Military Incompetence

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

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A lot of 1940 books (older ones IIRC) tell a story about Rommel running up some hill near Arras and getting the AA guns to fire at the British Tanks. My Q would be would AA shells knock out a tank or what was an AA unit doing carrying AT/AP rounds?

    I'm sure I've read of 88's being used in Poland against what little armour the Polish had-Not really my area though.
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew
    The Germans in the Spanish Civil war c 1936 -were using the 88mm with great success against aircraft - it was not used as an A/T until 1941 in the desert after the Russians - thinking outside the box - converted the 3" AA gun we had sold them when the 3.7"gun was introduced to defend London around the year 1937/38-

    frankly if the 88mm. were to fire potatos at any Tank of those days - at the right range - it would have knocked them out ...
    Cheers
     
  3. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    The Tanks that got Rommel worried were the Mk1 Matilda's they were very well armoured but had no real guns on them. Some had the two pounders and the other only had machine guns. The German Tanks could not knock them out but there again our tanks were not doing a lot of damage either. I think you will find that this was the first time that the German 88 mm Ack Ack gun was used against tanks and that Rommels No 2 was killed beside him.
     
  4. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Might be of some interest.
    From the MLU
    3.7" v 88mm
    Rob

    With respect to performance, the British 3.7in gun appears to be closer to the German 105mm Flak 38 gun than the 88mm Flak 36

    3.7in Mk.II L / 50
    Weight – travel- 9401kg (20725lbs)
    Weight – firing- 9326kg (20541lbs)
    Weight of HE shell – 12.96kg (28.56 lbs)
    Muzzle Velocity- 793m/s (2600ft/s)
    Maximum range (horizontal) - 18800m (20660yards)
    Maximum range (vertical) - 12000m (39370ft)
    Effective ceiling – 9760m (32000ft)
    Penetration Data: AP Mk II
    Weight 12.6 kg – MV 793m/s (range – penetration RHA/FHA @30deg)
    100m – 131/116mm, 500m – 124/110mm, 1000m – 116/103mm, 1500m – 108/96mm, 2000m – 100/89mm.


    105mm Flak 38
    Weight – travel- 12700kg (28000lbs)
    Weight – firing- 10224kg (22533lbs)
    Weight of HE shell – 14.8kg (32.6lbs)
    Muzzle Velocity- 881m/s (2890ft/s)
    Maximum range (horizontal) -17380m (191000yards)
    Maximum range (vertical) - 11400m (37401ft)
    Effective ceiling – 9450m (31000ft)
    No penetration data

    88mm Flak 36
    Weight – travel- ?kg (?lbs)
    Weight – firing- 4983kg (10983lbs)
    Weight of HE shell – 9.4kg ( 20.7lbs)
    Muzzle Velocity- 820m/s (2690ft/s)
    Maximum range (horizontal) - 14815m (16270yards)
    Maximum range (vertical) - 9900m (32480ft)
    Effective ceiling – 9000m (29527ft)
    Penetration Data: PzGr. ( Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Cap)
    Weight 9.65kg – MV 810m/s (range – penetration RHA @30deg)
    100m – 97mm, 500m – 93mm, 1000m – 87mm, 1500m – 80mm, 2000m – 72mm.
     
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The 88: The Flak/Pak 8.8cm by Ellis & Chamberlain:
    Though the Flak 18 was sent with the Condor Legion as an anti-aircraft gun, it was in Spain that it was increasingly used in an indirect fire role and even in the direct fire anti-tank role. It is said that Hitler himself suggested trying it against tanks in 1938. Perhaps because the Spanish Civil War did not directly involve armed forces of the big powers, the potential of the Flak 18 as an anti-tank gun was not appreciated by some of them, particularly Britain and France. Armour-piercing ammunition for the 8.8cm gun was, accordingly, developed in 1938 and Spanish Civil War experience also led to the introduction of a gun shield.

    Regarding Arras, Richard Holmes has Rommel rallying a shaken howitzer battery while an 88-armed flak unit turns up and pitches in on its own initiative.
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I'd be quite satisfied with the replies above, but here's another tidbit, coming from John Norris' Osprey New Vanguard on the 8.8cm Flak:

    Clipboard02.jpg

    My Q would be would AA shells knock out a tank or what was an AA unit doing carrying AT/AP rounds?

    Same as other AA or field artillery they might/could/would carry a small proportion of AP projectiles for battery immediate defence. Citation later, I'm past bedtime already :D
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Za...Which confirms then they would not have been used in that role for the first time at Arras. They Germans had learned at lot by 1940 and I think they would have picked up on the idea of using the 88 in the AT role before then in Spain or Poland.
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    I don't remember whether this was discussed here or not, but I remember writing about this in WW2F. My contention was that the systematic employment of the 8.8cm Flak as an AT gun implies that their other AT guns - namely the 3.7cm Pak - were underperforming, or "sucked" in American parlance :D

    Also, compare the size of the two guns. One is properly designed for concealment, the other simply has to be tall to be able to shoot at high elevation and not have the breech digging a hole on the ground as in the third pic, which means that the 88 made a much better target for the proper weapons to be used against it, infantry and artillery as it stuck like the proverbial sore thumb in a sore throat.

    Acht-Acht_in_AA-use-px800.jpg

    The 88 could also be dug in but it was much much more work than a proper AT gun.
    misc_may1943_flak_88mm.jpg

    Also look at the drawing above and compare the complexity with the 3.7.
    11.jpg

    Surprised? No. Again one was a dedicated AT gun, the other a dedicated AA gun designed to work within a battery centred around a fire computer (a predictor). It did not even need to see the target, that was simply immaterial as all the azimuth, elevation and fuze delay calculations were made by the predictor. By the way, same as the 3.7" Vickers.

    So you have an exceedingly complex gun doing the work that should really belong to proper sized AT guns. That was corrected later for 88 size when proper 88 barrels started coming in service starting in Summer 43 in small numbers, but those were based on the 15cm howitzer carriage, so not really small either. There was also the Flak 43 that was lower but that was a massive redesign - more expense.

    Summing up you have an expensive, complex gun doing dogsbody work, subject to any mortar or artillery round, instead of doing it's proper job of medium AAA protecting area targets from bomber attack, all due to lack of a decent AT gun. The myth of the mighty 88 was rather the inability of the loyal opposition to come up with proper cooperation tactics to eliminate the specific threat, that is use of the other arms: artillery, which brings dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.

    There you are: big as a house!

    [​IMG]

    "At a point in the Knightsbridge area, the 4th British armored brigade faced some 35 German tanks of the Mark III and IV type drawn up in line and obviously inviting attack. These tanks were supported by a battalion of anti-aircraft guns (12). The commander of the 4th Brigade refused to attack at all because of the presence of these guns on the battlefield. "Slight firing occurred throughout the day. Towards evening the superior British tank force withdrew and the German tanks attacked after nightfall in a new direction. Their 88 MM guns had checked the British all day and permitted Rommel to seize the initiative as soon as the British threat had vanished."
    "The greatest single tank destroyer is the German 88 MM anti-aircraft gun. For example, on May 27th at 8:00 AM., Axis forces having enveloped Bir Hacheim, a German tank force of sixty tanks attacked the British 22nd Brigade some distance to the northeast. The British moved to attack this force with 50 light and medium American tanks. It soon became apparent that this British force was inadequate and the Brigadier commanding ordered a second regiment of 50 tanks into action. In ten minutes the88 MM German AA guns destroyed 8 American medium tanks of this reinforcing regiment. All day thereafter the British engaged the enemy half-heartedly and finally withdrew. Sixteen American medium tanks were lost in all. These sixteen fell victims without a single exception to the 88 MM AA gun."
    Any mention of artillery? No. Incompetence? On both sides.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Za,

    I think your John Norris', Osprey, New Vanguard quote clinches matters and probably makes the references to their possible first use in an Anti-Tank capacity in the Arras counter-attack in May 1940 redundant.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Great post, Za

    Thanks
     
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Sure, Steve :) I wasn't trying to pick at you, only presenting a different way of looking at things. Thanks Dave :)

    By the period we're discussing most countries AT guns were similar calibres: 40mm for the UK, 37mm for the Jerrys and most of others, the Popovs used a 37mm developed to 45 to acommodate a HE shell too, and the French were the exception with the 25mm and a 47mm at divisional level.

    Also field artillery would have AT projectiles although here I don't know when they were introduced. I'm speaking of the AP in the Brit 25pdr, the German 10.5cm HEAT and the 10cm Kanone 18 with AP as well although this one was certainly older as this FK was specialised in fortification busting work.

    The prize goes to the Soviet 152mm shooting a solid slug of steel, which if it did not penetrate would send a turret flying :lol:

    Where is Tony Williams when we need him?
     
  12. Tommygunner

    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

    Thanks Tom, It makes you wonder how hollywood can get away with the things they do. In A Bridge too Far, they definately made Browning and the Brits pretend that there was no Panzers at Arnhem, and were to blame for the "failure". Maybe Pinewood should put out the real film, or perhaps they are too frightened of upsetting some people. It's good that you guys are in this forum. Thanks. Tom
     
  13. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Thanks Tom, It makes you wonder how hollywood can get away with the things they do. In A Bridge too Far, they definately made Browning and the Brits pretend that there was no Panzers at Arnhem, and were to blame for the "failure". Maybe Pinewood should put out the real film, or perhaps they are too frightened of upsetting some people. It's good that you guys are in this forum. Thanks. Tom
    Hollywood and Pinewood (and every other studio in the world) gets away with the things they do because they are in the business to make money, not documentaries. The finished product they show on the silver screen are supported by the disclaimers "based on a real story" and "characters portrayed in this motion picture are not based on persons living or deceased". Movies are for making money, not for teaching. After watching a movie, go home and dig up your history books or go online here for the real story of what happened.
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  14. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Hollywood and Pinewood (and every other studio in the world) gets away with the things they do because they are in the business to make money, not documentaries. The finished product they show on the silver screen are supported by the disclaimers "based on a real story" and "characters portrayed in this motion picture are not based on persons living or deceased". Movies are for making money, not for teaching. After watching a movie, go home and dig up your history books or go online here for the real story of what happened.

    Absolutely.
    You have just reiterated what many (Including myself) on this forum believe.

    I just watch a war film for its entertainment value, but like you rightly pointed out, if you are interested in learning about the truth you can then check out the history books or go online searching.

    Regards
    Tom
     
    A-58 likes this.
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Whilest in my younger days I would have gone along with both AB and Smudger- but I do believe that theirs is a rather simple understanding of the facts of Hollywood life as there has always been the attitude that Americans are the greatest - ever since the Ben Hecht/Burt Lancaster days when that propaganda was first instituted and it has been on an ascending scale ever since to the point that MANY if not MOST
    Americans actually believe anything coming out of Hollywood is Gospel.

    I hold this view - not as Anti-American- as I have been often accused by some- but rather in many years of living within 20 miles of their borders and have many friends from many parts of that country and know that they attend their movies and DVD's more than twice a week and so they seldom go beyond what they see and hear from the screens-

    and are invariably surprised when faced with the Truth - such as Canadians - Australians - New Zealanders and many other nationalities also were involved in the WW2...and I would bet that many others including many Americans would share that view....including the fact that the war started on September 3rd 1939 for us in Europe !
    Cheers
     
  16. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Sure, Steve :) I wasn't trying to pick at you, only presenting a different way of looking at things.

    I didn't think you were Za, so no problem!

    I also agree with Dave, Message #66 is a great post.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  17. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    "including the fact that the war started on September 3rd 1939 for us in Europe !"

    Or in 1937 for those in China.
     
  18. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    A58- or in 1936 - we had our dress rehearsal in Spain
    Cheers
     
    A-58 likes this.
  19. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Thanks Tom, It makes you wonder how hollywood can get away with the things they do. In A Bridge too Far, they definately made Browning and the Brits pretend that there was no Panzers at Arnhem, and were to blame for the "failure". Maybe Pinewood should put out the real film, or perhaps they are too frightened of upsetting some people. It's good that you guys are in this forum. Thanks. Tom

    Well "A Bridge too Far" movie is based on the book with the same title. And there you can find that it was Browning who rejected report based on the recce photos of German tanks in the Arnhem area.

    A bridge too far - Google Books (page 159)
     
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    "including the fact that the war started on September 3rd 1939 for us in Europe !"

    Or in 1937 for those in China.

    Why, I thought it started in June 22nd 1941, everything else were only appetisers before the main course :p
     

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