Germany's Weapons in WWII

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
jazsa80
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby jazsa80 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:38 am

I cannot believe there are some that would try and knock Hartmann. The man was a freak. His skill could not be matched by any of the allied aces. That is it. His personel flying doctrine was nothing short of genious. He would close to the closest possible distance before opening fire where his guns did the most damage. The guy was amazing. His book is fantastic 'The blond Knight of Germany'. HIs stories of Soviet incarseration also show that he had intelligence and resillience. His survival of captivity also proves to me that he 'had what it takes'.

Also his crew chief was one of the best in the business and kept 'Karaya one' in top nick.

And I am pretty sure the german creditation system was quite strict. Going by Hartmanns book any way.

Its funny how all the top aces flew 109s, except Galland who switched to the 190. It seems that the 109 was a very 'balanced' aircraft and not prone to uncontrollable stalls and spins and was very reliable. From Hartmanns book I gather that the G model was the pinnacle, but it is unclear whether or not Hartmann got a K model in the end (its generally agreed that the K gave up to much in other areas to achieve its high speed).

German pilots did see alot more action than their allied counterparts. Some would say that because they had more chances of seeing the enemy then it stands to reason that they could get more kills. To that I say 'bullocks'. This did give them that chance but was more then compensated by the fact that these men also had more chance of getting shot down by more numerical allied aircraft. Hartmann, Rall, Galland and the rest were definative aces in their field. No ifs buts or maybies.

Old Chuck Yeager was pretty dam good to by the way.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:56 pm

jazsa80 wrote:I cannot believe there are some that would try and knock Hartmann....

There are people who will knock anyone and everyone. However no one here has. Except maybe you given the following:
The man was a freak. His skill could not be matched by any of the allied aces.

Opinioon with no facts to back it up as far as I can see. Did he even fly against any of the western aces?
That is it.

Yep
His personel flying doctrine was nothing short of genious. He would close to the closest possible distance before opening fire where his guns did the most damage.

Hardly. This was the doctrine followed by quite a few pilots dating back to WWI.
His survival of captivity also proves to me that he 'had what it takes'.

If we are discussing flying skill it has essentially no relevance.
And I am pretty sure the german creditation system was quite strict....

The formal system was suppose to be. HOwever it clearly broke down on occasion. In particular it seamed to very by unit and time with some being very good (even underclaiming) while others were very "lax" shall we say. Furthermore the whole system pretty much broke down near the end of the war.
German pilots did see alot more action than their allied counterparts. Some would say that because they had more chances of seeing the enemy then it stands to reason that they could get more kills. To that I say 'bullocks'.

YOur opinion and it's rationality have been noted.
This did give them that chance but was more then compensated by the fact that these men also had more chance of getting shot down by more numerical allied aircraft. ....

Not really. What it meant is that mediocre or even average German pilots had a lower chance of surviving. But it's also clear that the Soviet pilots were especially early in the war not on a par with those in the rest of the world. Note that most of the Germans who really racked up the kills did so on the eastern front.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Bgile » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:35 pm

Naturally many of the German aces achieved more of their kills against the Russians because that conflict was much larger than any other part of Germany's war. However, I see no reason to believe that by the last few years of the war there was much difference between aircraft and pilots in the eastern and western fronts. Certainly the Russians had some high scoring aces.

We will never know whether Hartman was the best fighter pilot of the era, but he deserves a lot of respect for surviving the entire war and scoring more kills than any other fighter pilot in the war. He certainly had more time to hone his skills than any US pilot. He ran out of fuel trying to evade several Mustangs and bailed out. The US pilots could have killed him in his chute and chose not to, even though he had just shot down at least one of their number. He flew against pretty much all the allied aircraft and stated they were all good enough that which one it was didn't really make any difference in combat.

When he had the chance to fly to the Western front and surrender to the allies he couldn't leave his friends and chose to stay in the east and be captured by the Russians. He spend many years in the Gulag because of that choice.

Toward the end of the war a lot of allied kills were against very inexperienced pilots, whereas the Germans had to fight skilled pilots pretty much every time they flew.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:14 am

Well, let´s be honest (but don´t take advantage of this, OK?).

I have been analysing these things and got some conclusions that, in summary and simplistic (I admitt) way could be expressed as follows:

Hardware:
1. Best propeller driven fighter: P-51 Mustang
2. Best (and only) jet fighter: Me-262
3. Best Tank: Tiger and T-34
4. Best Battleship: Yamato Class
5. Best destroyer class: Fletcher
6. Best all around bomber: B-17 (B-29 was in another league)
7. Best CV class: Essex Class
8. Best combat rifle: M-1 Garand
9. Best multi purpose gun: German 88
10. Best heavy cruiser: Prinz Eugen

Now:
1. Best admiral: Chester Nimitz
2. Best field marshall (including US 5 stars): Eric von Manstein
3. Best army or corps commander: George Patton and Paul "Papa" Hauser
4. Best Air commander: Curtis Le May
5. Most succesfull commander: Dwight Eisenhower

Best managed campaign:
1. German defeat of France 1940

Best national leader:
1. Churchill and Roosevelt

So, at the end I´m not the biased. Just to set the record straight.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby dougieo » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:58 am

To all

especially Karl and Vic.

It would seem that this weekend I discovered what a very large dose of Vodka and a bit to much nationalistic pride can do to me.

Apologies

Douglas

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:20 am

VeenenbergR wrote:...
Let us say that weapons are ONE, but tactics are even more important.

Doctrine, strategy, training, are all as important. You may have been using tactics in a larger sense than is typical if so we're in pretty close agreement at this point.
The Germans late in the war had proper training, superb weapons, enormous fighting spirit,

On the contrary by leat in the war their training was mediocre. They had some very good weapons and a lot of cast offs. Some units indeed still had enormous fighting spirit but not all by any means. My father mentioned on several occasions that he was very glad the ones he ran into didn't want to make it a serious fight.
..., were demoralized by endless retreats,...

This doens't seam to square with your comments above.
They (the "Landser") bravely fought on because surrender mostly meant to be shot on the spot, a death march or starving in a camp somewhere. ...

I think you are under rating them to some extent here. I suspect they fought on more for their homes, families, and comrades rather than just their own survival.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:45 am

One of the problems with these lists is how do you reasonably say one thing is better than another when situations and dates make such a huge difference. I hope you don't consider this as taking advantage but I'll use a couple of the choices below as examples.
Karl Heidenreich wrote:...
1. Best propeller driven fighter: P-51 Mustang

The P-51 was useless to either the British or the Germans during the BOB because it didn't exist. It wasn't of much use to the IJN or the USN because it wasn't carrier qualified. Some have made the arguement that the late model Me-109 and Fw-190 were better interceptors and thus better for the Germans late in the war.
2. Best (and only) jet fighter: Me-262

Well there was also the meteor and the US jet(s) which didn't see combat. While performance wise the allied jets weren't as good as the Me-262 if you start considering RAM factors then they are better. In this case to the allies just didn't see much advantage in confusing things.
3. Best Tank: Tiger and T-34

The T-34 did have a number of advantages of the M-4 but the M-4 also had a number of advantages over the T-34. In particular it was more reliable and much better ergonomics. The Tiger I was a very good heavy tank but expensive and only produced in relativly small numbers. The Tiger II was unreliable and had transportability and strategic mobility issues.
4. Best Battleship: Yamato Class

It consumed so much oil that the Japanese were reluctant to use it until it was too late. Combat wise if it didn't fight in 42 or 43 it was out moded by the US BBs.
5. Best destroyer class: Fletcher

The British for the resources proably found thier smaller cheaper DDs better. Since escorting was their primary duty as Stalin said quantity has a quality all it's own.
6. Best all around bomber: B-17 (B-29 was in another league)

The B-24 and Lancaster both carried bigger bomb loads about the same range. The B-17 flew a little higher and faster and carried a bit more defensive armament. As far as tactical bombers go B-17 would not be my choice either.
7. Best CV class: Essex Class
8. Best combat rifle: M-1 Garand
9. Best multi purpose gun: German 88

Not much to dispute here although if you are looking at naval guns the 5" 38 rates up there.
10. Best heavy cruiser: Prinz Eugen

I'd rate the Baltimore's as better pretty much all around. The Witchita class were essentially on a par in most respects with the Eugen and one can make a case for the Japanese CAs (they were a mix of some very strong points and some very weak ones).
...
Best managed campaign:
1. German defeat of France 1940

The Soviet Manchurian campaign was also very well done. Of course the oposition was pretty minimal but ...
So, at the end I´m not the biased. Just to set the record straight.


It's all on what you look at and how you define things and no one has lock on the definitions.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:08 am

I think one of the things that causes the vast disagreements as to how good the German equipment is the influence the Nazis and in particular Hitler had on German weapon development. Particularly during the 30s Hitler seamed to have his finger in everything and he was basically an amateur. Military experience as a corporal and political work don't really qualify one to consistently make the best military decisions. Hitler (and the Nazi political) understood things like shell weight, velocity, and armor thickness so their weapons tended to favor those over things like producability, reliability, strategic mobility, etc. If you look primarily at what happens when two weapons systems meet then the German ones look very good. If you look at how they fit into an army and how they allow that army to triumph then they don't look as good.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Bgile » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:14 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Well, let´s be honest (but don´t take advantage of this, OK?).

I have been analysing these things and got some conclusions that, in summary and simplistic (I admitt) way could be expressed as follows:

Hardware:
1. Best propeller driven fighter: P-51 Mustang
2. Best (and only) jet fighter: Me-262
3. Best Tank: Tiger and T-34
4. Best Battleship: Yamato Class
5. Best destroyer class: Fletcher
6. Best all around bomber: B-17 (B-29 was in another league)
7. Best CV class: Essex Class
8. Best combat rifle: M-1 Garand
9. Best multi purpose gun: German 88
10. Best heavy cruiser: Prinz Eugen

Now:
1. Best admiral: Chester Nimitz
2. Best field marshall (including US 5 stars): Eric von Manstein
3. Best army or corps commander: George Patton and Paul "Papa" Hauser
4. Best Air commander: Curtis Le May
5. Most succesfull commander: Dwight Eisenhower

Best managed campaign:
1. German defeat of France 1940

Best national leader:
1. Churchill and Roosevelt

So, at the end I´m not the biased. Just to set the record straight.


Nice list. I bet lwd is gonna deal with each one, but I have some opinions too.

Lots of possible contestants for best piston fighter depending on criteria. P-51 is always in consideration whatever your list, though.

I would vote for the Panther as the overall best tank and the King Tiger as the most powerful tank.

Yamato was far and away the most powerful battleship. "best" is subjective.

A good argument could be made for the Lancaster (if the B-29 is ruled out) as the overall best heavy bomber.

The M-1 Garand was probably the best combat rifle in terms of its effectiveness and how many were issued, but the German Stg44 Assault rifle was in a separate class all by itself because it was really the only one until after the war. A weapon that was to revolutionize infantry weapons right up to the present day.

Best medium machinegun: Mg-42. no contest.

Best Heavy machinegun: M2 50 cal HB

I would debate the best CA. My choice is the Baltimore class (actually the Oregon City subclass).

I'm a fan of Rommel and also of Guderian, but I like your choices too. There is a lot of leeway and opinions surrounding people choices.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby jazsa80 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:08 am

lwd wrote:
jazsa80 wrote:I cannot believe there are some that would try and knock Hartmann....

There are people who will knock anyone and everyone. However no one here has. Except maybe you given the following:
The man was a freak. His skill could not be matched by any of the allied aces.

Opinioon with no facts to back it up as far as I can see. Did he even fly against any of the western aces?
That is it.

Yep
His personel flying doctrine was nothing short of genious. He would close to the closest possible distance before opening fire where his guns did the most damage.

Hardly. This was the doctrine followed by quite a few pilots dating back to WWI.
His survival of captivity also proves to me that he 'had what it takes'.

If we are discussing flying skill it has essentially no relevance.
And I am pretty sure the german creditation system was quite strict....

The formal system was suppose to be. HOwever it clearly broke down on occasion. In particular it seamed to very by unit and time with some being very good (even underclaiming) while others were very "lax" shall we say. Furthermore the whole system pretty much broke down near the end of the war.
German pilots did see alot more action than their allied counterparts. Some would say that because they had more chances of seeing the enemy then it stands to reason that they could get more kills. To that I say 'bullocks'.

YOur opinion and it's rationality have been noted.
This did give them that chance but was more then compensated by the fact that these men also had more chance of getting shot down by more numerical allied aircraft. ....

Not really. What it meant is that mediocre or even average German pilots had a lower chance of surviving. But it's also clear that the Soviet pilots were especially early in the war not on a par with those in the rest of the world. Note that most of the Germans who really racked up the kills did so on the eastern front.


So the fact that he saw almost continuous combat from 41 to 45 and aquired a tally of 352 COMFIRMED victories is no evidence of his skill? And really Lwd, why would he lie about his kills? Give me a reason. No allied ace with such a combat record existed during world war II.

The reason I bring up his captivity is because it showed that he had strength of mind to endure an ordeal and still come out at the end sane.

And the confirmation system. When and where did it break for Enrich Hartmann? Are you disputing his tally? Do you even know anything about the guy or are you just arguing for arguments sake?

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:49 pm

jazsa80 wrote: ....
So the fact that he saw almost continuous combat from 41 to 45 and aquired a tally of 352 COMFIRMED victories is no evidence of his skill?

YOu are putting words in my mouth and/or establishing a straw man. I never said he wasn't good. Indeed he was obviously very good. The question is was he the best? And there simplyis insufficient data to make a conclusive statment about that. Note also that he crash landed or bailed out of what 14 or 15 planes. Most Pacfic pilots for instance would be lucky to survive one such event. For a nationality free example which is the best pilot Hartman or one of these two:
...the most kills in a single day was by Emil Lang, with 18 victories on 3 November 1943
... the most victories in a single sortie was by Erich Rudorffer, who knocked out 13 Yaks from the sky in 17 minutes on 6 November, 1943.

From http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... &p=1186184
And really Lwd, why would he lie about his kills?

I never said he lied about his claims. However combat is confusing enough that misunderstandings and such will occur. For instance the chance that his real kill total is 352 is vanishingly small. How far off and in what direction could be debated endlessly.
And the confirmation system. When and where did it break for Enrich Hartmann? ...

We were talking about German aces in general that's the main reason I brought up the problems with the confirmation system. I know enough not to implicitly trust any kill numbers. Oh and as for the best pilot question here's another vignette:
Although both WO I. Juutilainen (94 kills) and Capt. H. Wind (75 kills) were excellent fighter pilots most Finnish pilots self considered Capt. Olli Puhakka (41.5 kills: 1.5x with Fokker D.XXI, 13x with FIAT G.50 and 25x with Messerschmitt Bf 109G) to the most skillfulled fighter pilot in Finland during WW II.

From http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=55989
Note that he's not claiming either of the top two Finish aces are the best pilot but a third ace with a significantly lower total.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby tommy303 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:12 pm

Judging the accuracy of kills in arial combat has always been difficult. For the most part, claims were put forth in good faith and most pilots probably felt their claims were justified. Nevertheless things can happen to muddle the record. As an example, the great WW1 ace, Manfred von Richthofen was officially credited with 80 kills. However, detail research into his record shows that there were at least three for which no evidence exists, and in one case a pilot who managed to get back to his base after Richthofen's attack (Richthofen based the claim on the fact his adversary went down in a spin through low clouds, although in fact the plane in question pulled out and got home). On the other hand, there were at least two planes he shot down for which there is ample evidence of the kill, but remained officially unconfirmed because the claims did not meet the criteria of die Luftstreitkraefte; one more case was a plane he shot up and which was on its way down in a more or less controlled glide, but another German scout attacked it and that pilot received credit for the kill.

In the case of German pilots of WW2, it was probably much the same. For Hartmann it could have gone either way. Some planes he claimed might have made it home, others he did not claim may have crashed later far from the scene of action.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby jazsa80 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:55 pm

Going to put it out there. MG42- best infrantry based support machine gun. Can there be a counter argument?

It really sounds like tearing canvas!

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby Bgile » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:26 pm

jazsa80 wrote:Going to put it out there. MG42- best infrantry based support machine gun. Can there be a counter argument?

It really sounds like tearing canvas!


Yep, that's what I said.

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Re: Germany's Weapons in WWII

Postby lwd » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:39 pm

A very good case can be made for it being the best LMG. I would however not normally consider it the best infantry based support MG as I'd normally include heavier weapons in that catagory.


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