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Phony War persists through 1940

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  • #16
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    And the Germans are moving to the 50/60 antitank gun.

    The big questions are between Germany and France, not Britain. The British are not going to be the major ground force in this.
    Correct. The Brits thought air power more important and planned to field air wings instead of infantry divisions. Hence their massive investment in aircraft production and ability to out produce the Germans in items like engines and multi engine airframes. Both the Brits and French saw air power as one of the keys to victory in 1942 and were directing more resources to that end than to combat units like infantry. Artillery was another weapon they were investing serious resources in.

    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Another interesting point is that the Germans would have brought in super heavy artillery (like the 80 cm Dora) and set it up as secretly as possible to obliterate the Maginot Line.
    I would think that the line is doomed to fail against direct fire large caliber AA and AT weapons, super heavy artillery, and aerial assault. It was simply technologically obsolete.
    That is correct for the fortifications alone. French doctrine had the fortifications as a supplement to their field armies, not a replacement. A heavy shield for asorbing a blow & enabling a counter thrust in simple terms. Even without the artillery contained in the fortifications the French army alone had a clear superiority in artillery over the German. This was both in numbers and the combined throw weight of projectiles. In the latter the French had a considerable margin both in gross terms, and at the corps or army level. I dont have numbers for either sides production ability or plans for medium and heavy artillery, but the Germans were behind in numbers for the critical medium to heavy calibers of 12 to 20 cm.

    The 80cm Dora worked vs the Soviet Fortress at Sevastopol because the defenders had no significant counter fires capability. Later when the Dora heavy cannon were deployed at Lenningrad logistics, engineering shortages, and enemy counter fires prevented its use. The requirement to build a multi track rail road siding to fire the Dora weapon from meant several weeks of large scale construction before the cannon could be emplaced. What the French might have been able to in such a situation is a complex question. In the case of the Red Army the Dora cannons were not deployed against Red Army counter fire capability.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Scupio View Post
      Yes I agree - I just posted up my limited knowledge in the hope that experts would pile in.

      I know that British Infantry units used the French 25mm AT gun (Hotchkiss from memory) but how effective this was or how good the French heavier stuff was, I don't know.
      Replacement of the old AT guns in the Regiment & division AT groups was well under way. A 47mm AT was in production and was present in the 'Active' and 'Series A' divisions.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/47_mm_APX_anti-tank_gun

      Some units had their full complement of that weapon others part. The 25mm AT gun was to be retained in the battalion AT untis for some time. In the Series B divisions of 1940 a few of the new 47mm gun were present, but most of the AT groups or companies had either the 25mm or a variety of obsolete 37mm AT guns.

      France had both 75mm & 90mm high velocity guns underdevelopment for anti armor use since 1938. The 90mm gun was proposed for a new class of heavy assault tanks for 1942-43. The 75mm gun was to be ready for production in 1941, but I dont have any information of if those projects were on schedule.

      Note that in the Gembloux battle the French defenders had near their full complement of 47mm AT guns. Those were arrayed in a layered defense of 25mm, 47mm, and 75mm field guns. A Groupe or battalion of the latter were deployed forward to cover the lighter AT guns & supplement them at between 1000 & 2000 meters range.


      Originally posted by Scupio View Post
      I know that British Infantry units used the French 25mm AT gun (Hotchkiss from memory) but how effective this was or how good the French heavier stuff was, I don't know.
      In a couple of the English language histories of the 1940 campaign I've seen a rather touching report from a French Lieutenat of the 75th Infantry Division. The night after the Sedan disaster his infantry regiment was redeployed to face the expanding German bridgehead. the following morning the Lt is faced with a German infantry attack, which is joined by a tank that takes the lead. The Lt loaded his five AP rounds in his rifle and prepared to die bouncing them off the approaching tank. When about fifty meters away the tank took one or more hits from a nearby 25mm ST gun, after which the tank crew dismounted and surrendered. What model tank this was is not specified.
      Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 06 Sep 14, 19:06.

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