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If WWI Had Lasted Long Enough For 1919 Tank Battles...

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Sure Germany did. Field artillery regularly smashed up WW 1 era tanks. The figures on losses in battle show it was the number one killer of tanks in that war.
    Lighter trench mortars (minenwerfer) were refitted to allow for a flat trajectory fire against tanks too. The K rifle was to be supplemented by a 13mm machinegun firing antitank bullets too.
    Then there are grenades and other such devices that can be used. Infantry can fire specifically at vision slots and other small openings in the tank in hopes of either putting a round through one or splash from the bullet spraying the interior.
    The Germans also started improvising antitank mines. A description of a common one is a 12 lbs charge in a wooden box 14x 16 x 2 inches in size using a standard hand grenade set such that the tank running over the mine would initate the primer of the grenade and set of the mine.

    German military documents captured towards the end of the war show they were already disseminating information to field units on how to orgainze defenses against tanks, how to build field fortifications and obstacles to counter them, etc.
    The German's also began widening and deepening at ditches to veritable moat size to stop the rhomboids. It wasn't jsut starvation or allied tanks, aircraft, American troops and exhaustion... it was all the factors combined that broke the CP apart.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by Karri View Post
    I recall reading that the tank production was going to massed production in 1919, essentially meaning (tens?)thousands instead of the hundreds in previous year.

    Germany had nothing new to oppose this. I think the K-round was no longer effecient with the newer entente tanks, they had only a handful of tanks and no goals to increase production...which only leaves artillery to be used in direct fire role.
    Sure Germany did. Field artillery regularly smashed up WW 1 era tanks. The figures on losses in battle show it was the number one killer of tanks in that war.
    Lighter trench mortars (minenwerfer) were refitted to allow for a flat trajectory fire against tanks too. The K rifle was to be supplemented by a 13mm machinegun firing antitank bullets too.
    Then there are grenades and other such devices that can be used. Infantry can fire specifically at vision slots and other small openings in the tank in hopes of either putting a round through one or splash from the bullet spraying the interior.
    The Germans also started improvising antitank mines. A description of a common one is a 12 lbs charge in a wooden box 14x 16 x 2 inches in size using a standard hand grenade set such that the tank running over the mine would initate the primer of the grenade and set of the mine.

    German military documents captured towards the end of the war show they were already disseminating information to field units on how to orgainze defenses against tanks, how to build field fortifications and obstacles to counter them, etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • Karri
    replied
    I recall reading that the tank production was going to massed production in 1919, essentially meaning (tens?)thousands instead of the hundreds in previous year.

    Germany had nothing new to oppose this. I think the K-round was no longer effecient with the newer entente tanks, they had only a handful of tanks and no goals to increase production...which only leaves artillery to be used in direct fire role.

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Selous View Post
    What's the bet Lettow-Vorbeck would've surrendered after the war, even if it had continued to 1919?
    Probably lol.

    Not sure if German nationalism could've been kept down though, even if the Krauts had been broken up back to pre-70 positions.
    However, with the German positions of few resources, being blockaded to buggery, and perhaps another terrible defeat in the field, defeat was the only outcome.
    Not so sure, there was so much division in Germany even before the war. By 1919 you had Socialist v Monarchist, Socialit v Nationalist, Nationalist v Monarchist, Germans v Prussians, State Y v Sate X, catholic v Lutheran, Union v capatalist... Post war these very divisions led to the creation of myriad issue parties and made it possible for a small nationalist issue party to exploit and seize power. 1870 might have birthed the German nation, but 1939-45 welded it together forever.

    If any good at all can be credited to the nazi's it was forging Germany into a true single state.

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  • Selous
    replied
    What's the bet Lettow-Vorbeck would've surrendered after the war, even if it had continued to 1919?

    Leave a comment:


  • Selous
    replied
    Interesting point about a stronger American position at 'Versailles' in '19, a good one too. I doubt the American people would've been so tolerant of the American moderate position had their boys been in much longer.
    Not sure if German nationalism could've been kept down though, even if the Krauts had been broken up back to pre-70 positions.
    However, with the German positions of few resources, being blockaded to buggery, and perhaps another terrible defeat in the field, defeat was the only outcome.

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Selous View Post
    By 1919 the German would not be in the position it was in earlier 1918, by the end of mid 1918, it wasn't. It was being beaten, in the field operationally, and the German state was losing at the strategic and grand strategic level. The starvation and war weariness from another year of fighting would've probably just made the ensuing allied victory and peace, worse. Technology development is not a panacea for victory, it must be put into effect with superiority in a number of other strategic dimensions.
    Yup, for Germany to have been able to continue the war into 1919 in fighting trim would have required a better organized and more equitable rationing system during the winters of 16 and 17 resulting in more of the food stuffs staying in the public lager rather than on the black market. Combine this with a Ludenndorf willing to call off the Spring offensives once it was clear they failed instead of a constant wave of attacks all over the front whittling away the best of the remaining German combat power.

    However even if Germany did everything right, the lack of fuel, worn out guns, ammunition shortages and decreasing caliber of the average German soldier combined with the massive garrison in the East meant the Allies in the West, well fed, bolstered by green but brave Americans and huge numbers of tanks, guns and planes meant the battle would only end up in one place- Germany defeated. Possibly with an American public so desirous of vengeance that the Versailles Treaty of History would now look like a moderate proposal. Maybe even the German state broken apart in to its state pieces and Prussia ground forever from humanity.

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  • Selous
    replied
    By 1919 the German would not be in the position it was in earlier 1918, by the end of mid 1918, it wasn't. It was being beaten, in the field operationally, and the German state was losing at the strategic and grand strategic level. The starvation and war weariness from another year of fighting would've probably just made the ensuing allied victory and peace, worse. Technology development is not a panacea for victory, it must be put into effect with superiority in a number of other strategic dimensions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Checkertail20
    replied
    Big tanks, fast tanks, powerful tanks, pretty tanks and tanks with strong armor. By 1919 would it have mattered how great the tanks were if there was very few trained solders to operate them?

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Fuel and reliability limited the tanks of that era to assualt support roles. The ability to act in a exploitation role as in 1938 or 1939 was severly limited. There was no motorized infantry or mechanized artillery suitable for forming combined arms high speed formations.

    This is wrong, the Whippets and Ft-17 could exploit and in the case of the Whippets surviving pictures show tank riders. Cavalry as well could act as dragoon style infantry. In the Assault some of the Rhomboids were converted to APC use and gave us mechanized infantry. The first motorized infantry hailed a cab to battle in 1914...

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    In 1919, one of the few bright spots for Germany would have been in the air, another Fokker scourge was in the making already.

    The most expedient way for Germany to deal with tanks could have been the first anti-tank aircraft. One of those metal Junkers planes with a Heavy MG would have been ideal... but did Germany have any 13mm MG?

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
    It is interesting to wonder if proper tactics had been made to break through the enemy line before unleashing the armored cars, by breaking through I mean breaking through the entire main part of the trench system, would the ACs have been able to pull off similar stunts as seen in France later in the war. Probably not for a lack of explosive capability, but interesting to consider.
    Tanks with cannon like the 6 pdr carried HE common, case (canister) and shrapnel rounds generally. They would try to straddle a trench and sweep the lenght of it to each side with case where they could.

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  • broderickwells
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Say what you want. Giving the Germans equal logisitcs but leaving them without tanks and they would have ground up Allied offensives one after another. Late war French tactics hinged on what became "Methodical Battle" in 1940. Their plodding scripted attacks like at Second Soissons, broke the German line but failed to produce the deep penetration they wanted. The Germans failed mainly due to poor logistics and their simply running out of manpower.

    You admit that last yourself. Had the Germans had better supplies and sufficent vehicles or horses the Kaiser offensive would have finished the French and British.
    I'm not going to give the Germans equal logistics - the Allied/Entente blockade has to have some effect, and that effect was to destroy the Germans' ability to conduct mobile operations. The "What if" is continued German resistance into 1919. Returning to the effects of blockade, if it had continued into 1919, starvation would have been rife in Germany and they would be facing a war on two fronts (armies up the Danube).

    Returning to the Kaiser offensives for a moment; Operation Michael took place over the old Somme battlefield. The infantry had a good chance of advancing, but artillery, even with horses or caterpillar tractors had little chance as the ground was too churned up. After that, any bulk advance relies on capturing railways. Moving to Operation Georgette, and again the problem is moving artillery across the battlefield fast enough. As with the Entente victories earlier in the war, the Germans had outrun their own artillery. Plus they couldn't join up the railway they controlled with the railway the Allies controlled. The same applies in the battles in the French sector. And during all this, the fittest men are being expended. But if the Germans really were a serious threat to Allied control of France, men would have been made available, even completely green American units.

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  • TacCovert4
    replied
    So they were used in the assault role, I should say misused. Also generally the terrain of the trench systems was horrible for wheeled vehicles of any type.

    I did notice that as a trend, all Armored Cars of the war were armed with either a single Vickers, Hotchkiss, or Maxim gun, two of them (or one heavy and one light as a backup of sorts), or in a few cases a 37mm naval gun or boys antitank rifle. They were also rather pathetically armored, even rifle rounds could penetrate at somewhat close ranges.

    It is interesting to wonder if proper tactics had been made to break through the enemy line before unleashing the armored cars, by breaking through I mean breaking through the entire main part of the trench system, would the ACs have been able to pull off similar stunts as seen in France later in the war. Probably not for a lack of explosive capability, but interesting to consider.

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    The Medium A (Whippet) was involved in 7 actions in WW 1 in strengths from 50 to 100 vehicles.

    Second Somme
    Amiens
    Bapaume
    Second Arras
    Second Cambari
    Selle
    Maubeuge

    Instructive: At second Somme the 2nd tank Battalion counterattacked on the 22nd of March (day 2 of the action) near Beugny.

    They went into action with 30 vehicles and the fight lasted less than an hour. 17 of 30 tanks were knocked out, mostly by artillery fire, and 70% of the crew were listed as casualties.

    At second Soissons (the largest numerically tank battle of the war) on the first day of the offensive 223 tanks were employed. 62 were knocked out and a further 40 were disabled by mechanical failures. Crew casualties amounted to 25% of the total men.

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