Germany's Weapons in WWII

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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RF
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby RF » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:27 am

Vic Dale wrote:The point wich comes over most strongly in these fascinating threads is that generalisations in regard to each nations weapons only rarely work.


If war with Britain was the plan, then ships like Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Graf Spee were a bad choice. They were all very fine weapons and each made a very good account of herself in her final battle, though at the time of their inception Germany was still very weak and could only hope to play an armed role, as auxilliary to other more powerful forces on the world's oceans. They were long range vessels capable of operating far from the Baltic and they were excellent sea-keeprs too, which further strengthens the idea of world-wide displays of naval power by a resurgent Germany, keen to show the world what it could do. Although each ship was designed to show maximum strength in terms of hitting power and ablity to withstand punishment and such capabilities would no doubt be shown in relation to the best that the world could produce, their design and construction does not of itself imply aggressive intent towards Britain.


Vic Dale


I don't think they were a bad choice. What was at fault was German leadership, tactics and grand strategy.

Germany under Hitler did not have any idea of strategy or strategic planning beyond the vague generalisations in Mein Kampf. Hitler himself told Raeder in 1939, when the Z Pan came out that the KM wouldn't be needed before 1946.

Had Germany properly planned a balanced navy building up to the 35% strength of the British Fleet say by 1941 and starting the war then, things could have been very different.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby RF » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:35 am

Vic Dale wrote:
When Goering asked Galland what his fighter squadrons needed to defeat the RAF he replied; "A squadron of Spitfires." This remark has gone down in History and although it was a slap in the face for Goering to wake him up to the idea that they could lose the battle. The remark has another edge in saying; "if we are expected to fight on the enemy's ground, we will need his weapons." The 109 was good in attack but not so good in defense, it was faster than the Spitfire, but not so maneouvreable.

Vic Dale


It is easy to take something like this out of context. In the Battle of Britain the ME 109 was at a disadvantage, whereas in home airspace it was able to perform the defensive roles required of it. In any case the Germans developed the FW 190 a little later on.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby VeenenbergR » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:35 pm

Yes, and the FW190 outclassed AND outfought the Spitfires easily right from its introduction.
They were so far superior that the BoB, if it had started LATER than it historically did, could perhaps have succeeded only because of that FW190!!

Only after a FW190 was captured intact one year later, the British could analyze the reasons of its superiority.
I have to admit that great part of the success of the FW190 lies in the role it had to fullfill: the defense of Western Europe.
And when defending it was able to hunt down the intruding Spitfires.

Germans reached unparallelled scores with: tank hunters (air and ground), (night) fighters, tanks and submarines.
It was more difficult to measure the effectiveness of artillery, mortars, Panzerfausts and machine guns. But in these categories the German army must have excelled because they inflicted tremendous losses on the Russians and artillery/mortars and machine guns did most of the killing and wounding (25-30 million).

For Karl Heidernreich: the German successes in top scoring are even more impressive if you take into account that:

- the Germans were limited on fuel and therefore not able in training their crews as well as their adversaries, so relative more were taken out from the start and fewer could reach the ace title.

- their enemies produced 3-4 times or more weapons (aircraft, tanks, warships), so Germans fought in situations were they were mostly overwhelmed and out of amo;

- the enemy intelligence (radar, ultra, spies) was mostly informed about key operations and therefore limiting the chances of German success.

- The German (and Japanese) strategy was flawed: in a flawed strategy the fighting and chances for scoring successes could never be optimal.

- the Germans lacked manpower: after Moscow 1941 the German Army lacked the manpower to win battles of attrition (Stalingrad) or even contain large encircled enemy formations (Southern Russia in 1942 and early 1943). Stalingrad was also lost because of flawed strategy to fight for a large industrial city against defenders which could fortify themselves and could be reinforced unhindered and unlimited.

That is why Bismarck, Scharnhorst were trapped, Rommels supply was sunk and plans for Kursk were already known before the battle even started.
Germany and Japan could with far fewer soldiers, weapons supply and a flawed strategy and betrayed plans in no way win the war which was a war of attrition. They could only win campaigns with a limited time span.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:42 pm

VeenenbergR wrote:...They were so far superior that the BoB, if it had started LATER than it historically did, could perhaps have succeeded only because of that FW190!!

Highly unlikely.
...- the Germans were limited on fuel and therefore not able in training their crews as well as their adversaries, so relative more were taken out from the start and fewer could reach the ace title.

From what I recall reading this is only applicable late war.
- their enemies produced 3-4 times or more weapons (aircraft, tanks, warships), so Germans fought in situations were they were mostly overwhelmed and out of amo;

Really? And others didn't? Certainly the Germans were overwhelmed at the end of the war but how often did they really run out of ammo? In regards to production while it was less than that of the allies it wasn't the "long pole in the tent" as many German tanks were produced that never saw combat due to logistical constraintes.
- the enemy intelligence (radar, ultra, spies) was mostly informed about key operations and therefore limiting the chances of German success.

Mostly? Often perhaps but I certainly wouldn't say "mostly" especially in the East.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:54 pm

So sad I´m leaving to vacations today and it´s likely that I cannot follow up the forum but will leave this:

lwd:

Highly unlikely.


Instead of giving us your gut feeling it will be good to find out if the claim is real or not. The FW was quite a superb fighter, even if not being USAAF.


From what I recall reading this is only applicable late war.


Nope. One of the main reasons Hitler commited the blunder of stopping his Army Group Centre on their drive to Moscow early in Barbarossa and divert all resources to the South was, precisely, the shortages of fuel the Germans had. Let´s remember that whilst the Russians, the Americans and even the British had their own oil drilling and supply facilities the Germans had none until they tried to conquer the Caucasus.

Really? And others didn't? Certainly the Germans were overwhelmed at the end of the war but how often did they really run out of ammo? In regards to production while it was less than that of the allies it wasn't the "long pole in the tent" as many German tanks were produced that never saw combat due to logistical constraintes.


It is widely known about the industrial capability of the US, so it´s almost useless to reinforce that notion. Bottom line: whilst the US can produce everything they needed and ship it to Europe (or the Pacific, or Russia, or Asia, etc.) the Germans were being subjected to strategic bombing. The US did not need to produce better ships, or planes or tanks or even soldiers (which does not mean I´m implying that they didn´t) because after 1943 they overwhelm the enemy with numerical superiority.

Mostly? Often perhaps but I certainly wouldn't say "mostly" especially in the East.


Don´t be naive. FDR would have told Stalin whatever intel the western allies could gather for having him happy. And if FDR didn´t then Eleanor.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:27 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:...
lwd:

Highly unlikely.


Instead of giving us your gut feeling it will be good to find out if the claim is real or not. The FW was quite a superb fighter, even if not being USAAF.

I didn't say it wasn't. However that's a long shot from winning the BOB. The claim that it might should be supported first.
From what I recall reading this is only applicable late war.

Nope. One of the main reasons Hitler commited the blunder of stopping his Army Group Centre on their drive to Moscow early in Barbarossa and divert all resources to the South was, precisely, the shortages of fuel the Germans had. Let´s remember that whilst the Russians, the Americans and even the British had their own oil drilling and supply facilities the Germans had none until they tried to conquer the Caucasus.

But was this because Germany was short on fuelor because there wasn't enough at the front? In any case was it impacting pilot training at this point? I've certainly seen nothing to indicate that it was.
Really? And others didn't? Certainly the Germans were overwhelmed at the end of the war but how often did they really run out of ammo? In regards to production while it was less than that of the allies it wasn't the "long pole in the tent" as many German tanks were produced that never saw combat due to logistical constraintes.

It is widely known about the industrial capability of the US, so it´s almost useless to reinforce that notion. Bottom line: whilst the US can produce everything they needed and ship it to Europe (or the Pacific, or Russia, or Asia, etc.) the Germans were being subjected to strategic bombing. The US did not need to produce better ships, or planes or tanks or even soldiers (which does not mean I´m implying that they didn´t) because after 1943 they overwhelm the enemy with numerical superiority.

The point was it's not just industrial capacity. You have to move the stuff to the front, man it, and support it. Late war Germany was producing more than they could transport, man, and support. Any additional production capacity would have been wasted.
Mostly? Often perhaps but I certainly wouldn't say "mostly" especially in the East.

Don´t be naive. FDR would have told Stalin whatever intel the western allies could gather for having him happy. And if FDR didn´t then Eleanor.

I suggest you read a bit more about Ultra. In some cases even with the British and later Americans new something was going to occur due to Ultra they didn't react to it. But it was never as all inclusive as some seem to think and often not in time for tactical matters in any case.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:45 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Instead of giving us your gut feeling it will be good to find out if the claim is real or not. The FW was quite a superb fighter, even if not being USAAF.

a very pretty airplane, and a good one, which enjoyed a short period of ascendancy in 1941 until the Spitfire got the Merlin 61. Of course, it was meat on the table for P-47s at high altitude, and for P-51s at any altitude. But is was a pretty airplane; too bad there aren't any originals flying nowadays.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Bgile » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:08 pm

yellowtail3 wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:Instead of giving us your gut feeling it will be good to find out if the claim is real or not. The FW was quite a superb fighter, even if not being USAAF.

a very pretty airplane, and a good one, which enjoyed a short period of ascendancy in 1941 until the Spitfire got the Merlin 61. Of course, it was meat on the table for P-47s at high altitude, and for P-51s at any altitude. But is was a pretty airplane; too bad there aren't any originals flying nowadays.


I don't consider the FW-190 to be "meat on the table" for any opponent, and the same is true for most of the fighters flown by either side. Hartman shot down P-51s in Me-109s, which you probably also consider "meat on the table". He flew them right through to the end of the war except for a short stint in Me-262s, which he didn't like. Outcome has a lot more to do with the guy in the cockpit than the aircraft he is flying, given that performance is reasonably close. Most guys who are shot down never even see their opponent until it's too late to do anything about it.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby tommy303 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:30 pm

Let's not forget the Fw190 was upgraded through out the war culminating with the D series and the too few too late Ta152 series which kept the aircraft competitive with allied models. As Bgile says, much has to do with the man behind the gunsight. An inexperienced pilot in a P-51 or late Mark Spitfire would at a disadvantage against an Expertin in a Bf109, even though the latter plane is arguably an inferior aircraft in most respects. Competently flown, the 109 and 190s remained dangerous opponents right up to the end of the war.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:38 pm

Note that implicit in the post that started this line is the assumption that the FW-190 is greatly superior to the Me-109.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:44 pm

Bgile wrote:
yellowtail3 wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:Instead of giving us your gut feeling it will be good to find out if the claim is real or not. The FW was quite a superb fighter, even if not being USAAF.
a very pretty airplane, and a good one, which enjoyed a short period of ascendancy in 1941 until the Spitfire got the Merlin 61. Of course, it was meat on the table for P-47s at high altitude, and for P-51s at any altitude. But is was a pretty airplane; too bad there aren't any originals flying nowadays.


I don't consider the FW-190 to be "meat on the table" for any opponent


Oh, I know... I was indulging in just a little hyperbole, though it wouldn't be too far off to note that anything was in trouble against a P-47 at 30,000 feet. Also, I was covering for the early P-47's relative weakness at low altitudes against the FW (which was a very pretty airplane) :D
...and the same is true for most of the fighters flown by either side.

Absolutely agree, with some qualification - one being, against aircraft that were waaay outdated (Polikapovs) or technically inferior (most Japanese). I think you could swap fighters in the European theater, without dramatic diff. In the Pacific... there is no getting around the fragility & generally poor armament of the Ki-43 & A6M, and terrible reliability of Ki-61 and later Japanese fighters.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Bgile » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:58 pm

Obviously you couldn't replace the P-38 or P-51 operationally with any German fighter because they didn't have the range needed for Pacific ops and/or long range bomber escort.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Kyler » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:41 pm

Oh, I know... I was indulging in just a little hyperbole, though it wouldn't be too far off to note that anything was in trouble against a P-47 at 30,000 feet. Also, I was covering for the early P-47's relative weakness at low altitudes against the FW (which was a very pretty airplane) :D

...and the same is true for most of the fighters flown by either side.


Absolutely agree, with some qualification - one being, against aircraft that were waaay outdated (Polikapovs) or technically inferior (most Japanese). I think you could swap fighters in the European theater, without dramatic diff. In the Pacific... there is no getting around the fragility & generally poor armament of the Ki-43 & A6M, and terrible reliability of Ki-61 and later Japanese fighters.


Unfortunately the war ended before the P-47M entered into Europe in large numbers. It's improved low altitude handing would have put in on par at any altitude with the P-51.

In my opinion the Fw190 is undoubtly one of the prettiest fighters of the war. Which is more suprising because it was powered by a radial engine
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:59 pm

Kyler wrote:Unfortunately the war ended before the P-47M entered into Europe in large numbers. It's improved low altitude handing would have put in on par at any altitude with the P-51.

well, unfortunate only in that Republic didn't get to sell a bunch o' them. If it had gone a bit longer - D-Day failed? - I wonder if we wouldn't have seen the P-47N there. Bye bye FW & Ta152...
In my opinion the Fw190 is undoubtly one of the prettiest fighters of the war. Which is more suprising because it was powered by a radial engine

Agreed - and I'll add that the A6M2 is a beauty, too.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby VeenenbergR » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:53 pm

To Iwd: you are apparently clearly better informed about Naval War topics than Air and Landwarfare!
It is disappointing that you did not approve the 4 major issues why Germans should not have reached so much effectiveness, were they in reality did!

This is purely a matter of skills, organization (which managed to go on under most difficult and often horrendous circumstances); matter of sheer will, "Kampfkraft"!!!
In this field they were not alone. Also the Russians deserve my deepest admiration in what they managed to do: stopping Hitlers deadly warmachine. Remember Stalingrad!

In the last year of the war the German Army lost the same number of men as over all 4 years before that period: they were truly utterly defeated and let us also not forget the many
(1,6 million?) which perished after the war in all those camps in the (far) East and in France. This I regard as a high prize for so many sacrifices (for nothing).


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