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Single weapon that had the greatest effect.

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by aurora7, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. aurora7

    aurora7 recruit

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    Which single weapon system do you think had the greatest effect on the course of the war?

    Most go for the atomic bomb, but to me, that was to finish off a still fighting but defeated enemy.

    For me, it's the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber of Midway. In the span of a few minutes, 4 irreplaceable fleet carriers were destroyed and dealt a blow to imperial Japan that could not recover from.

    This isn't about the best weapon system but about the use of a particular weapon system that had actually changed the course of the war.

    Opinions?
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The "Higgins" series of landing craft. Yes, they are really not seperate designs, but improvements on a single design. The US Navy initially did not want to adopt the boat, despite urging from the Marine Corps and Navy officers involved in developing amphibious doctrine during the 30's and early 40's. The Navy's reason for objecting to the boat? They'd have to move the davits on all their ships to accomodate the 36' length. Strange but true, gotta' love bureaucrats! NOT!

    The first military version of the Higgins Eureka boat was the LCP(L) Landing Craft Personnel, Large: (note no bow ramp)
    [​IMG]

    Length 36' 8.5" Width 10' 10" Draft Aft 3' 6" Disp. 21,600lbs

    Next came the LCP (R) Landing Craft Personnel, Ramped. This was the LCP(L) with a ramp added. Marine Officers in China had observed Japanese Daihatsu ramped landing barges and brought the idea back to the US.

    [​IMG]
    Length 36' Width 10' 9.5" Draft Aft 3' 6" Disp. 24,100lbs


    Next came the LCVP incorporationg all the lessons learned.
    [​IMG]

    Length 36' Width 10' 10" Draft Aft 3' 5" Disp. 26,600lbs.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower quote:
    "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."
     
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  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It may not sound sexy, but surely the allied radio system (which brought in artillery fire) was the most deadly weapon on the actual front. The German radios had nothing like the range and the overwhelming redundancy of the radios found at every level of the US and British armies. It was almost an axiom of war that as soon as battle commenced, the sketchily laid telephone wires would be cut either by fire or by movements of your own vehicles. Once that happened, the allies could not only still call in artillery with great accuracy, but those same radios became the command and control link.

    One doesn't appreciate what that meant until you begin reading German battle accounts. In battle, the German army was largely dependent on runners. A company commander couldn't even speak with the companies on his left and right without a significant delay, much less call in accurate artillery fire. The "fog of war" was a lot thinner on the allied side because of radios right down to the platoon level.
     
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  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Here's another shot of the LCPR which makes clear how narrow the forward ramp is, no wider than the space between the two machine gun tubs; still a Landing Craft Personnel.


    [​IMG]

    As noted the full-width ramp, with the gun tubs aft enabled the LCVP to carry light vehicles and made it easier to unload cargo or debark troops in a hurry.

    I'd agree landing craft in general made a major impact on the conduct of warfare; hard to choose between the Higgins boats or those "damned things called LSTs."
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Radar would be another good choice, in conjunction with integrated air defense systems or Combat Information Centers.
     
  6. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    The key factor here is a weapon/weapons system that 'changed the course of the war'. A lot of this has already been covered, but here's my list (no particular order):
    • Radar (no doubt that this was instrumental in the Battle of Britain by allowing the RAF to be allocate its slim fighters and thus helped stop Sealion)
    • Tactical-level radios (allowed units to communicate effectively and conduct joint operations much more effectively than the Germans did. There's a good line from Hans Von Luck about being amazed that every Sherman tank opposite him one day had a radio while his tanks did not)
    • Proximity Fuse (drastically improved the effectiveness of AA fire, especially in the Pacific, and when finally employed on land in late 1944 ripped apart formations in the field)
    • Amphibious vehicles/craft such as the Higgins Boat, LVTs and the DUKW (Allied amphibious operations were decisive in every theater, and I'm doubtful that they could have been accomplished if the Allies had amphibious technology equivalent to the Wehrmacht. The same goes for the Pacific -- without these assests, the island-hopping campaign would be nearly impossible to conduct without immense casualties)
    I'm leaving out things such as ground support aircraft (both sides used these extensively, but they alone did not change the course of the war) and the atomic bombs (they didn't change the course of the war, but brought it to a quick conclusion).
     
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The Australian soldier.
     
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  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Industrial power/Mass production?
    [​IMG]


    Though that's a tad glib, so even though it's a bit nebulous I might find myself putting forward 'the collective brains at Bletchley Park'?
    From the 'lowliest' girl feeding data, to the Turings, Tiltmans & Tuttes, that was quite a 'weapon system', which had tangible results on major aspects of the war more than once.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Good one. That slipped my mind. Codebreakers - both at Bletchly and OP-20-G / Joe Rochefort's HYPO group at Pearl Harbor deserve a spot near the top.
     
  10. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    There are so many to choose from. I'll go along with code-breaking, both in the ETO and the PTO. I also like Adam's comment about mass production, even though it's not a weapon system. Personally, in the ETO, I would go with improved artillery fire. This was probably the result of better radio communication.
     
  11. aurora7

    aurora7 recruit

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    It's true that if it wasn't for the code breaking the SBDs wouldn't have been able to be in a position to take out those carriers.
     
  12. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    It depends what you mean by 'improved', Lou. Radio communications certainly played a role (the Germans never came near to the relience of the Allies on radios, and it cost them) but there's more to it than just that. The shear number of artillery pieces also played a big role (tying into Von Poop's 'mass production' idea), as did Allied doctrine. I'll also add [another] plug for the proximity fuse. Although not introduced to ground combat in the ETO until December 1944, most accounts I have read (Vannevar Bush being one of them) state that it revolutionized land combat. I haven't come across anything that tries to quantify the impact that it had, but it certainly helped stop the Germans during the Ardennes Offensive.
     
  13. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Welded hulls and goodbye to Rosie and her rivetter.
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    B-29s and and its fission bombs. This weapons system brought the Pacific war to a screeching halt.
     
  15. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Only choose one -- Aircraft Carrier, fleet and escort
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    liberty ships if I have to get specific. Oilers and other cargo ships were critical as well.
     
  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    This may not have had "the greatest effect" on the war, and probably can't even technically be called a weapon, but I feel it should get an honorable mention anyway. That "weapon" was penicillin. We started manufacturing it in 1943 and were in mega-production by the time of the Normandy landings. Penicillin saved many a G.I. from peritonitis due to lower-body wounds and also cured VD which sapped a significant portion of the strength of all armies.
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Atomic bomb but other than that, I go for panzer as the Blitzkrieg weapon....
     
  19. aurora7

    aurora7 recruit

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    I suppose without differentiating between tactical and strategic, it opens up a lot of room for logistic advantages like productivity capability and intelligence gathering.

    How about in the purely tactical sense?

    I think the Japanese leadership acknowledged the B-29's were their final undoing but by the time they were deployed, the tide had already been turned, though by no means was the hard fighting over.
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I'm not sure where I got the following synopsis on US Artillery practices, but take note that it required redundant radio nets and/or telephone comms not only between the front and the divisional batteries, but between adjacent divisions within a corps, or even unaffiliated divisions within range who just wanted to join in the fun.

     

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