Military Incompetence

Discussion in 'General' started by canuck, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Alan Allport
    Whilest you may be perfecty right in saying that the 3.7" was a better gun than the 88mm and that we shouldn't blame the designers - I for one was not doing that but blaming the people in charge at the War House for coming up with such nonsense to cover up the fact that the 88mm was excelling in Spain c1936 just as we were introducing the 3.7 AA gun around London under Gen Pile - and at the same time selling the 3" AA gun to Russia - who were thinking outside the box in making it into anA/T gun - captured by th Germans and introduced into the desert by Rommel in his first foray from El Ageila in early '41- until a new carriage was built for the converted 88mm.
    It was about that point that the British 2 pounder started to bounce off his MKIII & MKIV panzers - while it had been very successful against the papier mache Italian tanks- it was now slightly obsolete.

    WE are also aware of the production difficulties of the 6 pounder inasmuch as 6th Armoured Div landed in North Africa in November '42 with 2 pounders as did the two Army Tank bde 21st and 25th in Mar '43 and waited for their- 6 pounders to arrive.

    The four 17 pounders which went on to Medenine to fight alongside the converted 3.7" A/T guns adapted by the local REME bods thinking outside the box also - stopped Rommel short ...it was still not until January / February - 1945 that we had the 3.7" converted for the battle of the Bulge.

    We have all heard of the magnificient 55,000 bomber crews members lost in the war- and rightly so but at least their equipment kept up with the enemy - I often wonder how many Tank Crews were lost because we didn't keep up with him.
    Cheers
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Rob
    Only an Artillery bod would know the difference in ammunition used against whatever targets - we Tank men only saw our ammo bounce off our targets - when we got near enough to fire at them that is and so you might forgive us for cheering when we finally learned at long last we had converted a gun which had been standing mainly idle for three at least long years - we didn't care if it was firing potatos - it was killing that which we couldn't with our 6 pdrs- namely the Tiger and the Panther- Ironically your date gives the game away DECEMBER 1944-

    British Tanks initially met up in the desert with the Tigers in early 1941 and the Panther in Italy in early May 1944 in the Liri Valley - that's right a whole month before your D day - long time to wait for any action to help...
    Cheers
     
  3. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Tom
    Completely agree with you old son.
    After the german air threat had deminished the Bods only decided to start to use it in a ground role in Nov 44 for the Scheldt Battles.
    3yrs to late for you chaps getting bashed about over there.
    Hence the thread title i think!
    Best
    Rob
     
  4. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Hi Alan,

    I don't suppose the Germans initialy thought of giving the 88 Flak gun a dual role until they were put in a corner when attacked by tanks.

    I may be wrong, but did not Rommel direct the use of these guns to repel British tanks who caught him out?

    During the Falklands War British troops used the Milan AT missile to attack strongpoints and the 66mm AT missle to trench clear, much better than the old bayonet charge, if not as exciting or dramatic! It's always better to use technology, and not testicles, to destroy an enemy, a lot less painful!!
     
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Hi Alan,

    I don't suppose the Germans initialy thought of giving the 88 Flak gun a dual role until they were put in a corner when attacked by tanks.

    I may be wrong, but did not Rommel direct the use of these guns to repel British tanks who caught him out?

    During the Falklands War British troops used the Milan AT missile to attack strongpoints and the 66mm AT missle to trench clear, much better than the old bayonet charge, if not as exciting or dramatic! It's always better to use technology, and not testicles, to destroy an enemy, a lot less painful!!


    Hi John.

    Weren't these guns designed from the start to be dual purpose? They had direct fire sights and AP ammo from the drawing board, I think.

    Could be wrong, of course. :)
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I'd like to offer up the biggest bungling that I can offer no reasoning for. In the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign, MacArthur wavering early on whether to put WPO into play. He then decided to call an audible and change the play after the Japanese landed at the Lingayen Gulf, then second-guessed himself and deciding to go with WPO. He moved his army to the Bataan Peninsula and abandoned Manila according to plan. During the lead up the the opening of hostilities, he made no effort to militarize Bataan. No trenches, no bunkers, no roadways, no evacuating civilians, no pre-placement of supplies, no nothing. In his haste of evacuating Manila, tons of supplies were destroyed in place, and other substantial were left behind. These items could have been put to good use during the siege. Of course I'm not saying that US forces could have held on until help arrived since no relief force was available. My point is that nothing was done to make do with what they had to work with at the time.

    And to top it off, FDR gave Mac a Medal of Honor for that crappy performance there.


    Agree. And the way he let his air force get caught on the ground after a 10 hour warning was another disgrace. From what I read many people couldn't decide who to excoriate, him or Kimmel and they chose Kimmel.

    Dave
     
  7. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Could be right Dave55. Good bit of forward planning, if so.
     
  8. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Sometimes I don't know how big a plonker I am, until I think about it of course. Here's me wondering who can help me with an 88 question when there's a thread on it.

    Weapons, Technology and Equipment - The 88

    Well B****r me! (praps not on 2nd thoughts!!)
     
  9. martin14

    martin14 Senior Member

    However, we did get within a mile of Arnhem, and wasn't Holland liberated by this action in the space of 11 days or so?

    ummm, no, Holland was not liberated in 11 days.

    A corridor 50 miles long and 2 miles wide was.


    It took the Canadian Army from October to November 1944 to clear the Scheldt in order to open the port of Antwerp.. 6400 casualties.

    Canada at War

    Turning to attack Germany in February, then spending the rest of the spring liberating the rest of the country.. 7600 casualties.

    WWII: Liberation of the Netherlands - Canada at War

    The last Germans in Holland surrendered May 5.


    Thank you for your attention. :)
     
  10. L J

    L J Senior Member

    going of topic,but,IMHO,it is unfair to claim that MG failed because of incompetence.Better would be to say that the culprits were the Germans.
    Was the decision to launch MG a mistake ? Without hindsight :no .It was risky,but :nothing venture nothing have .
     
  11. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Tom

    I'm no expert, but I have been led to believe that the 3.7 had no direct sights. Trying to hit a tank using an AA predictor would have been difficult. There is also the question of whether there were actually more 3.7s than were needed for AA defence in Egypt.

    Chris
     
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Chrisgrove

    While I also believe that the 3.7" AA gun had a predictor and had no sights to line up a moving tank- I also believe that that kind of thinking was TOO prevalent all through WW2.

    So think about this - you have 1000 guns without sights sitting in warehouses - you know that there are FOUR new 17 pounders available - plus a bunch of 25 pounders - and other Artillery but not too many as anti-tank weapons -

    on the other hand you do KNOW that there are three Panzers Divisions and some PZ grenadiers coming at you soon - at Medenine -out of the sun and these guys know what they are doing...so what do you think you should ask your CRE - Chief Engineer ?

    knowing something of Monty he would say - not too gently - "get some of those B.......3.7" guns dug in the front of my hull down Tanks - loaded and pointed at the panzers as they come across this plain so we can knock the B...things out...

    Monty - and obviously his CRE thought outside the box - came up with a sufficient sights - threw away the predictor as being useless and in the course of the very short lived battle managed to knock sufficient panzers that Rommel called it quits - and was fired.

    Around mid-day of that battle Corps Commander Oliver Leese was able to go to Monty's caravan and report that the battle looked over - to which Monty replied " good then I shall write letters "

    which he did for the rest of the day then went on to plan the Battle of El Hamma- which was thought of again - outside the box inasmuch as we finally came up with the British Blitzkreig - after the Air Force inbox thinkers-i.e Tedder - Conningham - Brereton had swanned off to Algiers.

    But that Monty - God he was too slow had to have everything lined up before he moves etc etc etc ....you should just google for Medenine -El hamma
    - and learn something about it all and why I keep on about not having a good gun for tanks ....
    Cheers
     
  13. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    ummm, no, Holland was not liberated in 11 days.

    A corridor 50 miles long and 2 miles wide was.


    It took the Canadian Army from October to November 1944 to clear the Scheldt in order to open the port of Antwerp.. 6400 casualties.

    Canada at War

    Turning to attack Germany in February, then spending the rest of the spring liberating the rest of the country.. 7600 casualties.

    WWII: Liberation of the Netherlands - Canada at War

    The last Germans in Holland surrendered May 5.


    Thank you for your attention. :)

    With all due respect to the extremely galant actions of the 1st Cdn Army and its troops.

    The Channel Ports, Scheldt, and Nth Holland up to and above Groningen
    although the responsibility of the 1st Cdn Army
    was very heavily supported by up to 3 British Army Groups Royal Artillery(AGRA's) which contained over 18 Artillery Regts + a number of British Infantry Divisions with their own Divisional Artillery + LAA,HAA.RA Regts and other British units who also suffered heavy casualties during these actions.
    Best
    Rob
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    With all due respect to the extremely galant actions of the 1st Cdn Army and its troops.

    The Channel Ports, Scheldt, and Nth Holland up to and above Groningen
    although the responsibility of the 1st Cdn Army
    was very heavily supported by up to 3 British Army Groups Royal Artillery(AGRA's) which contained over 18 Artillery Regts + a number of British Infantry Divisions with their own Divisional Artillery + LAA,HAA.RA Regts and other British units who also suffered heavy casualties during these actions.
    Best
    Rob

    And very capably supported throughout as the various Canadian infantry regiments will attest. Being 'shot onto the objective' was never more critical than over the soggy, exposed terrain in Holland.
     
    Rob Dickers likes this.
  15. ummm, no, Holland was not liberated in 11 days.

    A corridor 50 miles long and 2 miles wide was.


    It took the Canadian Army from October to November 1944 to clear the Scheldt in order to open the port of Antwerp.. 6400 casualties.

    Canada at War

    Turning to attack Germany in February, then spending the rest of the spring liberating the rest of the country.. 7600 casualties.

    WWII: Liberation of the Netherlands - Canada at War

    The last Germans in Holland surrendered May 5.


    Thank you for your attention. :)

    Thanks for that Martin. That was something I didnt know. And Tom Canning, I had never heard of Brereton, so that was something I didnt know either. Certainly learning a lot on here, thanks for all the good input.
     
  16. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    And very capably supported throughout as the various Canadian infantry regiments will attest. Being 'shot onto the objective' was never more critical than over the soggy, exposed terrain in Holland.

    Cheers from the Arty-Boys Tim ;)
    Best
    Rob
     
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Tommygunner
    This is what the forum is all about - to pass on the knowledge gained from our experience - so thank you for being able to learn some of the truth which has in the past 60 years been sometimes bent all out of shape for various reasons - mostly by people who were NOT there but of course know more than the people who were there.

    My reason for including US.Gen Brereton in the list of "Inbox" thinkers
    is that he was exactly that ....he was also the Commander of the Air Operation at Ahrnem over "Boy" Browning who was the Corps Commander to Urquharts Divisional Commander......but somehow went missing when the fingers were pointed after that debacle ...leaving Monty - Browning as the bad guys
    Cheers
     
  18. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Monty didn't want to go to Arnhem. His original plan was to go for Wesel, but the RAF declined on the basis of anticipated RAF personnel and materiel losses.

    It was six months later that the Airbourne/Monty got to cross the Rhine in Operation Varsity (part of Plunder). Guess where? Wesel and its surrounds!

    If his original plan had been supported, maybe the war in Europe would have finished sooner and East Germany, Poland et al wouldn't have been under the heel of the Soviets.

    The man was a genius and should have been backed...

    Best,

    Steve.

    Hi Alan,

    I don't suppose the Germans initialy thought of giving the 88 Flak gun a dual role until they were put in a corner when attacked by tanks.

    I may be wrong, but did not Rommel direct the use of these guns to repel British tanks who caught him out?

    Tommygunner
    This is what the forum is all about - to pass on the knowledge gained from our experience - so thank you for being able to learn some of the truth which has in the past 60 years been sometimes bent all out of shape for various reasons - mostly by people who were NOT there but of course know more than the people who were there.

    My reason for including US.Gen Brereton in the list of "Inbox" thinkers is that he was exactly that ....he was also the Commander of the Air Operation at Ahrnem over "Boy" Browning who was the Corps Commander to Urquharts Divisional Commander......but somehow went missing when the fingers were pointed after that debacle ...leaving Monty Browning as the bad guys Cheers


    May I repeat, per the first quote above, that Monty never wanted to go to Arnhem; Wesel was his target. He went to Arnhem because the RAF would not support the Wesel drop, but they were good enough to 'cock-up' the landing zones at Arnhem.

    Rommel is reported to be the first German to use the '88' against his enemy during the Arrass Counter-Attack in 1940; and then out of desperation. His lines of communication were severed and he needed to do something desperate to restore them. Rommel was the ultimate gambler and a gamble it was, and one that paid off.

    Tom, as always, your experience is spot on...very lucid and real. I was not there, but reading your comments I always feel closer to having been; without the inconvenience, fear and danger of course; and whatever passed through the soldiers consciousness. I can only apologise for being born too late!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Rommel is reported to be the first German to use the '88' against his enemy during the Arrass Counter-Attack in 1940; and then out of desperation.

    So Erwin decided to invent the 88mm anti-tank round and cast a few there and then to stop the Matildas?

    link
    Development of the 88’s Anti-Tank Capability
    As far back as the Spanish civil war from 1936 to 1939, German officers started to see the potential of the 88 in an anti-tank role.(4) After the experiences in Spain, proper direct fire optical sights and dedicated armour piercing ammunition were developed.

    ...

    (4) General Ludwig Ritter von Eimannsberger saw the potential of the 88 in ground combat in 1937. There followed a series of publications such as “Deutsche Kampfen in Spanien” explaining how heavy AA guns could be used in the AT role. J. Norris, M. Fuller, 88mm FlaK 18/36/37/41 and PaK 43 1936-45, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2002, pp. 7 and 8.
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  20. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Greetings Za,

    So Erwin decided to invent the 88mm anti-tank round and cast a few there and then to stop the Matildas?

    Only repeating what I have read in numerous accounts of the early years of WWII, before the Soviets and US were forced to get involved 21 to 27 months or so later - doesn't mean that what I have read is accurate. Have you got accounts of the '88' being used in an Anti-tank role previously to May 1940?

    Happy to bow to better knowledge!

    Best,

    Steve.
     

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