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  • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

    I disagree. Between the Meteor (Merlin) and Merritt Brown (drivetrain esp gearbox) designs, I would definitely go British here, although, I would build it in the USA.
    I yield to your knowledge on this point. The tank videos and reading that I have done praised the Sherman for crew ergometrics- the Boxy shape gav a lot of room to stow accessories, move crewmen to cover each others tasks, adn to free up the 'internal hotel load', so crews and gunners, esp, could concentrate on the battlefield.
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      Compare with the Red Army's field manual (project, 1942):
      Separate tank units attached to an army or division form an infantry (or cavalry) support group.
      Battle formations of tank support groups should be echeloned in depth. Heavy and medium tanks as a rule form the first tank echelon. The second echelon is composed of light tanks.
      when "heavy tanks" meant mostly KV.
      That's 1942. Churchills are being added to T-34 units in 1943 after KV-1's have been withdrawn, as evidenced by Kursk (5GTA) and the crossing of the Desna (23rd tank brigade of the 9th tank corps iirc).

      Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
      Churchills and KV tanks were assigned to the same role in heavy tank regiments and were considered more or less interchangeable.
      Yep, but some tanks had more than one role, and Churchills were used as separate heavy tank regiments as well. They led the break out from Leningrad in 1944 as an example. This differs from 1944 regs concerning heavy tanks and heavy spg's, which are in the follow up units.

      Concerning Soviet heavy tanks, only the KV-1S and IS-1 had decent mobility. The other KV's, especially the C, and the IS-2 were not agile, and early KV's were extremely unreliable.
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      • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        That's 1942. Churchills are being added to T-34 units in 1943 after KV-1's have been withdraw
        ....
        Yep, but some tanks had more than one role, and Churchills were used as separate heavy tank regiments as well.
        I don't think that you have a correct idea. From autumn 1942 heavy tanks were assigned to heavy tank regiments which were equipped with either KVs and Churchillы. Or in some instances with both KV and Churchills. Presence of heavy tanks in other units could be only exceptional.

        only ... IS-1 had decent mobility. ... the IS-2 were not agile
        Why? It's essentially the same tank with a different gun.


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        • Leyushenko, as an inspector on the Lend-lease equipment, did not like the gears on the Churchill. I found another complaint that the side skirts on the Churchills would pack up the tracks forcing frequent stops during movement to clear the clogging. I should add the Russians did like the Valentine. The 5th Mech Corps, whipped by Balck's truncated 11th PzD in Dec "42, was all Churchills and Valentines.

          For the most part, the Lend-Lease tanks were used to fill the requirements for the armor in the building of mech corps in late '42 and on. Makes sense, to locate similar tanks within certain units, otherwise the Russians would have the same nightmare in maintenance and repair that the Germans had with their wide variaties of models and makes.
          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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          • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
            Leyushenko, as an inspector on the Lend-lease equipment, did not like the gears on the Churchill. I found another complaint that the side skirts on the Churchills would pack up the tracks forcing frequent stops during movement to clear the clogging. I should add the Russians did like the Valentine. The 5th Mech Corps, whipped by Balck's truncated 11th PzD in Dec "42, was all Churchills and Valentines.

            For the most part, the Lend-Lease tanks were used to fill the requirements for the armor in the building of mech corps in late '42 and on. Makes sense, to locate similar tanks within certain units, otherwise the Russians would have the same nightmare in maintenance and repair that the Germans had with their wide variaties of models and makes.
            I thought the 5th had Valentines and Matildas in late 42? It should be noted that issues with skirts plagued the Matilda in mud and snow; the Churchill did not have skirts.

            That said, Balck was at the top of his game at the river Chir, and I doubt the Soviets would have succeeded, regardless of type of tank used.
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            • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

              I thought the 5th had Valentines and Matildas in late 42? It should be noted that issues with skirts plagued the Matilda in mud and snow; the Churchill did not have skirts.

              That said, Balck was at the top of his game at the river Chir, and I doubt the Soviets would have succeeded, regardless of type of tank used.
              I think you are right; it was Matildas. I didn't go back and check my notes. As my wife reminds me, we are not in our Golden Years, they are the Rusty Years.

              Good catch!!

              Balck's tactic was to approach the mech corps' night laager, wait in a flanking position, then attack their march columns from the rear when they moved out.
              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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              • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                That said, Balck was at the top of his game at the river Chir
                I don't advice to rely much on Balck and Mellentin's memoirs. The thing was an operational failure for them in the final run regardless despite some tactical successes. Which they made look like a continuous series of brilliant victories by omitting or glossing over unpleasant parts.

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                • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                  I don't advice to rely much on Balck and Mellentin's memoirs. The thing was an operational failure for them in the final run regardless despite some tactical successes. Which they made look like a continuous series of brilliant victories by omitting or glossing over unpleasant parts.
                  I've never read either memoirs, but I do need to re read fully D Glantz's Zhukovz's Greatest Defeat.
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                  • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                    I don't advice to rely much on Balck and Mellentin's memoirs. The thing was an operational failure for them in the final run regardless despite some tactical successes. Which they made look like a continuous series of brilliant victories by omitting or glossing over unpleasant parts.
                    I have both Balck and Melentine's memoirs.

                    They may omit or "gloss over" some of the setbacks but if that is the way you feel you might as well throw out any Soviet officer memoirs you have. The Soviet "gloss over" and complete omission of the huge number of men and material they lost, even when they had a superior ratio of men, resources and armaments of 3:1 on average 1941 through the end of 1943 and after that much higher. The losses the Soviets sustained were unprecedented but unfortunately a necessity in defeating the German armed forces during the first 3 years of the war.

                    The Germans proved time and again their tactical and operational superiority over the first 3 years of the war while also displaying their huge strategic ineptitude from the very beginning. The loss of the German 6th Army and its 300,000 men was their only large operational disaster 22 June 1941 up until the Soviet destruction of Army Group Center in Operation Bagration. When I talk about large operational disasters I am referencing losses of whole armies and whole multiple armies in an operation.

                    That the Soviets lost multiple armies in countless German operations and still found themselves strategically sound is a testament to their seemingly unending manpower and industrial resources. That Germany invaded Russia with 3 million men and another 800,000 Axis allies (these "allies" helped but were overall a huge disappointment) and the Soviets lost in excess of 6.5 million irrecoverable men from 22 June 1941 through 1 January 1943 - almost double the initial German Axis invasion forces during the first 18 months of the war also reinforces the tactical and operational superiority of the German Army.

                    I know the above is off topic but getting back to Red Army tank tactics they were, for the most part, simply not good until 1944 and by this time the Germans Army was so depleted one would have to bare this in mind when assessing the Soviet evolution and advancement in their armored force doctrines.
                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                    • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                      I don't advice to rely much on Balck and Mellentin's memoirs. The thing was an operational failure for them in the final run regardless despite some tactical successes. Which they made look like a continuous series of brilliant victories by omitting or glossing over unpleasant parts.
                      Your remark reminds me of a scene in Solzhenitsyn's August 1914, in which he describes General Martos within the Second Russian Army marching to its defeat at Tannenburg:

                      "Yet, Martos failed to detect any sign of a major victory resulting from his own unbroken series of local successes. All his gains seemed somehow to be won in vain.

                      But he continued to fight hard, just as an experienced actor goes on playing despite the fact that his partners are missing their cues and fluffing their lines, that the heroine's wig has come unstuck, that one of the scenery flats has fallen over, that there is an intolerable draft backstage, that the audience is whispering loudly and seems to be jostling for the exits. So, like the professional that he was, Martos went on playing his role: at least the show was not going to flop if he could help it, and he might even succeed in pulling the rest of the company through."
                      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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                      • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                        I've never read either memoirs, but I do need to re read fully D Glantz's Zhukovz's Greatest Defeat.
                        Nick I am half way through Zhukov's Greatest Defeat now as well as halfway through David Stahel's recently released book Retreat From Moscow - A New History Of Germany's Winter Campaign 1941 - 42. Contrary to popular belief during this period of the war the tank forces were, for the most part, on an equal ground regardless of the Soviet KV's and the fabled T - 34.

                        One must remember that production of the T - 34 was still not on a large scale yet. The main T - 34 production plants were dismantled and rebuilt far beyond the front and this slowed production during this period. During Barbarossa their were some instances of Soviet tank divisions equipt with T - 34's and KV's that gave the Germans some setbacks but Germany's soldiers "learned on the fly" how to deal with these unexpected Soviet medium/heavy tanks using the 88mm flak as an anti tank weapon as well as satchel charges. Contrary to the belief that a German infantry man could not approach a T -34 or KV because of the Soviet infantry supporting the tanks this procedure was used on a large scale during Barbarossa and Typhoon although the 88's were the preferred way to destroy these tanks they were not always available in every area of the front and improvisation had to be used. "tank fright" was not prevalent in the German army.

                        After the opening week of Operation Typhoon when the Germans annihilated 8 Soviet armies at Viaz'ma and Briansk the T - 34 and KV's did become a problem from the last 2 weeks of October 41 until the Soviet counter offensive began because of the mud during the Russian Rasputitsa and the preceding ice and snow in November/December 41 the horses and prime movers were, for the most part unable to move the 88's around fast enough to cover crisis areas where Soviet breakthroughs were happening and here the German tanks were for the most part useless. Even the short barreled 75mm on the Panzer IV could not, for the most part, penetrate the armor of the T - 34 and KV's and there was a paucity of Mark IV's available anyway during this period. It was during Operation Typhoon where the presence of the T - 34 and KV's were able to bring their superiority to bare and it was lucky for the Germans that production of these tanks was just beginning to ramp up and there were not enough of them during Typhoon and Soviet Operation Mars to make a large impact during Soviet offensives.
                        Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 23 Jan 20, 09:30.
                        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                        • Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
                          "Yet, Martos failed to detect any sign of a major victory resulting from his own unbroken series of local successes. All his gains seemed somehow to be won in vain.
                          The German Ostheer as a whole were thinking the same thing by November of 1941 yet they continued to believe "superior Germanic race" emphasizing the individual soldiers "willpower" could overcome insurmountable manpower, resources and armaments as well as the Soviet winter with no winter clothing for a 1.7 million man force.

                          While it was hard on the commanders at the front, of whom Bock and Kluge also relied on the individual "willpower" while the majority of the commanders at the front did not ascribe fully to this ridiculous "willpower theory" could see with rational eyes what was going on, the "desk generals and Hitler who sacked F.M. Brauchtisch and took over as commander in chief of the armed forces, were even more delusional and blinded to the lopsided strategic position they put themselves into by invading the Soviet Union.

                          Its not a funny (or maybe it is just that) thing when I am discussing the German army with my friends who know practically nothing about WWII except the fact that the Germans invaded Russia with no winter clothing that it really hits home just how stupid the German General staff and A.H. were. There are so many moments during the crisis the Ostheer found itself in from late October 41 through February 42 you could make a great satirical movie out of them all.

                          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                          • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                            I have both Balck and Melentine's memoirs.
                            They may omit or "gloss over" some of the setbacks
                            So what the speech below is about? I don't see any objections to what I've said. As for memoirs I don't advice to be trustful of any. There are quite a lot of cases cases when memoir writers were honest and accurate. The problem is that you'll never known when unless having a comparison with alternative sources. This comparisons shows that Mellenthin and Balck were not particularly accurate or objective despite some literary merits and provided a strongly skewed picture of events.

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                            • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                              I've never read either memoirs, but I do need to re read fully D Glantz's Zhukovz's Greatest Defeat.
                              That means Glantz' relied on them. Quoting my earlier post:
                              Both Mellenthin and Balck don't focus on the fact that their mission on the Chir River was primary offensive. They were supposed to eliminate Soviet bridgeheads (they tried but failed, both describe those abortive attacks in very nebulous terms) and then to start a relief attack toward Stalingrad (which they were not even in position to proceed to). They succeeded in disrupting Soviet plans, but German plans went awry as well.
                              https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...46#post5080098
                              In other words both sides failed to achieve their positive goals, but in the final run it happened to be more harmful for Germans.
                              And also issues with coverage of particular tactical episodes. There is a pretty huge topic on axishistory, I don't want to dive deep into offtopic subject here.

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                              • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                                So what the speech below is about? I don't see any objections to what I've said. As for memoirs I don't advice to be trustful of any. There are quite a lot of cases cases when memoir writers were honest and accurate. The problem is that you'll never known when unless having a comparison with alternative sources. This comparisons shows that Mellenthin and Balck were not particularly accurate or objective despite some literary merits and provided a strongly skewed picture of events.
                                I have no objections to what you said about Balck and Melenthin's memoirs. That said the Soviets were not able to annihilate the German 4th Panzer Army after the failure of Operation Winter Storm. The Soviets did get the worst of it at the Chir River but on the whole the Red Army stopped the German attempt to open a corridor for the trapped 6th Army to escape and tried in vain a follow up counteroffensive. Here is a great link you provided on another thread:

                                https://forum.axishistory.com/viewto...?f=55&t=116000

                                The 6th Army, it could be argued, did not have a chance to escape Stalingrad after 1 November 1942. The Red Army ability to stop the German offensive to open an escape corridor in December could be construed as the beginning of their advancement in tank tactics ?? One thing for certain is that Hitler's idea to split 6th Army from the rest of AGS and send it east towards Stalingrad was more of the same strategic delusional thinking on the part of the German General Staff.
                                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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