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What do you think was the ideal ratio of armor to infantry in an Armored Div?

Discussion in 'Tank Warfare of World War 2' started by Andy235, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    When armored divisions were first being organized in various armies, there was a natural tendency to maximize their tank strength, but as they gained combat experience, all the major mechanized powers reduced the proportion of tanks in their armored units.

    The British started with two armoured brigades and a support group, changed to one armoured and one motorized infantry brigade, and included an infantry battalion in the armoured brigade also.

    The Americans also roughly halved their tank strength, from six to three battalions.

    The Soviets supplemented their tank corps with mechanized corps which had about the same number of tanks but over twice the infantry.

    In the German case, the organizational change came after the 1940 campaign, when Hitler ordered the number of panzer divisions to be doubled. Those divisions (1-5 and 10) which had two panzer regiments lost one, and new divisions thereafter had only one panzer regiment. In part this reflected their inability to produce sufficient tanks at that point in time, but the same process occurred in the Allied armies which had no such problem. One way or another, they all arrived at around 200 medium tanks as the right number.

    p.s. possibly the best early armored organization was the French Light Mechanized Division (DLM) which had two tank regiments, each with one light and one medium battalion, an infantry regiment of three battalions, each including a light tank company (again about 200 tanks total), and motorized artillery, engineers, reconnaissance, and support services.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    One to three seems to be the optimal level for general operations. So a tank section to an infantry platoon, a tank platoon to an infantry company, a tank company to an infantry battalion, a tank battalion to an infantry regiment. Mech to motorized infantry are optimal at one to two, a mechanized battalion and two motorized battalions to a regiment. This is based upon the traditional triangular structure or square structure. Above regiment it doesn't matter because the regiment was the major organizational component of a typical division. It would have either three regiments (ratio maintained as previously set forth) or a two regiment brigade (ratios maintained) and a two brigade "heavy" division.
    For a standard "light" infantry formation where the primary tank role is infantry support and strong point elimination the ratio can be reduced to one company per regiment or one battalion per division.
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    However Price, that is for infantry formations and we are dealing with armor. The General Board decided the war demonstrated the four tank company to six infantry company ratio was the ideal in the proposed new Armored Regiment...which was never implemented. IRRC, that was around 78 medium tanks for just over 1000 infantry. Which was about one third the ratio in Division 86...300 tanks for 1000 infantry. Or something, im still in Marrakech and doibg this on my phone without references.
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Not quite...It was a reduction of a third, since it was from 18 to 12 companies.
     
  5. larso

    larso Member

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    The current German army only has two divisions and they have different compositions. The armoured brigades seem to have one tank battalion to two mech infantry, while the Mech brigades have one tank to three mech inf. I don't know what numbers are specifically though for squadrons or companies. It seems to generally conform to the 1 tank unit to three infantry mentioned above. Frankly I'm surprised the German tank force has slipped to such a seemingly low number.
    I did read somewhere that there are few 'standard' infantry units in their army because they're seen to be fairly useless against tank heavy Russian forces. This seems a reasonable belief to me.
     

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