If the Nazis Knew What They Would Need?

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,717
Sydney
#21
aggienation is right on many points , I did slip a bit on the Hertzer ....gleefuly conflating panzers with tanks
by the way while it was a German panzer , it was Czech made ,I'm not quite sure in which national category it should fit

as for the tiger , a most excellent and dreaded machine , the soviet produced twice as many IS-2
the production limits for the tigers were mostly of its special maranging armor and individual crafting

the German used the Tiger at armies group headquarter level in independent Heavy battalions of the 500 serie
it was a guzzling pig for petrol , having twice as many tigers would have meant somewhere else a whole panzer brigade would have to convert to horses
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#22
aggienation is right on many points , I did slip a bit on the Hertzer ....gleefuly conflating panzers with tanks
by the way while it was a German panzer , it was Czech made ,I'm not quite sure in which national category it should fit
Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) tank destroyer and the Panzer 38(t) tanks (and a few others) were Czech technology, built through Czech labor and captured factories.

as for the tiger , a most excellent and dreaded machine , the soviet produced twice as many IS-2 the production limits for the tigers were mostly of its special maranging armor and individual crafting

the German used the Tiger at armies group headquarter level in independent Heavy battalions of the 500 series. it was a guzzling pig for petrol , having twice as many tigers would have meant somewhere else a whole panzer brigade would have to convert to horses
Not many Tigers were built, 1,359 between 42-44, they were never that happy with them, lacking sloped armor and the gun wasn't optimal (they settled on the 8.8cm L/56 but wanted the L/71). This led to the Bengal Tiger, though even less of them were made (489).

German heavies were never designed for anything besides being a breakthrough tank to lead combined arms assaults. However, they didn't do very well in that role due to mobility issues, too slow , too heavy. Where they really shined was holding ground in the tenacious defenses the Germans were renowned for, where Allied tank heavy assault forces using medium tanks would drive right smack into their sectors of fire. And for the short counterattacks that followed, they were feared.

Soviets actually managed to often use their IS-2 as proper breakthrough tanks, but only because the manner in which they planned massive set piece battles, they could move the IS-2 forward to assembly areas and then have then lead the assaults on the primary German defensive belts. Once a hole was created they were not used in the exploitation, too slow, too heavy.
 
Jan 2018
122
Canada
#23
What if the Nazis somehow knew exactly what warfare looked like like in modern times, but didn't weren't given more than the average layperson's knowledge about how to create modern weapons of war? Assuming, they still only had their original technological and industrial expertise, how might the war turn out?
The Wehrmacht was already far ahead of its contemporarys with regards to tactical and technological innovations. This was especially true for the Heer, which had the human factors and organisation down to a T. In fact, their capacity was overdeveloped to the detriment of other things. Like a guy with a huge upper body, and skinny little legs.

They don't really need improved weapons or tactics for the most part. There are some things that would have helped, sure, but why not make them a better rounded power like Britain or America? Give them better strategic planning, better industrial management, better co-operation with their Allies, etc. Or maybe some natural resources they weren't aware of at the time, like the oil fields or tungsten mine in Austria?

If any military needs better training or weapons, its the Soviets and British. They fought the Reich at the peak of its power, so why not give them the buff in this category? It would certainly make for a more interesting fight. Imagine the Red Army without the purge, or the British army without all the dead wood.
 
Jan 2018
122
Canada
#24
The Germans were always going to be outproduced by the Allies. The Germans' only hope was that quality weapons would make up for numerical disadvantages.
One can argue that the Germans were always going to be outproduced by the Allies, certainly. But that doesn't mean that their defeat was pre-ordained. After all, if the Reich had defeated the Soviet Union and completed the Atlantic wall, the Anglo-Americans would have nowhere to apply all that industrial might. The geographical pre-conditions would simply not be there. They could blockade all of Europe by sea and ramp up the bombing campaigns, but they'd never be able to actually invade. The Germans would simply be too powerful, with over 100 divisions guarding the coast.

Another problem is that the Allies actually needed to produce more weapons than the Germans, just to stay in the fight. This was especially true of the Red Army, which had a much lower fighting power than the Heer. The lopsided loss exchange ratios they suffered in tank on tank combat meant they had no choice but to produce more tanks, otherwise they would simply run out. According to the Krivosheev study, the Soviets wrote off at least 23,700 tanks in 1944 alone! This at a time when the Reich was being driven back on all fronts! These are monstrous, inconceivable losses.

It didn't work, but if you remove the wonder weapons Germany would probably lose the war earlier. Remove the Me-262 and now you've got FW-190s vs P-51s. Remove the Tiger tanks and now you've got Pz IVs vs Shermans and T-34s. Remove the Type 21 submarines and now you've got more Type VIIs. I don't know where the resources from the V-1 and V-2 would have gone if not there, but I don't think those resources would have made much difference.
You could definitely make a case that some of the better designed weapons (like the Tiger and Panther tank, Me-262 fighter, and Type 21 U-Boats) acted as force multipliers that enabled the Germans to prolong their defeat and inflict heavier losses than they might have otherwise been able to. But another part of this was simply due to their human management systems. They were consistently able to churn out a portfolio of very high performing leaders in the Heer and the Luftwaffe, who were very competent at making lemonade out of oranges. :money: This was a unique result of their Prussian military culture, which had evolved over the course of many centurys, and managed to somehow 'institutionalise excellence.'
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,717
Sydney
#25
it could be argued that the Me-262 was a waste of resources and had a very bad bang for the buck ratio
so did all the jet program
the Type 21 U-boat had a total score of zero
the whole rocket program was the squandering of huge amount of engineering efforts for minimal (close to nil military results)
this is also the case for the whole shamble of the tank production ,

the miserable truck production number would fit in a force multiplier failed effort

 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#26
You could definitely make a case that some of the better designed weapons (like the Tiger and Panther tank, Me-262 fighter, and Type 21 U-Boats) acted as force multipliers that enabled the Germans to prolong their defeat and inflict heavier losses than they might have otherwise been able to. But another part of this was simply due to their human management systems. They were consistently able to churn out a portfolio of very high performing leaders in the Heer and the Luftwaffe, who were very competent at making lemonade out of oranges. :money: This was a unique result of their Prussian military culture, which had evolved over the course of many centurys, and managed to somehow 'institutionalise excellence.'
The problem with this is it assumes those listed were actually high quality equipment/weapons. They weren't. The XXI u-boats weren't ever used, there is no point even including them as force multiplier. The Me 262, despite its speed, was plagued with engine problems, which meant its flying hours were seriously lacking. The Tiger I was a great tank if it was 1940, but for 42-44 when it was in production it was not, due to reliability issues, as well as lacking in effective armor (only slightly better than Allied medium tanks, because it wasn't sloped). The Tiger B/Bengal Tiger was an engineering mess. The Panther had major design issues inherent to it, like its shoddy final drives, overly complicated transmission requiring an expertly trained driver to operate, not to mention major issues in terms of crew efficiency (like the lack of a gunner's periscope), plus it was as heavy and fuel hungry as a heavy tank (it weighed more than a M-26 or an IS-2). Its a historical fallacy to rate German wartime equipment high, at least most of it. They had a few really nice designs, the MG 42, the panzerschreck, the panzerfaust, the StG 44 (even though the StG 45 was much better),

Most who study the war in detail these days have stopped promoting the "Mighty Wehrmacht" myth and generally acknowledge that the Germans managed to fight on through tactical and operational competence of pre-war trained field grade and flag officers, political zeal, rigid discipline, and diehard levels of motivation imparted on down from Hitler to his pet staff, to loyal army group commanders, through ruthless field army commanders, all the way down to regimental commanders who had the authority and duty to shoot their own men for perceived disciplinary infractions. From late '44 onwards they were making troops swear oaths upon death not to retreat, and were threatening their families back home if they surrendered, deserted, or shirked their duties.
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#27
it could be argued that the Me-262 was a waste of resources and had a very bad bang for the buck ratio
so did all the jet program
the Type 21 U-boat had a total score of zero
the whole rocket program was the squandering of huge amount of engineering efforts for minimal (close to nil military results)
this is also the case for the whole shamble of the tank production ,

the miserable truck production number would fit in a force multiplier failed effort

I've read that the Germans had an option to partially motorize their artillery belonging to standard infantry divisions and decided against it. Those units, which accounted for ~85% of German divisions, which would be the ones who were constantly hit by the big Red Army shock armies to create breakthroughs, were already hindered by horrific mobility that prevented any sort of mobile defense. But their artillery and anti-tank guns were absolutely critical to be able to move fast to respond to enemy attacks. They needed prime movers not horses. But Germany had prioritized other vehicle production over trucks back since 42-43, and because they waited until the late summer of 44 to institute total war industrial measures there weren't enough factories/employees/resources allocated, at least on paper.
 
Jan 2018
122
Canada
#28
The problem with this is it assumes those listed were actually high quality equipment/weapons. They weren't. The XXI u-boats weren't ever used, there is no point even including them as force multiplier. The Me 262, despite its speed, was plagued with engine problems, which meant its flying hours were seriously lacking.
The Type 21 should still be included as a hypothetical, I.E., what it could have done if it had been fielded earlier. Everyone knows that they never scored any kills. However, the fact remains that they were a revolutionary design that formed the basis for many submarines in the cold war. Thats nothing to sniff at.

As for the Me 262, the big problem with the Jumo 004 engines was that they could not be made with the rare alloys that were needed to withstand high temperatures. Germany had a shortage of stategic materials, which forced them to invest lots of R&D efforts into air cooled turbines. This only bore fruit at the end of the war, too late to make a difference. The Me 262s flying hours were always limited by its engines, the general lack of fuel, and Allied air supremacy. It was an impressive design that was superior to anything the British, Americans, or Soviets had, but it couldn't turn the tide by itself.

The Tiger I was a great tank if it was 1940, but for 42-44 when it was in production it was not, due to reliability issues, as well as lacking in effective armor (only slightly better than Allied medium tanks, because it wasn't sloped). The Tiger B/Bengal Tiger was an engineering mess.
Except thats complete nonsense. The Tiger tank was devastatingly effective on the eastern front, having an effect all out of proportion to their small numbers, and racking up completely lopsided kill ratios from 1943-1944. It did the same in north Africa, Italy, and France. You say it lacked effective armor, so why don't you tell us, what Allied tanks could pierce its frontal armor? The 75mm gun on the Sherman and Cromwell couldn't do it, the 76mm gun on the T-34 couldn't do it, and nor could alot of other guns. You needed specialised weapons to kill the Tiger, like the 17 pounder, the 76mm M1, or the 85mm S53. The fact that its armor wasn't sloped did not mean that it was easy to kill.

The Tiger II had a lousy combat debut at Sandomierz, due to various problems that were undiscovered during its development phase. The poor tactical employment didn't help. But afterwards it put up quite a solid performance, and was used in many prominent engagements against the Red Army (like the battle of Seelowe heights).

The Panther had major design issues inherent to it, like its shoddy final drives, overly complicated transmission requiring an expertly trained driver to operate, not to mention major issues in terms of crew efficiency (like the lack of a gunner's periscope), plus it was as heavy and fuel hungry as a heavy tank (it weighed more than a M-26 or an IS-2).
The final drives on the Panther were indeed a weak point, although most accounts exaggerate how bad they were. The lack of a gunners periscope wasn't a real problem. Keep in mind, the Tiger wasn't equipped with one either.. The Germans didn't really see the need for supplemental periscopes, given that their primary optics were superior in every way to what the Allies had. Not only did their gunsights have a wider field of view, but they also had adjustable magnifications, meaning they could go from 2.5x to 5x zoom. You could argue that the Panther was overweight, sure, but it was still an effective design. Great armor, excellent weapon, very good mobility, and it had decent 'soft factors'.

Its a historical fallacy to rate German wartime equipment high, at least most of it. They had a few really nice designs, the MG 42, the panzerschreck, the panzerfaust, the StG 44 (even though the StG 45 was much better),
Not all of their equipment was excellent or even good. Just because it was made by Germans doesn't make it inherently better than Allied kit. However, you can't help but observe that alot of their weapons were better designed and better suited to the conditions they actually fought in. The Tiger and Panther were great tanks, and achieved the Reichs needs at that time in the war. The Sherman was not a great tank, and did not effectively achieve the American needs. They suffered abysmal losses in combat, and were only effective in sectors where the Germans had few tanks or anti-tank guns (like operation Cobra).

Nazi small arms and anti-tank weapons were very good, as you pointed out. The MG 42 was the best general purpose machine gun of the war, without question. It gave German squads a major firepower advantage against the British (who were equipped with the Bren gun), and the Americans (who were stuck with the even worse BAR). But that doesn't mean their rifle element wasn't ill equipped for their own doctrine. They were. There was no reason why the Germans were stuck with a bolt action rifle, instead of a semi-automatic like the Gewehr 43. Looked at it that way, the MG 42 was just a crutch.

Most who study the war in detail these days have stopped promoting the "Mighty Wehrmacht" myth and generally acknowledge that the Germans managed to fight on through tactical and operational competence of pre-war trained field grade and flag officers, political zeal, rigid discipline, and diehard levels of motivation imparted on down from Hitler to his pet staff, to loyal army group commanders, through ruthless field army commanders, all the way down to regimental commanders who had the authority and duty to shoot their own men for perceived disciplinary infractions. From late '44 onwards they were making troops swear oaths upon death not to retreat, and were threatening their families back home if they surrendered, deserted, or shirked their duties.
The historical consensus on the Wehrmacht swings back and forth like a pendulum every few years, as new historians publish their work and challenge previous findings. The only reason this happens is because they fought in the employ of a hyper militaristic and genocidal empire. If the British or Americans had fought as well as the Germans did, there would not be nearly as much reluctance to accept this. The idea that a deeply racist, backwards society could produce such an effective military is very disconcerting to many people. * As Max Hastings pointed out: “The Allies in Normandy faced the finest fighting army of the war, one of the greatest that the world has ever seen. This is a simple truth that some soldiers and writers have been reluctant to acknowledge, partly for reasons of nationalistic pride, partly because it is a painful concession when the Wehrmacht and SS were fighting for one of the most obnoxious regimes of all time.”

*To be fair, though, the Wehrmachts efficiency had little to do with Nazi ideology. They had simply inherited a Prussian lineage that had been passed down from generation to generation.
 
Last edited:

Similar History Discussions