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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:08 am 
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For someone who enjoys declaring his indifference regarding the fate of various European nationalities it seems odd that one should celebrate the attack on a Nazi factory that made poision gas. The Nazis didn't really poision that many Americans or Brits. The people they killed with the gas were born in France, Poland, Germany etc...


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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:12 am 
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So was the Sherman as much of a piece of crap as this History channel piece seems to want us to believe?


My own view, and please tell me if I'm wrong here . . .

I suspect, if the Nazis had been using Shermans in place of Pz IIIs, Fall Weiss and Case Yellow would have turned out just about as well for them as it did in real history. If all of their Pz Is and IIs had also been replaced with Sherman M4s, they likely would have done even BETTER in conquesting Poland, France and the Low Countries.

But trying to conquest Russia without first building up large numbers of Panthers and/or Tigers was likely an enormous mistake and attempting to do it with fleets of mostly Shermans would have been even worse.

But the war changed, and operational contexts which afforded the sorts of dynamics where large numbers of light/medium tanks were beneficial became the exception rather than the rule.

I think there was a need for different types of machines at different stages of the war, as well as in different theaters and in different types of battle contexts within theaters. At least at this stage of military history, it seems to me "the perfect" tank did not exist. Tanks which were very strong on several dimensions likely had some other major drawbacks and machines which were very good in one role might have been crap at most other roles.

The Sherman was probably the right tank in 1941 in Europe, and for the Pacific theater a perfectly suitable tank; indeed anything bigger would likely have been prohibitive in the Pacific theater. But even by 1942 when the Yanks finally got into the action in Europe, the Tigers and Panthers were already starting to show up and this made the Sherman less and less advantageous, particularly in the open country of Northern Africa. Surprisingly, it seems to have performed fairly well in North Africa and the Italian campaigns, and this raises another issue for me which the history channel fails to consider: no matter how good or bad your machine may be (within a certain range of reason) tactics and operational procedures can make a huge difference.

German success up through 1941 was at least as much a result of their overall war doctrines, the tactics they followed, and the way they used their various assets in combined fashion. It appears to me that the Pz I, II, and III, perhaps even the IV were not distinctively better than the Sherman (at least not in their early war configuration) and yet, those are the machines the Nazis used to conquer most of Europe, well the tanks anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:06 am 
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For someone who enjoys declaring his indifference regarding the fate of various European nationalities it seems odd that one should celebrate the attack on a Nazi factory that made poision gas. The Nazis didn't really poision that many Americans or Brits. The people they killed with the gas were born in France, Poland, Germany etc...


I'd have supported the US participation in the war in Europe after 8 Dec 1941 and US not-so-covert support prior to that.

I am indifferent to the fates of modern European nations BECAUSE after the USA saved them in 1942-45 and defended them from 1948 through 1994, those nations completely repudiated their debts of honor to the USA in three substantial wars, while imposing some fairly obvious "let's pass a few laws to attack the US economy and take some of their money" laws designed solely to rip off American manufacturers and IP creators.

The US invested in Europe in WW2 on the idea that shared modern secular progressive values mean that Europeans would be good military and economic allies. It turns out to have been a very bad investment. Continental European nations are run by faithless, feckless narcissists.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:23 am 
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The youtube thing is a hit piece nothing more, designed to appeal to wehrmacht fetishists.

Russians driving the M4 thought that it was a marvelous tank because:
1. If it caught fire, the ammunition didn't explode inside the tank while the crew were taking cover UNDER the tank.
2. It was much less stressful to operate, physically.
3. It was massively more reliable than anything fielded by the Russians or Germans, engine and drivetrain-wise.
4. The 75mm gun was perfectly suitable for destroying 75% of the tanks the Russians were likely to face. It could hole the front armor of a Pz VIE (tiger) out to 1000 yards, and could hole any Pz IV, StuG, or other German medium tank save the PzV from the front. On the Western front, most M4s were lost to emplaced antitank guns. In American hands, the M4A3 (76mm gun) was superior to every German tank on the field, being able to penetrate PzVs and PZVIs at almost any range, and being vastly superior at shooting while moving (because of the gyrostabilized gun -- a feature lacking in the German counterpart, the PzIV).

If the standard of evaluation is to have fielded a tank that was impenetrable from the front, to an 88/37, the US90mm, the British 17 pdr, or the Russian 122, the Germans made ONE such vehicle...the PzJ AusfB. No one else made a vehicle that was impenetrable to those guns. And the PzJ Ausf B was such a marvel of crappy engineering and bad manufacturing it couldn't get out of its own way without the help of a platoon of service vehicles.

There are three candidates for best tanks of the entire war. The German PzIV, the US M4, and the Soviet T-34. Thats it. No other tank comes close to having the well rounded complement of reliability, good main armament, and secondary MGs, and of those the M4 was more reliable and better at shooting while moving (which means, a superior tank for attacking).

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:07 pm 
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mdiehl wrote:
The US invested in Europe in WW2 on the idea that shared modern secular progressive values mean that Europeans would be good military and economic allies. It turns out to have been a very bad investment. Continental European nations are run by faithless, feckless narcissists.


It was all in vain then. The US airmen in the ETO that died did so for nothing. Even less reasons for you to celebrate. Sucks to be you I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:46 pm 
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mdiehl wrote:
The youtube thing is a hit piece nothing more, designed to appeal to wehrmacht fetishists.

Russians driving the M4 thought that it was a marvelous tank because:
1. If it caught fire, the ammunition didn't explode inside the tank while the crew were taking cover UNDER the tank.
2. It was much less stressful to operate, physically.
3. It was massively more reliable than anything fielded by the Russians or Germans, engine and drivetrain-wise.
4. The 75mm gun was perfectly suitable for destroying 75% of the tanks the Russians were likely to face. It could hole the front armor of a Pz VIE (tiger) out to 1000 yards, and could hole any Pz IV, StuG, or other German medium tank save the PzV from the front. On the Western front, most M4s were lost to emplaced antitank guns. In American hands, the M4A3 (76mm gun) was superior to every German tank on the field, being able to penetrate PzVs and PZVIs at almost any range, and being vastly superior at shooting while moving (because of the gyrostabilized gun -- a feature lacking in the German counterpart, the PzIV).

If the standard of evaluation is to have fielded a tank that was impenetrable from the front, to an 88/37, the US90mm, the British 17 pdr, or the Russian 122, the Germans made ONE such vehicle...the PzJ AusfB. No one else made a vehicle that was impenetrable to those guns. And the PzJ Ausf B was such a marvel of crappy engineering and bad manufacturing it couldn't get out of its own way without the help of a platoon of service vehicles.

There are three candidates for best tanks of the entire war. The German PzIV, the US M4, and the Soviet T-34. Thats it. No other tank comes close to having the well rounded complement of reliability, good main armament, and secondary MGs, and of those the M4 was more reliable and better at shooting while moving (which means, a superior tank for attacking).


You should post that as an response in that YT comments thread! :P

I do not disagree with you, and I suspect you know that stuff better than I do!

I think the poor vet they interviewed for that History channel bit was just plain PTSDed from having cleaned the corpses out of so many of them, poor fellow.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:57 pm 
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wulfir wrote:
mdiehl wrote:
The US invested in Europe in WW2 on the idea that shared modern secular progressive values mean that Europeans would be good military and economic allies. It turns out to have been a very bad investment. Continental European nations are run by faithless, feckless narcissists.


It was all in vain then. The US airmen in the ETO that died did so for nothing. Even less reasons for you to celebrate. Sucks to be you I guess.


You make a fair point if one adopts Midol's view (which I'm not honestly too far from as he presents it immediately above; Europe HAS betrayed the U.S. and I think most of us are fairly fucking sick of it . . .). But the key thing that made it "all worth it" was the destruction of fascism and the containment and eventual remission of Communism. We haven't quite got to the point of exterminating "communism" (though now it is morphed into such a plain old form of oligarchic authoritarianism and doesn't even TRY to do the whole "Commune Comrades, We are all in this together!" bit, so "communism" I suppose "is dead." No one is still trying to pretend that is what they are . . . (except the DPRK I suppose).

Our vision here in the United States is that ALL humans will one day enjoy the marvels of our enlightenment, our standards of living, our freedom, our "
Tout ce qui est bien!" Midol is only disappointed that you have resisted our efforts to bring you along with us into the 21st century.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:03 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
But trying to conquest Russia without first building up large numbers of Panthers and/or Tigers was likely an enormous mistake and attempting to do it with fleets of mostly Shermans would have been even worse.


The Germans were excellent at waging war at the tactical level. The Americans were unsurpassed when it came to logistics. Logistics win wars.

The Americans had a fully motorised army in Europe. Every infantry division usually had a full tank battalion attached (along with a tank destroyer Bn). They were able to keep the mass of troops and equipment deployed to Europe supplied while at the same time fighting a high intensity war in the Pacific (with the distances that exist there). That is impressive. In the Ardennes 44 the tank losses are loopsided in German favour, many US tank divisions committed take heavy losses, but the losses can be made good rather quickly. At this time the Germans on the other hand can maybe field a StuG or sfl Pak company per infantry type division, their Panzer Divisions suffer from fuel shortages and can not always use the full number of tanks availiable. In the air the Allied side does not suffer from a competence disadvantage vs the enemy (which is the case for the Russians on the eastern front).

The British 7th Armoured Division was withdrawn from the Med when Monty wanted his desert legions concentrated in Britain before Overlord. They gave up their Shermans and were equipped with Cromwell tanks and were greatly unhappy about this but would probably not have done much better at Villiers Bockage etc if they had been given all Shermans...


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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:48 pm 
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wulfir wrote:
Anthropoid wrote:
But trying to conquest Russia without first building up large numbers of Panthers and/or Tigers was likely an enormous mistake and attempting to do it with fleets of mostly Shermans would have been even worse.


The Germans were excellent at waging war at the tactical level. The Americans were unsurpassed when it came to logistics. Logistics win wars.

The Americans had a fully motorised army in Europe. Every infantry division usually had a full tank battalion attached (along with a tank destroyer Bn). They were able to keep the mass of troops and equipment deployed to Europe supplied while at the same time fighting a high intensity war in the Pacific (with the distances that exist there). That is impressive. In the Ardennes 44 the tank losses are loopsided in German favour, many US tank divisions committed take heavy losses, but the losses can be made good rather quickly. At this time the Germans on the other hand can maybe field a StuG or sfl Pak company per infantry type division, their Panzer Divisions suffer from fuel shortages and can not always use the full number of tanks availiable. In the air the Allied side does not suffer from a competence disadvantage vs the enemy (which is the case for the Russians on the eastern front).

The British 7th Armoured Division was withdrawn from the Med when Monty wanted his desert legions concentrated in Britain before Overlord. They gave up their Shermans and were equipped with Cromwell tanks and were greatly unhappy about this but would probably not have done much better at Villiers Bockage etc if they had been given all Shermans...


True. Which takes us back to the "REAL" mistake the Germs made: getting in too big a rush to conquer Europe. If I recall, some good estimates say that the German economy was only at about 45% of "fully ready/fully mobilized" for war, and while 2.5 million troops seemed like a lot in Aug 1939, 10 million would have been a helluva lot better. Given the relative apathy and inertia in France and Germany, along with the extreme apathy in the U.S. and relative unpreparedness in USSR, I think Hitler easily could have waited for two three more years of buildup, and accomplished exactly the same thing they accomplished in Fall '39-Spring/Summer '40, AND have been in a much better long-term position.

It would actually be fun to assemble a small crew of stategy game players to have a long-term multiplayer with whichever engine is best suited and test this hypothesis. Of course, one can test it with singleplayer modes, but all the "AI" in such grand historical strategy games are such utter garbage it just is not a good test. Of course, in order to keep the game play inline with the test, all the human players would have to know the boundaries of the way they could play based on whichever nation they played and that might not be very fun for France, GB, Russia, US players.

Supreme Ruler Ultimate might not be too bad to test this, but Supreme Ruler Great War might even be better, given I'm assuming one can play straight through about 1910 to 21st century with that one . . . Set the game start to reflect the actual conditions after WWI, pick the date and go!

ADDIT: the other 'what if' factor I've been contemplating (which is taking this OT . . .) is: What If the Nazis had not been eugenicist, racial supremacitsts? What if they instead regarded "diversity" favorably, as long as it was willing to adopt German ways, but were in all other respects the exact same as the real Nazis? Militaristic, nationalistic, imperialistic, vindictive, revanchist, technically-sophisticated if not pedantic, quasi-spiritual, authoritarian, statists to the point of centralizing and nationalizing ANY industry or property which the state deemed to be of vital interest, in sum thoroughly dictatorial, but also very efficient and effective and inspiring for its people . . .

Would it have made any difference to their success in WWII?

I think that NOT persecuting Jews, gypsies, slavs ,homos, communists, etc. likely would NOT have HURT the Nazis (well the commies, maybe a bit . . . it goes without saying that at least some of those WOULD have been spies for Stalin).

Given the amount of brain drain they suffered, the amount of foreign policy and international relations backlash they suffered, and the expense and demographic harm it self-inflicted with its "racial purity" schemes I suspect that the Nazis would have been considerably MORE effective had they skipped the whole "we are racial super men" bit.

The really interesting thing here is: arguably the basis for 19th century eugenics can be traced back to ONE guy who did experiments in a Moravian monastery on pea plants in the mid 19th century: Gregor Mendel.

Had Mendel included environmental factors into his experiments, Eugenics might never have arisen, and epigenetics might have prevailed over genetic determinism.

ADDIT: ah hold on, I seem to have got my history of biology a bit confused. Sir Francis Galton was the founder of eugenics and he, I suspect, was not aware of Mendels work. Still, IF Mendel had done experiments that showed the important effects of environmental factors and epigenetic effects, and if those experiments had become known to would-be eugenecists (and Darwin too), then perhaps eugenics might not have emerged . . . No eugenics school of thought = little to no "scientific" rationale for the racial supremacy theories the Nazis rested on.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:48 pm 
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The US airmen in the ETO that died did so for nothing.


They killed a bunch of people that needed killing.

What came after was on Europeans.

Eventually the USA will either be bankrupt and unable to subsidize Europe or before that enough people will see what a waste of effort you all collectively are for the USA, and we'll leave you to defend yourselves from each other or Russia... whomever among you starts the next great war.

Then it'll suck to be you.

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