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"Game Changers"

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

  1. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    That's really the question: even though the Germans used mines did they use them effectively to either slow the advance or deny/ control movement along the axis of advance? Could they have been better utilized if they were incorporated into a fire support plan and did the Germans do this?

    I understand that; but, the British/Canadians had already developed methods for breaching/ clearing German minefields.
     
  2. dazzerjeep

    dazzerjeep Member

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    Fair comment! But It was one of the most feared devices in WW2 nicknamed the Bouncing Betty by the allies and created untold casualties
     
  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    True enough, but land mines had been around since our (American) Civil war at least and probably longer. But it was then they really came into their own, 1860s. They had some "off-shoots" which were very disruptive to both morale and casualty rates, but they didn't "change the game" really.
     
  4. dazzerjeep

    dazzerjeep Member

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    I do agree, I was looking at the history of the S- mine and there's alot concerning it
     
  5. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    But I don't think the Germans really capitalized on or exploited the fear the threat of mines posed. Usually when we think of minefields we imagine a well prepared or camoflaged obstacle which is more often the exception. Mines are more likely to be placed in conjunction to other obstacles or entanglements such a barbed or concertina wire. The idea being that once troops move in to breach the obstacle they will be vulnerable to activating the mine.

    Explosive breaches such as the Bangalore Torpedo and the Viper (Mine Clearing Line Charge) would often destroy any wire obstacles and displace or detonate any mines while clearing a 5 ft wide path through the obstacle. The remainder of the mines would be left to follow on Engineers to dismantle the obstacle and clear any remaining mines.

    The thing to remeber is that there was more threat posed by Armor than there was the infantry that accompanied it. Infantry moved with armor to provide protection against ground attack and in turn the armor would simply roll through AP mines either crushing them out right or causing them to detonate without incurring damage.

    Mixed minefields (AP and AT) were common, in as much as a tank might not detonate an AP mine a soldier on foot or in a jeep might not trigger an AT mine.

    Another technique of breaching was developed with the Proximatey Fuze. Artillery airburst would be called in on the suspected field/ obstacle and the over pressure of the explosion would cause the mines to detonate.
     
  6. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Since we are talking 39-40 here I would not give the S-mine much thought. It was counterproductive compared to the actions of the Wehrmacht. During the first years of war the germans were attacking, and using mines is a defensive force multiplier.

    Since Engeneers were already invented I'd be hard pressed to accept mines as a gamechanger. The devilsgarden was one of the most mined areas of the war, but the Commonwealth forces attacked through them. Going back to the perimeters for gamechanging, the way I read them, the S-mine would have to be so effective that Lightfoot and Supercharge was impossible.

    It is hard to separate the shiny objects from the gamechangers, I am grateful for all the suggestions, because they offer food for thought.
     
  7. dazzerjeep

    dazzerjeep Member

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    Then Gentlemen I yield
     
  8. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Sure it did. It forced everyone to develop specialized equipment for clearing them. Mine detectors, flails, rollers, plows, line charges, etc., were all developed to deal with the proliferation of mines. In battles where they were used extensively both sides often employed specialist clearing teams ahead of an attack and defense teams to keep the mines in place. Look at Kursk or Alamein as two examples. Both employed extensive minefields. Both battles had the attacker prepare all sorts of specialist equipment and tactics to deal with mines in particular.

    Used cleverly and properly protected by fire mines can be a real game changer. Today there are artillery delivered scatterable minefields that can create instant barriers to movement. This is significant.
     
  9. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Chief, I am not arguing for the sake of argument; but, the British already had breaching equipment in 1940-41 and even used Bangalore Torpedos for breaching mined obstacles in WW1. Mines were expected and there were specialized troops in place to deal with them. The Viper was developed to specifically deal with mixed minefields, those containing AT and AP mines. So, the question remains. Did the Germans integrate mined obstacles in their fire support plans and if so did they change the flow of battle at any specific time?

    I spent 6 years as a Combat Engineer and 4 as a Team leader; I understand mines.

    Just found this from a thread I started at WW2Talk specifically asking about the German employment of mines:

     
  10. MikeRex

    MikeRex Member

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    Could we count the German use of synthetic fuels and lubricants made by coal gassification on the grounds that it allowed them to fight the war in the first place?
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    These processes were nothing new. The first experimental ones date to 1919. There were several different processes available too. The Fischer-Tropsch process is typical. The problem with all of them was that they required alot of electricity and water to make them work and that generally made them too expensive to use compared to just pumping oil out of the ground.

    The Germans chose to build synthetic fuel plants solely on the basis of war planning and the necessity to have a domestic fuel production. The Japanese chose to build up their storage capacity along with their own small domestic production and then take what they needed once war came.
     
  12. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Good call....I can not think of a single argument against it. I think the synthetic fuel production facilities in Polesti were a primary target of the 5th Airforce out of Italy.
     
  13. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    I want to pitch the idea of the devlopment of special forces. In 1940 the British had been booted out of Europe, jerry initiated the blitz, the US seemed a long way from intervening and the overseas supply to blighty were in peril.

    Churchill called for hands of steel to cross the waters and strike terror into the hearts of the germans.

    Cliches aside the commandoes strategic warfare worked. My country, Norway, ended up beeing garrisoned by 380,000 troops. Hitler declared Norway a 'destiny' area of the war. As a result 'Festung Norwegen' was built. The cost in Reichmarks, manhours and garrison troops was massive. Especially since the germans were short on men, and that there never was an invasion.

    I will offer the development of the special forces as a gamechanger for the UK on the following.

    1. Morale. To both the British public who felt that they were striking back. And to the population of the occupied countries, who saw a glimmer of hope for victory.

    2. Wasted resources. The Special Forces offered plenty of bang for the buck. In Norway alone 380,000 men deployed. This streched the Wehrmacht. Think what the Wehrmacht could have done with the extra manhours and manpower.
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I am going to waffle on that.
    Clandestine warfare, insurgency, sabotage and resistance were nothing new. Do you see something in the way they were deployed or utilized which made their use in WW2 innovative or unique?

    IN the East Russian partisans certainly inflicted their fare share of damage to the German supply chain and disrupted an already taxed logistics matrix. I just don't see Special Operations Forces being that innovative or game changing one way or the other.
     
  15. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    I think that we have grown too used to the Brits just sticking it out for 18 months without pondering underlying factors. The easiest thing for the UK would be to let herr Hitler keep Europe. They had not lost any territory, and their allies had packed it in.

    Striking back through Special operations also provided the British with valuable combined operations experience.

    That is a sweeping statement Brad, it could be a thread kill by saying that other wars have seen new innovations employed to win the war. The latter part I feel is answered in the effect represented after the Norwegian commando raids alone.

    If we flip it and make a "what if" the UK did not invent special forces. Well the bragging rights are quite impressive. The Bruneval raid had far reaching consequenses.

    British Commandos - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As far as silverbullets go, I'd say that the UK got decent value for money. And "if" they hadn't done it, what would they do on that lonley island?
     
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  16. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Member

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    Juggie will shoot down just about any proposition he doesn't think fits HIS idea of game changers.

    tom
     
  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Well he is a marine, if its moving shoot it, if its not moving, shoot it before it can move, if it stops moving, shoot it till it starts moving again! Repeat as needed!:)
     
  18. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Well, this is HIS thread, and HE is the MC you know. Besides, I thought that you were not going to bother with this thread anymore....
     
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  19. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Member

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    Uh, got me on that one. Just funny watching someone be boss of his sandbox. Ta ta.

    tom
     
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  20. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I'll throw this one in: Mechanized heavy construction and civil engineering. This was a game changer and the US was the world class leader at it. The idea here is that construction engineers with massive amounts of mechanized construction equipment could (and did) build or repair facilities, roads, airfields, and bases anywhere on the planet in short order on a scale never imagined before.
    This made possible bases across the Pacific. The Ledo road or the Alcan highway are examples. The US cleared ports of all sorts of wreckage intended to make them unusable in a matter of weeks where the Axis thought they would never be used again. The bulldozer and the dump truck, as mundane as they are, changed the possiblities of what could be fielded and where around the world in WW 2.
     

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