flying Condors one way and then the pilots bailed out to be picked up by submarines) prevented them from seeing the obvious. That they already had the plans and engines to build a fleet of jet bombers. The Germans had launched the first jet fighter in the Heinkel He178 in 1939 - before the war. The Germans actually increased aircraft production as the war continued. And the point I was making, was that simply copying crashed Lancasters would have solved the problem of designing a new bomber, with the added advantage of they know they worked.
Quote from: tbone0106 on October 05, 2012, 12:03:29 PMYeah, Giles, I acknowledged the American effort in North Africa, but you have to admit that it was relatively small and weak, primarily designed as a sop offered to Churchill and, by extension, to Stalin, as a sort of half-assed second front. It became a "second front" only because there was really nothing else to stand it its place. American soldiers died at Kasserine, yes, but the numbers are minor compared to almost every subsequent major engagement. Our 60mm bazookas were just about as useful against the Panzers as were our Shermans, with their short-barreled 75mm rifles. Ditto the T-34's. The key was always numbers. Forty Shermans versus ten Panzers = short, but very exciting fight, ending with ten dead Panzers... and probably twice that many dead Shermans. Ditto the T-34's. Blowing the tracks off even one side of any tank is death. It transforms a piece of mobile cavalry into a fixed, exposed artillery piece with limited range.
Quote from: tbone0106 on October 05, 2012, 12:31:31 PMHedgerow country, Normandy, that's mid-1944, as I said. The US began growing its long-range strategic bomber fleet years before WWII began. The B-17, for example, grew from a proposal by the USAAC in 1934; the first plane flew in August 1935. Consolidated's B-24 was flying by 1939 -- as a direct response to what that company considered to be Boeing's "outdated" B-17 design. B-17's and B-24's didn't begin their endless forays into European skies in earnest until 1943. By that time, Hitler's war had been irretrievably lost. He and his generals never understood or appreciated the very concept of strategic warfare. The yawning distances of the Eastern Front may have made the lesson clear, but by that time it was simply too late. The vaunted German Luftwaffe machine just kept cranking out dated Bf109s and He111s.