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2nd Gen. German Tank Destroyers in 1943?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by Ceraphix, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Ceraphix

    Ceraphix Member

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    Does anyone think the outcome of the war would have been any different had Germany's second-generation tank destroyers(Hetzer, Jagdpanzer IV, Jagdpanther, Jagdtiger) had started production in early 1943 as opposed to early 1944?

    Personally, I think Germany was going to lose the war anyway the minute they declared war on Russia :D, but they probably would have lasted a good bit longer. The Hetzer, Jagdpanzer IV, and Jagdpanther were all very reliable and capable machines, plus they had a relatively low cost because of their simple design which would enable them to be produced in numbers needed for Germany at this stage in the war. Plus that would have given them an extra year to fix the issues in the Jagdtiger :p.
     
  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    No not really. Perhaps more tanks kills and death. The outcome would have been the same though. Just may take alittle bit longer. And if introduced earlier the Allies would have also speeded up thier own countermeasures and still outproduced them.
     
  3. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I have come to notice that this answer is the answer to all what if's ever thought up by anybody. More Deaths and kills, longer war, but the outcome would be the same.:)
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Just having better weapons would not have changed the outcome. What was also needed was a change in command structure. Hitler needed to stop his meddling and let the Generals command. Then, there would have been significant changes in the results. As long as Hitler was in charge, then I agree with you Tomcat.......same results just longer timeframe.
     
  5. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Yes. Like others have stated before here. There would have to be major changes to the German Economic,Political,Racial,Military and other policies and views for them to even barely have a chance to win. Having some better weapons just isn't enough to turn the tide.
     
  6. arneken

    arneken Member

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    More tankdestroyers = more Allied tanks then.

    Americans would probably just put more pressure on the fabrication of the Sherman.

    You can stop one but can you stop them all?
     
  7. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    1n 1942/43 the Germs had more than enough good tank-destroyers then, such as the StuG III and the Marder II / III series, not forgetting the entire 90 (now that is a mind-boggling number!) of the much publicised Ferdinand.

    No practical difference between a StuG III and a Jpz IV, no practical difference between a Ferdinand and a JgPther, so?
     
  8. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    The few Tiger and large caliber AT cannon deployed in 1943 failed to get the attention of the US policy makers. Specfically the commander and staff of US Army Ground Forces, who were responsible for the decsions on equipment selection and production priority. They knew the Germns had the new super weapons, but also thought they would continue to be fielded in insignificant numbers. Were many more of the high powered tank killers to be fielded in 1943 then the real situation would have sunk in at AGF HQ and development/production of the next generation of US armor accelerated. Thats not to say the assualt at Normandy would have been entirely equppied with M26 Pehrshings and M36 Jacksons. A few more of those could have been available a few months earlier. Rather improvements to the M4 Sherman series would be much accelerated.

    The focus for close air support might change slightly as well.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    No Luftwaffe to protect those things from moving around?! Or fuel a bit later on?! Germany needed badly lots of everything to stay in the war really.
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Amazing how they managed for so long, isn't it? Now THAT says something.
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    What Germany needed was a Tank easy to build and relatively low cost like either a Sherman or a T-34. Germany produced too many types in a bewildering array of variants to have much commonality with one another. I understand that much of what was done was impovisation and making do with what was on hand, but it was hideously wastefull. When your opponents are building 2,3,or 5 tanks/afv's to your one, you have got to do something about it or perish
     
  12. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    I've heard that many times, but even if they had something along the lines of the Sherman or T34 how are they supposed to support larger numbers? They didn't have enough fuel or logistical support for the vehicles they had. Basically they needed more of everything.
     
  13. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Instead of focusing on Germany, how about designers -- noted that I do not mention their nationalities -- pick out useful parts from Czech, Hungarian and Romanian armor fighting vehicles to produce general use AFVs. For example, Hetzer -- from Czech chasis and Romanian and Soviet BTseries (sloped armor only) design -- would have equipped the Romanian and Hungarian when the OB broke out. Not expected to change the outcome any substantially, Romanian assault on the Red Army would be less casualties -- Hetzer killing off Soviet tanks on the competent level of T-26 and BT7 should be easy. Then as the OB dragged on, Romanian would upgrade hetzer with adopting the idea of wide tracks from captured T-34.
     
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The short answer is yes. But it would have been a particularly odd alternative history in which tyhe Germans increased SP gun production in 1943 without increased all war production ( Total War) in 1940-41 rather than 1943-44. Had the Germans produced the same amount of weapons they did in 1941 that thet achieved in 1944 they would have won the war.

    The German failure was the reality of the deal offered to the Germans public to have "guns AND Butter" rather than that accepted by the British and Russians toi pout victory before comfort.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    If anything, I think it might have hastened the end of the war. That may sound odd until you start digging into tank losses in the ETO. We lost nearly 10,000 tanks, but it's rather frustrating to research this because the allies kept very poor records on how these tanks were destroyed. We tend to think of tanks (or tank destroyers) battling tanks and causing those losses, but in fact the records (as poor as they are) tend to paint a different picture when you delve into them.

    One US study indicates that 54% of losses were due to "gunfire' yet that is not broken down into smaller categories, so they're talking about everything from artillery to PAK 40's. This would also include enemy tanks and TDs, but when you read the battle accounts (wholly different than the data collected by the recovery teams) you see a lot more mention of emplaced "guns" (usually a PAK 40) than anything else. That makes the data very frustrating, but the people collecting the data following the battle had no way of knowing what type of gun destroyed the tank. A mangled tank, perhaps with the turret missing, the ammo inside cooked off, leaves few clues as to what destroyed it.

    The second category at 20% is mines.

    The 3rd category is simple break downs at 13%. One assumes (or at least *I* assume) that these losses are more than a simple broken track, but something like a burned out engine requiring an extensive rebuild to count it as a "loss."

    The 4th category was "hollow charge" weapons (the faust) at 7.5%, but it wouldn't surprise me if that number was much higher - perhaps as high as 15 or 20% - for the reasons above. If a tanks cooks up, there are few clues to the cause, so I suspect a lot of faust losses were probably counted as "gunfire."

    The 5th category at 6.5% is "everything else." A lucky hit on the engine compartment with a mortar, somebody a tossing grenade down an open hatch, air attacks, etc.

    To get back to my original point - that more and better German tracked TD's might have hastened the end of the war - is based on that 54% loss to "gunfire." When reading the actual AAR's you find relatively few examples of tank on tank (or tank on TD) fights. There are notable exceptions of course, but my (very subjective) take on this is that most losses were due to the ubiquitous PAK 40 and its other towed or emplaced relatives. The Germans were fighting a defensive war and you read account after account of an allied column losing its lead tank, or several tanks, before a gun is located and neutralized. Such a gun was generally set up just to get off a half dozen shots and then be withdrawn before they were spotted and fire returned, but even if lost it was a relatively low cost weapon compared to tracked TDs which might never even get into the battle due to allied air superiority.

    Basically, how many PAK 40 guns could be produced for the cost of one Jagdpanzer? How quickly (and cheaply) could you produce and replace towed guns lost in battle compared to tracked Panzers of any kind? In many ways, the German army was still focused on offensive warfare long after the tide had turned and they were in a defensive war.

    They only produced about 20,000 PAK 40 guns yet I suspect they killed more allied armor than all Panzer types (including TDs) combined. What if they had produced 100,000 PAK 40 guns? I suspect the war would have lasted much longer than it did.
     
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  16. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The Panzerfaust was the most cost effective anti-tank-weapon and ideal for all the german Volkssturm-veterans, Kindergarten-units or even women. You could learn to fire it in a few minutes, you don't need a vehicle whatsoever to take it into battle and it was cheap.
    In the last desperate months of the war, a lot of the new "soldiers" had nothing else than a Panzerfaust.

    In 1941 and 1942, the Wehrmacht barely hat real anti-tank-capability. Only the 88mm gun was effective against the new soviet tanks or the Matildas. They would have needed an effective tank-destroyer in reasonable numbers back then.
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The 75 in the PAK 40, with PzGr 40 rounds, could penetrate the 78mm frontal armor of a Matilda out to about 1500 meters, and was of course similarly deadly on other tanks of that class. It could penetrate 120mm of 30 degree sloped armor at 1000 meters. It's an impressive weapon, and properly sited could be invisible enough to engage a number of tanks before being seen and forced to withdraw or be destroyed.

    The faust is impressive in its way, but was probably far more useful in western Europe than the open steppes of Russia. I wouldn't want to be the guy carrying a faust in the open country of the east when a T34 needed killing. I'd rather be pulling the lanyard on a PAK 40 when that T34 is 1500 meters out.

    A good gun, but they didn't make nearly enough of them.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I don't they should have produced the Jagdpanzer IV or StuGIV at all. The PzIV remained comparable to the vast majority of Allied tanks right up to the end of the war. As Guderian and others have pointed out, there were never enough basic tanks to keep the panzer divisions up to strength. The only thing I would build on the PzIV chassis was self-propelled artillery like the Hummel for the panzer divisions.

    I understand that the StuGIV came about because the main factory producing StuGIIIs was bombed and there was a perceived need to maintain StuG production; I simply think that was the wrong priority. There was little value in diverting PzIV chassis to carrying the same guns already mounted in tanks.

    On the other hand I am an advocate of the Jagdpanther - because I would not have built the Tiger II or Jagdtiger. As several people have noted, the Germans in mid-war already had too many models, complicating production, logistics, operations, and maintenance. The Jagdpanther could be the platform for the 88mmL71, they could build 2-3 or them for every Tiger II, and they're more likely to be where you need them on the battlefield.

    The Hetzer was a good investment, which could have been realized earlier:

    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/43584-stug-38t/
     
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  19. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Yes. it was a very good gun but not very mobile:
    http://world-war-2.wikia.com/wiki/PaK_40_%2875mm%29

    It was cheap to make compared with a tank, but not that cheap to be regarded as a one-way-weapon by an army which was short of everything. And you need 5 proper soldiers and not only kids.
     
  20. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The US Army went back and forth on the question of self-propelled or towed tank destroyers ("towed tank destroyer" = "anti-tank gun"). Experience with Pak40s and 88s in Normandy suggested the value of powerful towed guns; someone (Bradley?) recommended a 50/50 mix. Then in the Battle of the Bulge a number of towed tank destroyer units were overrun, leading to a renewed preference for SP TDs which could bail out when the situation became critical. The loss of guns has traditionally been considered a dishonor to artillery units, but I think it was overdone. If sticking it out a little longer enabled a gun crew to destroy another enemy tank or AFV, losing their gun would be a worthwhile exchange, assuming the crew got away and disabled the gun, taking the breechblock with them or dropping a thermite grenade down the bore.
     

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