Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Perfect Divisional TO&E Eastern Front?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The diversion of this thread towards command, control, and communication is interesting and important.

    For example, during the Battle of Arras, both of the British commanders of the 2 tank battalions (4 and 7 RTR) were killed. These units used infantry tanks as their primary afv, but the Colonels of both were in light tanks due to their better radios. One was killed because he was in a thinly armoured light tank among heavies. The other was out of his vehicle, because trying to use hand signals to try to coordinate a manoeuvre was better than any other comm system actually available.

    With better comms, the attack could have been far more successful, tanks not outrunning their infantry support being one example. Another, is actually attacking in the right direction. Alone, this more successful battle would not have changed the likely outcome of France 1940, but giving the French breathing space might have damaged the Heer enough to prolong that campaign. A weaker Heer may have been beaten earlier in the East.

    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Comment


    • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      During the war, German infantry battalion HQ vary some in size by type, but typically they have about 20 to 50 personnel in them, and include a pioneer section, a signals section, a messenger section and the headquarters staff itself.
      Probably there were some exotic versions of organization with a pioneer section, but most common tables of organization didn't have it:
      http://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/r...inspect/zoom/8

      You should also consider difference in organizational practice. German infantry battalion HQ included a battalion train, which was equivalent in a Soviet version to an administrative platoon and medical platoon separate from HQ. Also Soviet rifle battalion wasn't considered an administratively independent unit, and some administrative and supply functions were given to parent regiment. Separate battalion had much larger staffs, for example separate motor battalion/tank brigade (010/502) - 15 men plus a communication platoon, separate motor rifle battalion/motor rifle brigade (010/421) - 19 men plus a communication platoon of 22 men.

      Remarkably, by June 1941 communication assets in German and Soviet infantry were roughly equivalent. Further on, Soviet communications were constantly shrinking, radios were dropped and telephone assets decreased. At the same time, German army introduced backpack radios on the company level. So there was quite a gap in communications. At the same time Soviet infantry in tank/motorized brigades was far better supplied with radios. Motor battalion/tank brigade had 4 radio sets, battalion/motorized rifle brigade - 5 radio sets. They were "elite" of a sort.
      Last edited by Artyom_A; 27 Nov 19, 14:10.

      Comment


      • A little illustration from a memoir account:
        Firing positions of mortars (except probably 50-mm company mortars) were as a rule situated in small or large recessions, and here between Don and Volga in gullies and ravines, or "balkas" as they were called here, which were numerous in the Don steppe. Crews of our mortar company were positioned in one of these balkas. But the enemy, against whom the fire should be directed, cannot be seen from here. Who and how would direct the fire? The company commander, of course. For this end his observation post was situated uphill behind the balka, at 50 meters or more from the mortar positions, usually with infantry or machine guns. Even in complete silence his voice cannot be heard by crews at such distance. But a communication section, even as small as two wiremen with two telephones, wasn't provided by the organization table. Absurdity of such situation became obvious already at the Aksay River near the Chikov hamlet where we had to open fire on Romanians. Already at this point we built a chain of men from the OP to the mortar positions, who transmitted commands from the company commander. In the heat of the battle, in a rattle of bursts, these commands were frequently jumbled and came to the crews distorted, so that mortar rounds were launched to a place completely different from where they were supposed to be hit. When seeing this the commander clutched his head and cursed the General Staff, deep inside which in an unknown office some "great minds" spent days and nights working on organization tables.
        http://militera.lib.ru/prose/russian...ev_mn2/01.html
        As mentioned above the officer shouldn't blame the General Staff. It was actually the Glavupraform who issued these organization table. While absurdity of an absence of communication equipment was obvious to Alekseyev already in August 1942, it took long to be realized by Soviet top military. Only at the end of 1944 the new TO&Es for the rifle division included a HQ section with wire and telephone to the mortar company. In reality these sections were mostly improvised by the troops before the official approval using equipment saved and found elsewhere.

        Comment


        • All of this, as I said, was the biggest problem with Soviet TO&E's during the war. If you can't fix this, the rest really doesn't matter.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            All of this, as I said, was the biggest problem with Soviet TO&E's during the war. If you can't fix this, the rest really doesn't matter.
            True. We would have to assume that the perfect organization should have enough radios as standard.
            How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
            Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

            Comment


            • A Feldersatz-Bataillon (field replacement battalion) to provide final training for new replacements, is one element that gave the Germans an advantage over most. It is certainly better than feeding raw recruits into combat units immediately.
              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

              Comment


              • True. We would have to assume that the perfect organization should have enough radios as standard.
                You should distinguish between "perfect" and "realistic". Even in the year 1945 there wasn't sufficient number of radios suitable for intrabattalion communications. Even less so in the previous years. With historical production figures there is no way to remedy that.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                  You should distinguish between "perfect" and "realistic". Even in the year 1945 there wasn't sufficient number of radios suitable for intrabattalion communications. Even less so in the previous years. With historical production figures there is no way to remedy that.
                  True. The emphasis of the Soviet war economy was not generally geared towards high tech equipment. In the case of radios, it suffered as a result.
                  How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                  Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    All of this, as I said, was the biggest problem with Soviet TO&E's during the war. If you can't fix this, the rest really doesn't matter.
                    This appears to be a subset of your idiosyncratic "communications" theory, which predictably ends with overwhelming American supremacism, the key linchpin behind all of your theories. sources beside the osprey booklet on battlefield communications? This theory needs to be matched with a critical mass of ACTUAL evidence in the field and not just made-up in your head with little historical evidence on the battlefield.
                    Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                    Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                    Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                    Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post

                      This appears to be a subset of your idiosyncratic "communications" theory, which predictably ends with overwhelming American supremacism, the key linchpin behind all of your theories. sources beside the osprey booklet on battlefield communications? This theory needs to be matched with a critical mass of ACTUAL evidence in the field and not just made-up in your head with little historical evidence on the battlefield.
                      Feel free to show me case-wise where I'm wrong. America and Britain had the most developed communications systems for their military in WW 2. The Germans lagged behind that. The Soviets simply didn't have the capacity to make the necessary equipment, and even with massive help from the US, in particular, sending vacuum tubes, radios, telephones, wire, etc., to them they always had a shortage.

                      Pick up any half-decent book on armored warfare and read up on how a lack of radios in every tank effected command and control. Since for most of the war, a large portion of Russian armor didn't have a radio installed, it goes intuitively that they had serious command and control problems operating large armored formations.

                      You might pick up and read say, Fire-power The British Army Weapons & Theories of war 1904-1945 to discover how radio and telephone communications made artillery devastatingly effective. The US likewise, used the same equipment in somewhat different ways to do the same. Show where the Soviets, or even the Germans were able to mass artillery and effectively control it on a mobile battlefield. Sure, both could mass a barrage-- particularly the Soviets-- in a set piece battle. But, once things got moving, neither got much artillery support.

                      One of the biggest shortcomings of the Red Army was a poor communications net. The same goes for the Red Air Force. They had a much less robust fighter direction system and that allowed the Luftwaffe to continue to be somewhat effective in the East even as it fell apart in the West.

                      So, show me where I'm wrong.

                      Comment


                      • No, you need to prove your claims in terms of COMBAT HISTORY. Not a bunch of generalizations that conveniently satisfy your ideological/supremacism agenda. Keep in mind that I don't necessary disagree with 100% of your made-up theories, but you tend to overassume that if it appeared in your imagination or in a tactics book, it actually happened as such in a general way among thousands of different circumstances. Your main issue is you seem to have little interest in unit and operational history, so you cannot match this with a critical mass of actual evidence. Basically you gotten away with telling made up stories for 10+ years on forums that deceptively make it look like you know what you are talking about and you have hundreds of sources when in reality you had heard of a few sentences in some booklet or book.
                        Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                        Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                        Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                        Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          The emphasis of the Soviet war economy was not generally geared towards high tech equipment.
                          I don't think that combat airplane was less "high-tech" than a portable radio. For various reasons the Soviet leadership didn't invest proportionally in development of communication during 1930s. Which was exacerbated by a loss of industries early in the war. Anyway, if you take the situation at the end of the war the problem was not a lack of radios per se, but a lack of radios suitable for infantry companies. The lightest backpack radio produced by that moment was as heavy about 20 kg. Weight and bulkiness meant that it had problems accompanying forward infantry elements and even if it did, operators tended to become casualties rather soon. Add to that heavy diversion of radios to artillery units.

                          It should be added that deficit of communication equipment especially critical circa early 1942 is makes a strong case against excessive proliferation of small units. It was better to have 200 full-blooded divisions fully equipped with communications than 400 small divisions deficient in communications. The same applies to non-divisional units.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                            Only at the end of 1944 the new TO&Es for the rifle division included a HQ section with wire and telephone to the mortar company. In reality these sections were mostly improvised by the troops before the official approval using equipment saved and found elsewhere.
                            The same is true in regard to HQ section in battalions and companies. For example:
                            According to the directive No.092 of 9.4.45 by the chief of staff of the Leningrad Front colonel general Popov command section in rifle battalions and companies are to consist each of
                            2 signalers (also observers), 2 messengers, and 2 radiotelephonists
                            Total 6 men.
                            Report execution by encoded telegram on 27 April 1945.
                            https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=136223393
                            There are similar indications in other documents.

                            Comment


                            • Radios certainly give an additional flexibility in tactically lower formations (platoon, company, battalion) while they are a necessity for larger formations because of distance.

                              In the Soviet tank platoon, company, the use of flags were a standard means of communication. Particularly with concentrated formations and directing platoon volleys. (When I first entered the US Army in 1969, tank units still trained and used colored flags as a back up for radios.)

                              Use of flags under direct fire would have liabilities. On the approach march for deployment, it would be useful. (As a Scout Plt leader, I was trained that when spotting an attacking enemy tank formation I was to call in location to artillery and call for variable time (VT) fuse on the rounds--which if on target would strip out many of the tank commanders who would be hanging out of their commander's hatch. Even if they were buttoned up with radios, VT first rounds could strip off some of the antennas).

                              For artillery positions, comms wire could be strung/layed rapidly from fire direction control to firing batteries and between battalions and within regiment.

                              I can understand how these alternative capabilities would help create a priority of distribution for a limited production capability.
                              Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 02 Dec 19, 16:53.
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                              Comment


                              • The problem with communications in small units was not just a number of radios. The problem was having radios which would be small, lightweight, robust, simple in operation and reliable. Something that old era radios mostly were not. "A shell explodes in 100 meters, and the radio isn't working anymore", as one man put it. Another requirement was having a frequency range different from higher level networks to avoid interference. By 1941 the Soviet Army had RBS type UHF radios for battalion-company level communications, but they didn't prove to be a good design and production was abandoned due to pressing need in other types. During the war A-7 UHF FM radio was launched into production, which was a workable design but a little heavy (about 20 kg net weight) and was mostly used in artillery networks. All other tactical radios as well as tank radios operated in the same MHz range. The positive side was that tank could easily communicate with infantry and artillery. The negative side was overcrowding of the frequency channels. From my estimate in case of large troops concentration (attacks on developed positions, for example) there were as many as 100 or 200 radios per kilometer of front. That was already close to a technical limit, and it was hardly practical to increase this number without moving to different frequency range.

                                Comment

                                Latest Topics

                                Collapse

                                Working...
                                X