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Russian vs German Infantry Weapons

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Lt Fox, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A lot of my readings confirm Mike's thesis as well. The diversion of the better recruits towards the elite formations, and the high number of so called elite formations to "refill" after the Eastern front losses, left the German line infantry divisions short of good human material by 1943.
    The Germans had an amazing number of "favoured" units, the total of the various panzer, panzer grenadier, paratroopers, mountain, light, SS, Lehr, etc. is high even when compared to the huge size of the German army.

    I think the switch from 9 batallion to 7 batallion ID also contributed to creating a situation were only the "elite" was capable of real offensive operations.
    The 7 batallion formations were nearly as good as the 9 batallion ones in defence, as they had about the same numbers of gun tubes and automatic weapons that are big killers , but a lot less capable in offense.

    Another factor was that the infantry divisions were almost never rotated out of line unless nearly completely destroyed, after a unit has been in the line for more than one year, even if most individual soldiers in it had some leave, it can become "brittle" due to accumulated combat fatigue, only by resting it as a unit will it be able to recover. By 1944 most German infantry was not on a par with it's opponents.

    I believe "small very special units" like the SAS and commandos are not relevant to this discussion, a German equivalent for them would be more Skorzeny and his likes than the above "elite". A better allied side equivalent would be units like the allied paras and marines, while these units did get better recruits on average, there were few enough of them not drain too high a pervcentage of the good recruits.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    my post was duplicated but can't find a way to delete this (the second copy)
     
  3. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Hasting's comparisons are not based on pitting German best against Allied averages, at least not in Armagaddon. He did not dismiss the performance of second rate German troops since he continually pointed out their contrution to key German defensive operations.

    In so far as I can discern, Hastings argued the German infantry was superior because the average as well as the best German units consistently punched above their weight. From September to December 1944 Allid offensives in the Roer region and Holland were esstentially contained by second rate German troops even though they were poorly equipped in all respects.

    Market-Garden pitted British paras versus SS replacement battalions. In Brest, Metz and Hurtgenwald, regular allied units were essentiall halted by German fortress troops who were inferior in all respects. Would an allied replacement unit hold the line in those battles? I doubt it.

    This view was supported by the asessements of highly competent commanders at the time, as well as post war operational research by the Dupuy Institute which found that the average German infantry unit was 20% more effective than the American or British counterpart and 100% more effective than the Red Army counterpart.

    I think you will find me in agreement there. As I have said, the US and UK armies had enough good divisions to get the job done. One of the things in which I found Hastings tedious was he overstating himself. Some of the units he maligned in Armagaddon such as the 30th Infantry had terrific fighting records. The finest American divisions were as good as any in the Waffen-SS or elite Heers. One cannot make the argument that units like the 1st ID, 2d AD and 4th ADs were not crack troops.

    Certainly. Allied formations had superior combat power regardless of infantry quality and in the end, I don't care about how an enemy is killed as long as he is. Combined arms win battles.
     
  4. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    It's worse by 1944. The problem with German fanboy nonsensical claims like comparing kill loss ratios leaving the accuracy of such claims asidefor the moment is that it betrays an ignorance of the casaulty rates in German units. The panzer divisions in Normandy one the average lost 1/3 of its crewmen in two months. Some of those infantry divisions were so far gone, saying the ranks were decimated would be too generous. German commanders in the Battle of the Bulge felt that they had totally lost the war because even their ground units had became inferior decisively.

    An American soldier Hastings interviewed said, "you don't become battle-hardened. You just got worn out." I think refilling divisions with inexperienced replacements arround exhausted and despondent veterans was by far the most overrated German practice of the war. There was only so much you can repair by rotation out of the line. Beyond a certain point you'd just become weaker and that's where the Germans were at 1944.


    IMHO, I don't feel Waffen-SS or elite Heers units are superior to the allied crack motorized infantry or armor. We had the clash of elites in Normandy and the Bulge and we know who won.
     
  5. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    It was not as simple as that, the Germans form years before had been suffering man power issues, fuel issues, the lack of an air force once the initial stormy whether had cleared. The German force with proper supplies could have pushed straight through the allied lines and maybe reached the Atlantic, cutting the northern allies of from the southern ones. The Airborne troops did do exceptional well, but like I said they were facing ill supplied troops. The 101st and the 82nd are always shown as being the better unit, but what if the went up against a similar unit with similar supplies and man power, would they excel as they did against more inferior units, like those on the Conteton Peninsular during D-Day?
     
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think that man for man they were about par, with some advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Superior logistics and airforce on the allied side gave them the advantage.
    While usually allied divisions became elite by battlefield experience, the most obvious example being the soviet guards, the German system created elite units by design by concentrting the best manpower in them. The question is whether this practice resulted in excessively weakening the remaining formations, IMHO the German army peaked around the end of 1941, after that, while some units were still capable of impressive feats, the average quality declined. But I can't be sure if this was due to the above practice or other causes like accumulated battle fatigue, tactical reorganization, declining morale as the war started going against the axis or someting else.
     
  7. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    A couple of points. 101st was rather poorly supplied during the fight because its was cut off. They had no weapons, and armor only in small detachments. For days they had no medical supplies, and 155mm shells nearly ran out. The gravity of the situation prompted McAuliff to declare that 155mm shells would only be fired at the Germans if the lines were threatened with imminent breakthrough.

    In any event. I wasn't refering to the paratroopers. I was refering to the 30th Infantry Division that stopped the SS Panzers at Mortain, the 2d AD that extinguished 2d SS Panzer during Cobra when both were at category I status, the 2d doing it again at the 2d Panzer, and 2d Infantry Division's destruction of 12 SS Panzer's panther companies at Rochenbache. Those were tactical battles, and with one exception logistics wasn't really the issue.

    I imagine the Germans would really loved to have some more SP artillery and shells arroundk but the spearhead outstripping artillery support was not just a late war phenomenon. Even at the prime of its mechanization it seems fairly often that German units would ran off its artillery grid.
     
  8. drgeorge

    drgeorge Member

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    regarding this particular argument, I would have to agree with the above quote. Another factor (disregarding the 8x56R Mannlicher eg Hungarian army) is the ammo compatability: 8mm Mauser for almost all rifles and mgs!!
     
  9. mikegb

    mikegb Member

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    Yes If I remember correctly the mauser can be fired even from a 303 lee enfield just dont try British ammunition in a German Mauser its just too large. The British could still use captured weapons because the Besa machine guns on their tanks were Mauser caliber.
     

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