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"Game Changers"

Discussion in 'Wonder Weapons' started by formerjughead, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Agreed, from 1929-30 (EMF disbanded) up to 1937 the British lost all advances they had. To make matters worse the professional units had to share equipment with a rapidly growing TA force.

    Integrating the Luftwaffe was a first for the germans. The EMF never got that far, they had enough problems rigging makeshift all-terrain vehicles for their infantry. Having read a lot on the EMF, retaining it and implementing it to the army is the mother of all 'what ifs' for the british.

    The analysis and results of the EMF was not lost on the germans though.
     
  2. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Care to elaborate?
     
  3. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    That's why "Blitzkriege" is on the list in parenthesis next to Coordinated Air/ ground Attacks and Radio is in (parenthesis) next to coordinated attacks 1939 and has been there for a while.
     
  4. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    double post
     
  5. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    Fair enough.... I'm just one of those folks that rejects the tired old (and very incorrect) term known as Blitzkrieg. Its just my opinion but I feel that term doesn't belong in the vernacular of an educated student of WWII German doctrine.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Here's one bit of nonsense:

    "In June, 1944, the Japanese bombed an airbase on recently captured Saipan, with a single1700 pound proximity bomb, which exploded 35 feet above the airfield, destroying or damaging scores of parked B-29s"

    The invasion of Saipan only began on June 15, 1944. After extensive improvement of the airfields, the first B-29 arrived on October 12.

    There was a plan to attack the Panama Canal locks with aircraft launched from submariens, a maximum of ten from the I-400, 401, 13, and 14; and there was consideration of using kamikaze tactics either there or in an alternative plan to target US aircraft carriers in Ulithi atoll; but in neither case would a proximity fuse be of value; indeed it would be less effective than carrying the 800 kg bomb directly into the target.
     
  7. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Already have the Proximatey Fuze up there as an Allied development.
    As for B-29's it wasn't necessarily the the Plane that was a game changer; but, what it allowed: Long Range Heavy Strategiac Bombing.
    The I-400 and I-200 subs were in service and in the case of the I-200 launched a couple of attacks on the US mainland with little result. So I don't see them being a game changer either for or against the Japanese. If you feel differently make your case.

    *******EDIT: The I-25 launched attacks on the US Pacific Northwest not an I-200 class. Thanks Carronade for pointing out my inattention to detail :)

    A couple of other things that I thought of:

    Tactical use of Aricraft by the Germans:
    Once the Germans could maintain air superiority over the batlefield they were able to use the JU-87s against ground targets in support of Infantry and armor; this was present through Poland, into Russia and at Dunkirk. It was the lack of the German's ability to establish Air Superiority during the Battle of Britain which lead them to change plans for the invasion of England.

    The Doolittle Raid Apr.1942
    The innovation wasn't so much the launching of Army Bombers off an aircraft carrier and the raid was actually a disaster, as it only met 1 of it's goals-the bombing of the Home Islands; the other goal was to deliver the planes and crews to China to be incorporated into the 10th Airforce. It did succeed in causeing the Japanese to reallocate resources for defense of the Home Islands.

    Japanese Balloon Bombs:
    These could have been a huge game changer. They did cause the diversion of US men and materiel; but, had negligable effect on war production. I do not believe the Japanese even realized any of the Balloons had reached the US, if they had I am sure there would have been a push to deploy more with every manner of explosive/incendiary/biological device at their disposal.
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    If you feel differently make your case.

    Actually I was saying pretty much the opposite.....

    Incidentally there was no I-200 class. The I-201 class were high-speed submarines similar to the German Type XXI or XXIII, just entering service at war's end. The bombing of the US in 1942 was carried out by I-25 using her E14Y scout plane, which was carried by many Japanese submarines.
     
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  9. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Okay....I'll give you the big DUH on the I-200, I knew it was the I-25 I guess I just had a brain cramp. I was thinking I was wrong when I came back to find your post.
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    This was far more a result of the German doctrine and training that pushed command decisions down to the lowest level. Tactical commanders often made decisions on the spot based on generalized "commander's intent" rather than waiting for orders from above. This greatly increased the rapidity with which the Germans were able to act and react to the battlefield conditions. This was copied by the Israelis post war.
    The problem with this system carried to the point the Germans did was that it resulted in a fragmented operational effort. Against an enemy with inflexible command and control (eg., the French in particular, the British to an extent and, the Russians) it worked okay to well. Against later British and US operations were these opponets now had good communications and far better equipment this doctrine was disasterous and only resulted in defeat. Against the Russians it continued to work but less and less well as the German army consumed itself in the cauldron of war.

    On radar: This itself wasn't a game changer. What changed the game and made the British system effective was that radar was integrated into a overall command and control system with telephones, plotters, radio, etc., that allowed them to use it to great effect in massing against each air strike effectively. Radar by itself was only marginally useful. Look at the Germans. They had what was arguably two of the best sets in existance in 1940: Freya and Würtzburg. Yet, they had no system in place for their use. British bombing forced them to come up with a system to deal with those attacks. Until they did having great radar available in some quantity did them little good.
     
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  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I thought I just had.

    German doctrine was to supply the commanders intent and let the subordinates do their job.

    The allies were slow to adopt this for their militaries but on the other hand they seem to have done it very well for their industry and scientific establishments. Very few systems that the US and UK made had to get needed extensive hand holding with their respective commander and chiefs. FDR in particular was very good about letting his subordiantes military, civilian, and scientific make the decisions relavant to their fields while he supplied the overall political frame work.

    I'd also list things like the allied developemnt of Operations Research.
    The war production boards which considered how system would actually fit into the armed forces and not just how good they were in isolation.
    The US consideration for designing for production and such played a huge role.
    The mass production of things up as big as carriers was also unprecedented.

    As for radar the US and German had it fairly early on as well but the British had a working system up and ready to defend Britain when the LW attacked. That seems to have been something esle the allies were pretty good at. They had the critical systems available when they were needed and sometimes a bit before.
     
  12. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Sounds like the components in the Arsenal of Democracy where altruism and free thought run rampant; "Oh the Humanity!!!!"

    It seems to me that Germany was always looking for the next "Silver Bullet" and weren't concentrating on the things that mattered. In 1945 Germany was fielding everything from Ballistic missles and guided bombs to horse carts. It seems that if they concentrated a little more on the stuff that was working and less on the stuff that might work things would have been very different.
     
  13. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    Respectfully TA I have to disagree with your position on both points, but it may just be a nuance attributed to differing perspectives or interpretation.
    I look at the German use of wireless radio as the game changer because it was integrated into the doctrine enunciated in Truppenfuhrung in 1933/34 before the technology was available. The foresight of the German General Staff was outstanding in this regard and as a result the Heer and subsequently the Luftwaffe did not have to adapt their tactical doctrinal thought process to accommodate the new technology. Lessons were learned in field exercises in the 1930’s as the technology became available and tactics/skill/leadership developed to take full advantage of it. As you stated:
    Tactical commanders often made decisions on the spot based on generalized "commander's intent" rather than waiting for orders from above. This greatly increased the rapidity with which the Germans were able to act and react to the battlefield conditions”
    I agree with that, my point is between the lines of what you wrote. At the tactical and operational level the Germans had the ability to communicate with one another much more rapidly than their adversaries 1939-1942. Their ability to coordinate attacks, counter-attacks, air support, etc. at the tactical level was almost completely reliant upon radio communications which their adversaries did not have a smiliar capability. If the Wehrmacht went to war in 1940 in the West with the same radio communications equipment as the French Army had, the campaign would not have been successful regardless of their superior leadership/tactical doctrine. Quite simply put, radio communications equipment enabled German command and control to conduct a much more rapid campaign than their adversary could handle.
    On the subject of British radar, I find the idea that the success of the RAF in intercepting incoming Luftwaffe formations would have been nearly as effective as without radar as rather dubious. The idea of using ground observers, plotters, command and control, etc. wasn’t new (aerial recon in planning ops in WWI, inter-war refinements, etc). The technology of radar made the 1940 version what it was, not vice versa. I see the reverse of your position here, radar was the impetus for the effectiveness of the British system. Without radar it doesn’t work and the RAF is destroyed on the ground as the Poles, French and BEF’s RAF squadrons were. Therefore the technology enabled the system to be effective and is the “game changer”.
    In both cases I am looking at the technological innovation as per my interpretation of what the thread was about, not the organizational or doctrinal structure in which they were employed in (which seems to meander off topic, though related).
     
  14. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    I disagree with the notion of aufdragstaktik resulting in fragmented operational effort. (and I have difficuleties on understanding "generalized commanders intent", since the emphasis on Absicht goes two levels up meaning a Coy commander can make a decision to promote the regiments desired end state.)

    The main problem in the latter years was hopeless orders from the top. On the tactical level the Germans still performed well compared to the other combatants. On the Operational level all notions of manouvre warfare was gone. Decisive battle thinking was rife.

    I feel this furthers Jugs point on the Silverbullet arguement. The Germans endless chase for the next shiny thing squandered their precious resources, and this led to to an unability to fight as they would like.
     
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  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    On British radar, I think you fellows are talking past each other. TA's point was not that the rest of the system would be effective without radar but rather that radar by itself would not be effective, or nearly as effective, without the rest of the system.
     
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  16. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I've got to vote for the standardization as applied by the US. As an example when the military of the United States decided to standardize their automobile park in early 1941, they made a unique decision in large (over 1 ton) truck production in non-tractor trailers trucks; GMC supplies the Army (CCKW, and DUKW), and IHC (International) supplies the Navy.

    However there was no set client for Studebaker in USA autopark as they and REO were smaller producers, so they were designated to produce for the Lend-Lease recipients, this kept them in business and people employed. Of course it was only general rule, and exclusions were wide spread, but this explains why Studebaker became main lend-lease truck in USSR, and other recipients of Lend-Lease trucks.

    As I mentioned there were "overlaps", and of course the Dodge WC ¾ ton 4x4 served in all theaters, with all American military branches, and all the allies as well. With a total production of all types exceeding 260,000, they were used in many varieties, including the version which gave its original name, the Weapons Carrier. But they also were produced as panel trucks for communications, both repair and radio "shacks" and probably most famously as an ambulance unit, also they were command/reconnaissance cars (Patton loved his).

    Then couple in the standardization of the smaller units (1/4 ton), the "jeep" as produced by Ford as the G (government) P (80 inch wheelbase), W (Willys). This meant the Ford model GP (W) "jeep" used the Willys design and made their parts all interchangeable for the most part. Only a very few pieces couldn’t be used from one factory’s unit on another’s. As far down the line as points, plugs and condensers (other than "plugs" you guys today don’t know what those are I suppose) could be interchanged. The points, and condensers from a Willys could be used in the CCKW or a Harley 45, and the Champion J-8 style plug was the standard heat and thread depth range even if produced by another company like AC/Delco, or Autolite. Here is another "cute" one, a ration supplied match book cover could be used to set the points and the plug gap. It wasn’t "perfect" but they would run on the settings.

    While these ideas aren’t "game changers" in and of themselves, they certainly made winning the "game" easier rather than tougher.
     
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  17. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    That's certainly one of the parts to what I have been referring to as the "Arsenal of Democracy" all along. Make everything the same, keep them simple as possible and make a bunch of them.

    Germany was certainly on it's way to Standardization in 1936 with the Volkswagen why they didn't take that philosophy into the production of all their other war material I have no idea. There was virtually no interchangability between any of their equipment or systems and that interchangability decreased exponentially as the complexity of the equipmet.
     
  18. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    There were to many "Important" people which competed with others to be Hitlers best guy. They didn´t connect their power and knowledge to reach an target, every single one made his own way and so they splitted their power.
     
  19. White Flight

    White Flight Member

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    Norden Bombsight making precision bombing possible through governing of the automatic pilot.
     
  20. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I am thinking not so much, the Germans had a similar sight based on the Norden
    Lotfernrohr 7 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I am not really sure the Norden did much more than provide a security blanket for the Bombadiers:
    Norden bombsight - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So I don't think it qualifies as "Gee Whiz" it looks like it was even down graded to "Blinkin' Jeezus" by 1944.
     

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