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Soviet vs. US vs German Artillery

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by Wolfy, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Manufacturing standards for German weapons were not all that great since they had to dip into their pool of skilled workforce for troops very early on. However, Wehrmacht artillery observation capabilities and fire direction were nothing spectacular. The US Army's official histories noted with monotony that German POWs said they were impressed with the American artillery's accuracy, speed of target acquisition and profligate volume of fires. In addition, German gunners were apparently reluctant to engage in artillery duels, often ceasing fire the instant they had incoming counter-battery fire.

    The Germans also had a hodgepodge of Czech, German and Russian field guns. Most German divisions would also have relied on horses to draw artillery pieces and ammunition. So sustaining fires in the middle of an operation would have been more than a minor headache.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    One thing that seems not to be mentioned in all this is that after Normandy we had total control of the air. That meant that the Western Allies could employ lots of small aircraft as spotters. The result was that if the Germans moved in daylight or anything other than totally cruddy weather, they were immediately taken under fire. German accounts of the problems these little planes caused them are numerous.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I can understand them not engaging in counter battery duals. With the speed British and US artillery could be called in a battery vs battery dual wouldn't stay that way very long with more allied guns joining in rapidly and they would be less worried about ammo supply. Add to that the aerial spotting Harolds mentions above and you get a situation where it's simply not worth it.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Germans had tap lines all over the bocage. Even if only medium or heavy mortar units if they were informed from distinct tap points or Lost contact the Germans fired into that position with force. I recall the Allied in Normandy had the worst losses due to axis mortar fire. Kph
     
  5. Garryowen

    Garryowen New Member

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    Disregard
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  6. Garryowen

    Garryowen New Member

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    Personally I have little patience with “Best” threads as everyone always roots for the home team....

    In the mid 1980’s while based at Schweinfurt, had the opportunity to interview Colonel [Oberst] Gunther Bredhe, a WWII Falllschirmjager [Paratrooper] who wa a veteran of fighting in Crete, Africa, and Italy.

    in reference to fighting Americans, he singled out U.S. Artillery.

    He noted: “Americans had such confidence in the accuracy of their guns they would advance much closer behind artillery barrages than we were used to.” Which is how he got captured....

    KodiakBear mentioned “Time On Target,” which was a devastating innovation. German armor units massing for counterattacks in Normandy found themselves under massed fires without warning, as much of the area was pre-registered. American Infantry and Armor Crewmen were much less experienced than their enemy, but American artillery expertise helped compensate.

    The ability to aim and charge the guns accurately was helped by extensive ballistic firing tables calculated for every type of gun, projectile, and charge. MIT Professor (later MIT President and Scientific Advisor) Vannaver Bush had invented a machine to automate the process:

    “The development of the Bush Differential Analyzer in the early 1930s by Dr. Vannevar Bush of MIT greatly reduced the burden of firing table computation. The new machine was ready for use at Aberdeen Proving Ground by 1935 and was used to solve differential equations by means of mechanical integration. Two substantial advantages were its speed and accuracy. The success of the Bush Differential Analyzer marked the beginning of the development of specialized computers for ballistic computations.”

    “ World War II caused an inordinate need for firing tables. To address this need, firing table computation became a round-the-clock job. Large rooms were filled with mostly women performing numerical integration calculations on hand crank calculators. Each trajectory involved multiple numerical integrations. Each range in a firing table required multiple trajectories. Each firing table required hundreds, if not thousands, of trajectories. Therefore, to compute a complete firing table with multiple charges, it likely required millions of individual calculations. Even with these great advances in computer and calculating technology, the need for increased computing speed, better accuracy and flexibility of operation was evident, particularly as World War II progressed and the demand for firing and bombing tables increased.”

    BTW, the title of those women was “Computer.”

    https://ac.ccdc.army.mil/organizations/WSEC/fcstd/ftab/FTaB_History.pdf
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    German artillery in Normandy operated under several disadvantages.

    1. Seventh Army had a hodgepodge of artillery equipment. Seventh army had fourteen different types of artillery from German, Italian French Czech and Russian arsenals. This complicated artillery logistics. But this was the least of the German logistic problems

    2. There was a crippling shortage of artillery ammunition. Seventh Army's artillery logistic system was inadequate for the task. Ammunition was stored as far away as Metz and depots were near Rennes- a long march for the horse drawn transport. The destruction of the French railways hampered resupply. Panzer Group West - an operational grouping was dependent on Seventh Army for its logistic support until late July when the 16th Lw Field Div was broken up to provide a logistic HQ to allow Panzer Gruppe West to become the Fifth Panzer Army. The German artillery on the Caen sector became noticeably more effective towards the end of the campaign.

    3. The big pre-D Day debate about the position of the Panzer troops also affected artillery. Rommel's plan was to defeat the enemy on the beaches. No contingency plans had been made to identify possible gun positions or survey in points or even order 1:25,000 maps essential for artillery shooting.

    There is a lot more in the relevant chapters in Gunners in Normandy...
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NRF556W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
     

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