Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Wolfy, Jan 6, 2009.
in this approx. order: US, UK, German, Soviet, Japanese.
Is this correct?
i think you're pretty much correct. The UK and German may be closer to each other, the Germans always sent their BEST food to the front whenever possible.
A German soldier in the Battle of the Bulge remarked "I remember seeing my first dead American soldier. His boots were brand new and his pockets were full of chocolates and cigarettes. I looked at my own worn out boots coming apart at the soles, the taterred uniform and greatcoat i had and thought of the last meager rations we had gotten. I knew then we would surely lose the war."
Weren't the Italians rather lavishly equipped at the beginning of their war. If you count perfumary etc as lavish rather than armour.
Well, this is a "late war" scenario. I meant lavishly equipped more in terms of combat equipment..
There are also remarks (from captured American GI's at the bulge) that that it was so shocking that there were so many fresh German troops with new equipment and gear.
Well, i also think that's pretty much right. at the beginning of the war, though, i think the Japanese were better equipped than the Russians.
It is hard to equip effectively a rapidly disintegrating front and soldiers that are surrendering by the thousands. And besides combat equipment, the Soviets were maybe lacking in support equipment, because they didn't use much of it. For example, mine detectors. No need for the Russians, they cleared minefields by marching raw recruits across them. However, by late war, Russian troops were definitely supplied better.
At the start of the war the Soviets had more armor, vehicles, planes, artillery, etc than the Japanese had. They lost a lot early on though. By the end of the war the allies in general were much better equipped than the Germans or Japanese. At the beginning it depends. For instance if you go back to the Louisiana maneuvers the US was practicing with cars labeled "tank" and other such makeshifts.
They may have been a bit wasteful in the using of their troops, but they were not stupid. So i wouldn't go saying things like that without a sufficient source.
It seems that the enemy is always better equipped in the eyes of the poor man in a foxhole, under a seemingly endless artillery barrage.
Just one of the many myths about the Soviets. Here are Soviet soldiers with mine detectors.
Hungry troops don't fight or do much else well. Adequate food rations is as important to victory as the quality of the soldier's weaponry.
I don't think the Russians ran raw recruits into minefields. Some penal battalions might have been used this way (Max Hastings) in crisises but useful rifle strength were not likely to be expended so cheaply. Though not exactly abundant, mine-detectors was a lend-lease item shipped in sustantial quanities so I'd imagine the Russians used those when they can. A lot of mine detection work was done by hand anyways, so the defficit of mine detectors was not totally crippling.
It would be important to adress another myth before it rears its ugly head again. The Red Army did not send half of its rifleman to the front without rifles and expect the survivors to pick weapons up from the fallen; this happened allegledy in World War I.
The US infantry was very well equipped in regard to motorized vehicles, radios, heavy guns and tank support. The late war German army was primitive in comparison but was better off in the quality of their antitank weapons and light machine guns. The Brits I don't know enough about, but shortage in weapons or vehicles was not a problem for their army at late war.
The Ivans were hard to evaluate, since they were given only those equipment that were deemed absolutely essential to the completion of their mission, and so depending on their mission they could be very well armed (major offensive) or badly equipped (hold terrain and be a speed bump). Pity the Japanese: they had scant automatic weapons, lacked a servicible submachine gun, had a multitude of service rifle calibers, and suffered from poor artillery and armor.
Oh! And don't forget combat engineering. The Americans got bridging and fording gear like nobody else. The Russians did not compare well--the Vistula-Oder crossing was completely improvised except for select small units. The Germans were much worse, some late war unit having zero capability in this.
These kind of discussions remind me of a show I saw yesterday in History Channel : The Top Ten Best Mummies! Is it so important? Does it change anything?
Let's put it this other way, How Long Is A Piece Of String? "in this approx. order: US, UK, German, Soviet, Japanese."
The US pieces of string benefitted from a large installed industrial base, and new advances in artificial fibres, especially Nylon which started being used in earnest for the production of parachutes.
UK pieces of string had the advantage of again a large textile industrial base, going back to the Industrial Revolution. Also the colonial markets supplied a lot of raw materials, enabling very long pieces of string made of hemp or jute.
German pieces of string had the drawback of having access to overseas raw materials being in jeopardy, however the IG Farben in places like Auschwitz produced large amounts of ersatz. Accusations of use of human hair from jewish Holocaust victims to make string have been discarded by serious historians, at least in industrial amounts.
Soviet string was as much about that country made in large scale, prime matter coming especially from the cotton fields in Khazakstan, although this had dire ecological consequences as excessive water outtake from the Aral Sea effectively dried this up.
Japanese string production had more or less the same benefits as UK, although as the war went on the toll taken on the Japanese merchant fleet more or less died sources up. However, production of high quality silk string kept on at a high pace, especially to make silk scarves for suicide pilots.
All German infantry divisions in Barbarossa had bridging equipment. By late war, there was simply little need....so they were removed.
Source(s) for this?
When the Germans began to organize "type 44" divisions all but the panzer divisions had their organic bridging equipment pulled out of the orgainzation and pooled at corps level. There were two reasons for this:
1. The division did not use the equipment on a regular basis, particularly when retreating.
2. The manpower could be reduced and the division made more efficent.
Then some bugger comes along and invents the rubber band and launches an atomic bomb with it....
Progress but at what cost...
Its the weapon not the user....Ban elastic bands. String though is now officially superceded.
Yes, please. Some hard sources on this would be nice.
Some factoid I recalled from reading Osprey's Panzer Divisions on the Eastern Front, 1941-1943. (new release) Not 100% sure now, that people are doubting.
Do you have the copy at hand? It is vexing when one remember the book from which a piece of information is obtained but the book is no longer available. I have a series of reference books that was lost in transit when I moved and they became out of print years ago.
I was refering to heavy duty fording equipment and boats. It would seem that the availability of such equipment was very low in most armies. The British for example failed to attatch any forward unit equipped with assault boats to XXX Corps during Market-Garden.
It is probable that some bridging equipment was available to many German units during early war, but its a matter of quantity and quality.