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Old 04-09-2012, 07:01 PM
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German vs Russian weapons in World War II

Why was it that Russian weapons and vehicles worked better in the cold of the Eastern Front. Obviously since the Russians lived in a colder climate than the Germans, they built their weapons to work in the cold. But how exactly did they do it?
Old 04-09-2012, 07:13 PM
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There are two main reasons why Russian built weapons worked better in the cold:
1)the Russians had cold weather lubricants that stayed fluid at the winter temperatures. This kept breechblocks moving and enabled their guns to fire. The Germans had no low temp. lubricants, so their weapons gave problems.
2) Russian weapons were built to looser tolerances than the Germans. This allowed them to fire under extreme conditions. An example of this was the tank engines-the Russian T-34s worked well under freezing conditions-while the Germans had to keep the tank engines running at night-otherwise, they would not start in the mornings.
The difference in clothing was striking-the Russian troops wore wool felt boots ("valenki") that were several sizes large-the troops would stuff them with grass and straw-and their feet stayed warm. The Germans had hobnailed leather boots-which lead to frostbitten toes (the hobnails conducted the heat away from their feet).
German casualties (due to the winter cold) were several times those caused by Russian bullets.
What defeated the Germans was the extreme cold, muddy roads, and failure to prepare-Hitler thought the war would be won in 3-4 months...so there was no need to equip the troops for winter conditions (he thought the army could start demobilizing by November 1941).
Old 04-10-2012, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
2) Russian weapons were built to looser tolerances than the Germans.
And How!

I had the misfortune of owning a Russian-built sidecar rig. Leaked oil, low compression and very underpowered, but would run (poorly) on nearly anything that would burn and would always start.

So, at -20, you could push a better bike, or actually ride that piece of crap!

Last edited by Gatopescado; 04-10-2012 at 02:56 AM.
Old 04-10-2012, 06:08 AM
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luck of good design, i don't think you can say the russians were better engineers. they did design the t34 to be more cheap to build, and only built up to the standard to work, not be perfect so they could make more, things like the tracks being wide enough for the mud/snow were fortunate decisions. there were too many competing factions in germany and bad leadership as well i guess, their stuff was not maintainable from the documentaries/books i've seen. american tanks were junky, but you could engine swap them in no time at all, they were built to be field maintained, the german stuff didn't have that kind of fore thought. anyways weapons without the logistics and numbers is nothing, and thats also the reason the germans suffered, too many types of weapons as well.

plus the russians had the helping hand of having much of their economy/infrastructure being supported by the allies, you can find the numbers out there, but the vast majority of their trucks and locamotives were given to them by the allies, taking a huge burden off their backs, while the germans on the other hand wasted time and resources rounding up jews to kill. i've also seen claims that the wonder weapons they made were equivalent to the resources to make tens of thousands more tanks and planes that they desperately needed.

Last edited by Woodenspoon; 04-10-2012 at 06:11 AM.
Old 04-10-2012, 06:17 AM
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Once again, tolerances are being confused with clearances. Russian stuff works well when dirty and cold because they design the moving parts to have generous clearances. Depending on what the item is, they may or may not do a good job a manufacturing the parts within tolerances.
Old 04-10-2012, 06:56 AM
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Russia was only one part of the Soviet Union, or the USSR.
Old 04-10-2012, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Woodenspoon View Post
the germans on the other hand wasted time and resources rounding up jews to kill.
This is nonsense, the German High Command (OKH) on the Eastern Front had no interest in doing this, their priority was a military victory, and increasingly carrying out the military wishes of the Fuhrer.

What happened behind the lines had no initial bearing on the war in Russia as far as weapons and resources are concerned, the bulk of the dirty work you allude to being carried out by police units, local militia and convalescing soldiers unable to yet return to the Front, as well as "second grade" non-Germanic SS units. Very few frontline fighting units were involved in "rounding up Jews to kill", the Germans didn't invade Russia to kill Jews.

It is true that considerable resources were tied up in designated anti-partisan operations, especially as the advance turned into retreat and Red Army commanders were inserted into partisan groups, making them a serious problem for the Germans as they became organised fighting units, not bandits.


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Originally Posted by Woodenspoon View Post
i've also seen claims that the wonder weapons they made were equivalent to the resources to make tens of thousands more tanks and planes that they desperately needed.
But ONE atomic bomb, or weapon of similar clout, might have been enough to stop the war, certainly on the Western Front, where the resolve to smash the Reich wasn't as solid as you may believe. It's not that far-fetched, remember that the war being fought between the Western Allies and Germany was far more "civilised" than on the Eastern Front, we had no real unanimous desire to throw our troops into an all-out revenge assault on Germany, despite the gung-ho attitude of certain US commanders.

It wouldn't have taken much to break the Allied will to throw more lives at the Western Front, as was nearly shown by the Ardennes Offensive. With a stalled Allied advance and a truce at, say, the pre-war German borders, everything could have been turned Eastwards. (Some German Top Brass also believed fervently that the Western Allies would gladly accept a truce and join them in the struggle to throw back the Red Army advance into Western Europe.)


Although the Germans apparently weren't close to making an A-bomb, their jet engine research was doing well - V2 rocket attacks were having a serious demoralising effect on the UK population, far more than the Blitz or the V1, because there was no warning.
The ME 262 would have been a serious problem for the Allies had it appeared earlier in the war, no Allied fighter could catch one.
Think of the infamous Tiger tank - Allied units on the Western Front would shit themselves at the very mention and would be ready to retreat from this pretty formidable, but not invincible tank. If the Germans had had Tigers at every place the Allied advance faltered because of rumours they were ahead, they would have had to have produced 4 times the amount they actually did. Self-propelled guns and Tank Destroyers were cheaper, easier and faster to manufacture, but had nowhere near the same psychological clout, an important consideration against an enemy who may not be totally committed to throwing themselves at your line of defence. Imagine the impact of a new supertank on the horizon...

The Germans still had too many different weapons, despite Speer's efforts to streamline production and cut down the numbers of different guns and tanks. Even the most basic weapons were still far better in quality and more complicated and over-engineered than the crude Russian mass-produced stuff. The Russians also could put a peasant behind every cheaply cast gun, and push them forward to either soak up German fire, or to victory through overwhelming the defence (although admittedly, the Red Army had progressed by that point in the war from the mass infantry wave assaults to co-ordinated infantry/tank/artillery tactics)

The Germans were running out of suitable fighting manpower, they had no reserves of "cannon fodder" to swamp the enemy. New pilots had a few hours of training and were then put up against Allied aces with the inevitable results. As the war drew to a close, fuel was an issue for sorties, let alone training. You can't fly planes or drive tanks without fuel, no matter how many you have waiting to roll, even if you have managed to scrape together people to man them.
Old 04-10-2012, 08:44 AM
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The Germans still had too many different weapons, despite Speer's efforts to streamline production and cut down the numbers of different guns and tanks.
A huge factor here was German use of captured equipment and manufacturing facilities. In the midst of a war, it's much easier to have a captured factory continue manufacture of their existing product and issue that than it is to re-tool and produce the standard German arm. As for the enormous stockpiles of existing captured weapons, you largely either use them or scrap them. Though they did make some efforts toward conversions, such as rebarreling Italian Carcanos to 7.92mm Mauser, they also had large enough stocks of captured ammunition that it made good sense to simply issue the captured arms to their troops. It seems they did try to route the better stuff to combat troops and issue the obviously inferior or obsolete things to "second grade" units.
Old 04-10-2012, 09:31 AM
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Woodenspoon- I think you may be underestimating Soviet engineers. Yes, they were not great at innovative design, for the most part, but things like wider treads were almost certainly a specific thing that was requested, not "luck". The Soviets were well aware of the environment they would be fighting in (ie: their own lands). Russian actually has a word for that time of year when the spring thaw happens and all the roads (at the time, usually dirt roads) would turn to 3 feet of muck. Rasputitsa is something the Soviets were quite aware of, and would have designed for.

That being said, there is a common effort to dismiss the logistical gift given to the Soviet Union, in the form of all those trucks, locomotives, food, uniforms, etc. I (and others) tend to hold to the theory that Allied equipment may have very well saved the Soviet Union. Hitlers prediction of 3-4 months damn near came true. Nobody really knows what would have happend if the Germans would have captured Moscow, but logistically it would have been a NIGHTMARE for the Soviets. West of the Urals, almost all rail lines went through Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad and Kiev.
Old 04-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
If the Germans had had Tigers at every place the Allied advance faltered because of rumours they were ahead, they would have had to have produced 4 times the amount they actually did.
For the record, only 1,347 Tigers were built. Compare this to 44,286 Sherman tanks and 57,339 T-34s produced during the war (more of these Allied tanks were produced postwar but are not included in these figures).

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Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
Woodenspoon- I think you may be underestimating Soviet engineers. Yes, they were not great at innovative design, for the most part, but things like wider treads were almost certainly a specific thing that was requested, not "luck". The Soviets were well aware of the environment they would be fighting in (ie: their own lands). Russian actually has a word for that time of year when the spring thaw happens and all the roads (at the time, usually dirt roads) would turn to 3 feet of muck. Rasputitsa is something the Soviets were quite aware of, and would have designed for.

That being said, there is a common effort to dismiss the logistical gift given to the Soviet Union, in the form of all those trucks, locomotives, food, uniforms, etc. I (and others) tend to hold to the theory that Allied equipment may have very well saved the Soviet Union.
Side note -- some innovations of the T-34 design (particularly the excellent off-road-capable suspension and the famous sloped armor) are the work of an American, Walter Christie, whose ideas had been largely ignored in the US.

An interesting line of thought I've been following lately is how many of the war-winning weapons were the product of two or more different nations pooling their creativity:
  • Poland, France, and Britain worked together on breaking Enigma.
  • An American airframe and British engine produced the P-51 Mustang.
  • The T-34 was the result of an American inventor's ideas greatly expanded and adapted through Soviet design principles.
  • The atomic bomb was built by scientists exiled from Germany and Hungary alongside British and American scientists.

I'm sure there are more examples.

Last edited by Sailboat; 04-10-2012 at 11:32 AM.
Old 04-10-2012, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
It wouldn't have taken much to break the Allied will to throw more lives at the Western Front, as was nearly shown by the Ardennes Offensive. With a stalled Allied advance and a truce at, say, the pre-war German borders, everything could have been turned Eastwards. (Some German Top Brass also believed fervently that the Western Allies would gladly accept a truce and join them in the struggle to throw back the Red Army advance into Western Europe.)
I think you're overstating the impact of the Ardennes offensive. The Germans were hoping it would break the Allied will to see the war to its conclusion... but there was zero chance of that happening, none whatsoever. By that point the Allies were going to destroy the Nazi regime, full stop. Total conquest was the only acceptable outcome.

Quote:
Although the Germans apparently weren't close to making an A-bomb, their jet engine research was doing well - V2 rocket attacks were having a serious demoralising effect on the UK population, far more than the Blitz or the V1, because there was no warning. The ME 262 would have been a serious problem for the Allies had it appeared earlier in the war, no Allied fighter could catch one.
Think of the infamous Tiger tank - Allied units on the Western Front would shit themselves at the very mention and would be ready to retreat from this pretty formidable, but not invincible tank. If the Germans had had Tigers at every place...
Sure, and if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its ass when it hops. The Germans didn't have Tigers everywhere, didn't have Me-262s in 1941, didn't have V-2 in sufficient numbers to make a difference, and didn't have laser blasters and X-Wing fighters. And if the Germans HAD had more Tigers or more Me-262s, that would simply have changed Allied technological and industrial priorities.

The quality of Soviet weapons is being understated a little here. Soviet weapons were of outstanding quality. Their small arms were sensational, their artillery excellent. Soviet stuff in general is rightly regarded as shitty; anyone who ever visited the USSR noticed that. But they put solid, intelligent engineering into their weaponry during WWII, and it was good stuff.

Furthermore, the Soviets managed their arsenal of wepaons and weapons platforms with an eye towards strategic capability that the Germans never did. One of the more fascinating facts about the war is that the Soviets had spare engines and engine parts roughly approximating a full replacement for every tank in the army; the Germans usually didn't have spare engines at all, and lacked parts. So when a Soviet tank blew an engine, as tanks of that time did a lot, it could be fixed; a German tank became an obstacle. There were periods during the war when more than half the German tank fleet was unavailable because of mechanical breakdown. Tanks are, and have always been and probably always will be, prone to breakdown; the Soviets simply had the foresight to provide the army with spare parts and to design tanks with a mind towards making field repair easy. The Germans didn't have the spare parts. It's a simple thing, and yet it decides wars. As the old saying goes, amateurs discuss tactics, but professionals discuss logistics.
Old 04-10-2012, 12:12 PM
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The quality of Soviet weapons is being understated a little here. Soviet weapons were of outstanding quality. Their small arms were sensational,
I don't know if I'd go quite that far. In my personal collection, I have a Mosin Nagant rifle, a Tokarev pistol, and a Nagant revolver. I've handled, but not fired, a PPSh-41. The Mosin Nagant rifle is inferior to the German Mauser, the British SMLE, and the American Springfield rifles IMO. Right at the top of the list of its shortcomings is its safety that is so difficult to use that it might as well not have one. The Tokarev pistol is an okay design, but there's nothing outstanding about it save machining the feed lips into the frame. In use, it is one more Browning clone, this one lacking any kind of safety at all which mandates chamber empty carry. The Nagant pistol is an underpowered mechanical curiosity, no more. I won't say much about the PPSh since I didn't get to fire it. It was heavier than I expected it to be, though.
Old 04-10-2012, 01:21 PM
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The Tiger tank was already on the edge of being outclassed by fairly early on in 1944, the Soviet IS2 was more than a match.

The upgunned Sherman - the Firefly was good enough to be a serious threat to the Tiger, well capable of taking them out with one shot.

The Firefly itself was only a stopgap, for the incoming Comet, which itself was the direct forerunner of the Centurian. Both of these were much more than a match for German tanks.

Had the Ardennes campaign delayed things, we would have seen much more use of these, along with the US Pershings.

The idea that the Tiger was some sort of fear inducing superweapon is not truly borne out, by wars end it was already 2 years out of date and its star was fading fast - it was only the German tank crews superb tactics that kept them in the game.
Old 04-10-2012, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
This is nonsense, the German High Command (OKH) on the Eastern Front had no interest in doing this, their priority was a military victory, and increasingly carrying out the military wishes of the Fuhrer...the Germans didn't invade Russia to kill Jews...
Yes, the Germans did invade Russia to kill Jews, you liar: mass murder of the Jews
was premeditated Nazi policy since 1939 in Poland, and would be so throughout the
war, with increasing ferocity. It may be that the resources needed for the round up
and murder civilians were not great enough to effect military operations, but that is
beside the point. As for OKH and the battlefield commanders they did nothing to
prevent the murders they could not have avoided having knowledge of, and so they
were accessory to mass murder.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
But ONE atomic bomb, or weapon of similar clout, might have been enough to stop the war, certainly on the Western Front, where the resolve to smash the Reich wasn't as solid as you may believe. It's not that far-fetched, remember that the war being fought between the Western Allies and Germany was far more "civilised" than on the Eastern Front, we had no real unanimous desire to throw our troops into an all-out revenge assault on Germany, despite the gung-ho attitude of certain US commanders.
This is a falsification of history, you liar. The Western Allies in fact did throw their
troops into an all-out assault on Germany, millions of the, in an assualt which succeeded
in conquering more than half the country.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
It wouldn't have taken much to break the Allied will to throw more lives at the Western Front, as was nearly shown by the Ardennes Offensive...
What are you talking about, you liar? The Ardennes Offensive was stalled by resolute
defence, and then reversed by resolute counterattack.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
With a stalled Allied advance and a truce at, say, the pre-war German borders, everything could have been turned Eastwards. (Some German Top Brass also believed fervently that the Western Allies would gladly accept a truce and join them in the struggle to throw back the Red Army advance into Western Europe.)
Straight out of the mouth of Goebbels.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
The ME 262 would have been a serious problem for the Allies had it appeared earlier in the war, no Allied fighter could catch one.
The Me262 was not maneuverable enough to be a effective dogfighter, and was
vulnerable to enemy fighters especially when landing. Chuck Yeager shot one down.
However, the Me262 may have been developed soon enough to seriously diminish
the bombing campaign, since it was a great interceptor. Luckily Hilter tried to make
a light bomber out of it, thus curtailing effective deployment.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
Think of the infamous Tiger tank - Allied units on the Western Front would shit themselves at the very mention and would be ready to retreat from this pretty formidable, but not invincible tank...
The original 75mm gun on the Sherman could possibly have failed point blank against
the Tiger's turret armor, so the Tiger's reputation was deserved. The Soviet t-34s had
a much better fighting chance vs the Tiger.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
The Russians also could put a peasant behind every cheaply cast gun,
This sneer ridiclously understates the value of the potent PPSh-41 machine gun
whose chrome lining made it nearly jam-proof, and whose 900rmp rate of fire
far exceeded any other infantryman's weapon. By the end of the war entire divsions
were armed with this excellent weapon, whose service life extended to the
Viet Nam war.
Old 04-10-2012, 01:40 PM
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This sneer ridiclously understates the value of the potent PPSh-41 machine gun
whose chrome lining made it nearly jam-proof, and whose 900rmp rate of fire
far exceeded any other infantryman's weapon.
Chrome lining doesn't make weapons less prone to jamming. It prolongs barrel life in full auto weapons and protects against corrosion, especially when corrosive ammo is used. The Japanese chromed the bores of their bolt action rifles. The extremely high rate of fire is less of a feature and more of a bug. Reducing rates of fire in hand held weapons was generally considered more valuable than increasing it. The American Thompson smg had a cyclic rate of around 600 to 700 rounds per minute depending on the model. This was replaced by the M3 "Grease Gun" which ran around 400 rounds per minute. Machine pistols like the Mauser M1932 / M712 Schnellfeuer never really caught on exactly because their high rate of fire made them hard to control and quickly exhausted their ammo.
Old 04-10-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Chrome lining doesn't make weapons less prone to jamming. It prolongs barrel life in full auto weapons and protects against corrosion, especially when corrosive ammo is used. The Japanese chromed the bores of their bolt action rifles. The extremely high rate of fire is less of a feature and more of a bug. Reducing rates of fire in hand held weapons was generally considered more valuable than increasing it. The American Thompson smg had a cyclic rate of around 600 to 700 rounds per minute depending on the model. This was replaced by the M3 "Grease Gun" which ran around 400 rounds per minute. Machine pistols like the Mauser M1932 / M712 Schnellfeuer never really caught on exactly because their high rate of fire made them hard to control and quickly exhausted their ammo.
If you speak with authority, OK, but I know I have read that the PPBSh
was reliable against jamming, and i would think the chrome would have
been a necessary if not sufficient factor in that.

As for magazine exhaustion that would not be as much of an issue when
using the ?80-round drum magazine-- close to triple modern assualt rifle standard.
Old 04-10-2012, 02:21 PM
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What happened behind the lines had no initial bearing on the war in Russia as far as weapons and resources are concerned, the bulk of the dirty work you allude to being carried out by police units, local militia and convalescing soldiers unable to yet return to the Front, as well as "second grade" non-Germanic SS units. Very few frontline fighting units were involved in "rounding up Jews to kill", the Germans didn't invade Russia to kill Jews.

It is true that considerable resources were tied up in designated anti-partisan operations, especially as the advance turned into retreat and Red Army commanders were inserted into partisan groups, making them a serious problem for the Germans as they became organised fighting units, not bandits.


But the Germans did invade the Soviet Union to kill Russians, Ukranians, Georgians, and others.

Remember that the Soviets had been having purges and a reign of terror prior to the German invasion.

When the German armies arrived, initially they were greeted by many people as liberators. Then, of course, their savagery changed that attitude. Their need to maintain large forces to handle partisans was very much their own fault.
Old 04-10-2012, 02:26 PM
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If you want to look for things that made the papasha reliable, there are better places to look than the chrome-lined bore. The 7.62 x 25mm cartridge is bottlenecked, for starters. It's easier to get a bottleneck cartridge to feed reliably than it is one that is straight walled or, like the 9mm, has a minimal taper. The PPSh series also featured the characteristically Russian generous clearances between moving parts; always a good idea in a weapon that has to function even when dirty or in intense cold. The drum was nominally a 71-rounder, but in practice was downloaded by several rounds due to (uh-oh!) jamming problems. Drum magazines, for just about anything, are notoriously slow to load and complicated to manufacture. The Soviets phased out the drum and replaced it with a conventional box magazine.

WRT drum magazines: I remember reading some years ago that British commandos in the early days of the war preferred the box magazines for their Thompsons as the drums were slow to load, rattled loudly, and were an inconvenient size and shape.

Last edited by Scumpup; 04-10-2012 at 02:30 PM.
Old 04-10-2012, 02:29 PM
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The Me262 was not maneuverable enough to be a effective dogfighter, and was
vulnerable to enemy fighters especially when landing. Chuck Yeager shot one down.
However, the Me262 may have been developed soon enough to seriously diminish
the bombing campaign, since it was a great interceptor. Luckily Hilter tried to make
a light bomber out of it, thus curtailing effective deployment.


He also conceived of a ground attack version of it, giving it one of those 88 mm cannon. I've seen pictures; apparently it would fly, but a more obscene abortion you've never seen.
Old 04-10-2012, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
the Russians had cold weather lubricants that stayed fluid at the winter temperatures. This kept breechblocks moving and enabled their guns to fire. The Germans had no low temp. lubricants, so their weapons gave problems.
No cite save "I saw it on TV", I had an idea half remembered that they used a mix of oil and petrol to produce something runnier. Am I remembering correctly.

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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
The difference in clothing was striking-the Russian troops wore wool felt boots ("valenki") that were several sizes large-the troops would stuff them with grass and straw-and their feet stayed warm. The Germans had hobnailed leather boots-which lead to frostbitten toes (the hobnails conducted the heat away from their feet)
From the same cite as above (the TV) Russians preferred textile hats to the German'shelmets, which apparently kept heads a few degrees warmer.
Old 04-10-2012, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Pushkin View Post
From the same cite as above (the TV) Russians preferred textile hats to the German'shelmets, which apparently kept heads a few degrees warmer.
Paul Carrel in Hitler turns east mentions that some German troops in the first winter died because they were wearing steel helmets (the fluids in their brain froze ).
Old 04-10-2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
The Mosin Nagant rifle is inferior to the German Mauser, the British SMLE, and the American Springfield rifles IMO. Right at the top of the list of its shortcomings is its safety that is so difficult to use that it might as well not have one.
Is gun. Is not safe.
Old 04-10-2012, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by detop View Post
Paul Carrel in Hitler turns east mentions that some German troops in the first winter died because they were wearing steel helmets (the fluids in their brain froze ).
While it can get very cold in Russia, it's not like the atmosphere is made of liquid nitrogen. What Mr. Carrel describes is probably physiologically impossible - the fluids in your brain might freeze after you die, but they aren't going to flash-freeze from wearing a helmet. Furthermore, a human being is not just going to stand there and let his head freeze without doing something.

I doubt the number of German soldiers who actually froze to death was a significant number (I can't find it right now.) The effect of an uprepared army in winter warfare is largely a combination of two problems;

1. Disabling but non-fatal injuries like second and third degree frostbite, trench foot, pneumonia, and various other things that drain an army of manpower, and

2. The inability to effectively operate in a winter climate.

Nobody thinks about it until they're in it, but if your troops don't have things like skis or snowhoes and have no motorized transport, just moving around is difficult. Deep snow is insanely hard to walk through, ice is tough on horses (most of the German army walked and used horses and mules to pull supplies, and their horses were wholly unsuited to arctic conditions) and it's harder to find your way around because visibility is reduced and a lot of visual cues are buried in snow. If your equipment is unsuited to arctic temperatures, it doesn't work. Cold soldiers are demoralized, miserable, insubordinate, tire easily, and act more slowly and less capably at everything except finding a warm place to sit. Military operations in snow are different at a tactical level, too; winter changes the way sound carries, changes the way you have to conceal positions and personnel, changes the effectivess of artillery, and changes the manner in which units must rest and shelter at night. An army unprepared for winter would have a significant disadvantage even if they never suffered a single cold-related casualty, just because they would simply be a less adept army.
Old 04-10-2012, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by colonial View Post
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Yes, the Germans did invade Russia to kill Jews, you liar:



This is a falsification of history, you liar.



What are you talking about, you liar?
MODERATOR WARNING

Colonial. You're been here long enough to know our rules in General Questions. You don't call someone a liar, muchless a "stormfront" liar. You can attack the post but not the poster.

Don't do this again.

samclem, moderator

Last edited by samclem; 04-10-2012 at 06:59 PM.
Old 04-10-2012, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
If you want to look for things that made the papasha reliable, there are better places to look than the chrome-lined bore. The 7.62 x 25mm cartridge is bottlenecked, for starters. It's easier to get a bottleneck cartridge to feed reliably than it is one that is straight walled or, like the 9mm, has a minimal taper. The PPSh series also featured the characteristically Russian generous clearances between moving parts; always a good idea in a weapon that has to function even when dirty or in intense cold. The drum was nominally a 71-rounder, but in practice was downloaded by several rounds due to (uh-oh!) jamming problems. Drum magazines, for just about anything, are notoriously slow to load and complicated to manufacture. The Soviets phased out the drum and replaced it with a conventional box magazine.

WRT drum magazines: I remember reading some years ago that British commandos in the early days of the war preferred the box magazines for their Thompsons as the drums were slow to load, rattled loudly, and were an inconvenient size and shape.
Per Wiki the chrome parts enabled "long intervals between cleaning",
which I would think promoted the weapon's anti-jamming property.

Wiki also states: "Its parts (excluding the barrel) could be produced by
a relatively unskilled workforce". Perhaps magazine manufacture should
be considered entirely separate, though.
Old 04-11-2012, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by The Great Cornholio View Post
This is nonsense, the German High Command (OKH) on the Eastern Front had no interest in doing this, their priority was a military victory, and increasingly carrying out the military wishes of the Fuhrer.

What happened behind the lines had no initial bearing on the war in Russia as far as weapons and resources are concerned, the bulk of the dirty work you allude to being carried out by police units, local militia and convalescing soldiers unable to yet return to the Front, as well as "second grade" non-Germanic SS units. Very few frontline fighting units were involved in "rounding up Jews to kill", the Germans didn't invade Russia to kill Jews.

It is true that considerable resources were tied up in designated anti-partisan operations, especially as the advance turned into retreat and Red Army commanders were inserted into partisan groups, making them a serious problem for the Germans as they became organised fighting units, not bandits.




But ONE atomic bomb, or weapon of similar clout, might have been enough to stop the war, certainly on the Western Front, where the resolve to smash the Reich wasn't as solid as you may believe. It's not that far-fetched, remember that the war being fought between the Western Allies and Germany was far more "civilised" than on the Eastern Front, we had no real unanimous desire to throw our troops into an all-out revenge assault on Germany, despite the gung-ho attitude of certain US commanders.

It wouldn't have taken much to break the Allied will to throw more lives at the Western Front, as was nearly shown by the Ardennes Offensive. With a stalled Allied advance and a truce at, say, the pre-war German borders, everything could have been turned Eastwards. (Some German Top Brass also believed fervently that the Western Allies would gladly accept a truce and join them in the struggle to throw back the Red Army advance into Western Europe.)


Although the Germans apparently weren't close to making an A-bomb, their jet engine research was doing well - V2 rocket attacks were having a serious demoralising effect on the UK population, far more than the Blitz or the V1, because there was no warning.
The ME 262 would have been a serious problem for the Allies had it appeared earlier in the war, no Allied fighter could catch one.
Think of the infamous Tiger tank - Allied units on the Western Front would shit themselves at the very mention and would be ready to retreat from this pretty formidable, but not invincible tank. If the Germans had had Tigers at every place the Allied advance faltered because of rumours they were ahead, they would have had to have produced 4 times the amount they actually did. Self-propelled guns and Tank Destroyers were cheaper, easier and faster to manufacture, but had nowhere near the same psychological clout, an important consideration against an enemy who may not be totally committed to throwing themselves at your line of defence. Imagine the impact of a new supertank on the horizon...

The Germans still had too many different weapons, despite Speer's efforts to streamline production and cut down the numbers of different guns and tanks. Even the most basic weapons were still far better in quality and more complicated and over-engineered than the crude Russian mass-produced stuff. The Russians also could put a peasant behind every cheaply cast gun, and push them forward to either soak up German fire, or to victory through overwhelming the defence (although admittedly, the Red Army had progressed by that point in the war from the mass infantry wave assaults to co-ordinated infantry/tank/artillery tactics)

The Germans were running out of suitable fighting manpower, they had no reserves of "cannon fodder" to swamp the enemy. New pilots had a few hours of training and were then put up against Allied aces with the inevitable results. As the war drew to a close, fuel was an issue for sorties, let alone training. You can't fly planes or drive tanks without fuel, no matter how many you have waiting to roll, even if you have managed to scrape together people to man them.



The germans were diverting resources in rounding up the jews, like it or not trains are a strategic resource, never mind the rest, their efforts to rid themselves of the jews undermined their own war fighting capacity. never mind the brain power they lost.

wonder weapons require numbers, it doesn't matter they had tiger tanks, as i said they had too few, and too complicated with no efficient logistical support. wonder weapons are good when they are created in addition to sufficient regular armed forces, this is what the us had with its massive over production of everything, the germans simply couldn't afford to do what they were doing and thus undermined their regular war fighting forces through those diversions.
Old 04-11-2012, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonial View Post
Wiki also states: "Its parts (excluding the barrel) could be produced by
a relatively unskilled workforce".
For a well designed firearm this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, and would also have been true of the M1, Lee Enfield, etc. A gun's parts are just interchangeable machined parts that are mass produced on ordinary industrial machines. You don't have highly skilled artisans making the guns by hand, no matter whose rifle it was. I've been in rifle factories and they're just ordinary machine shops...

.. except for the production of the barrel, which is quite a unique process.
Old 04-11-2012, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Military operations in snow are different at a tactical level, too; winter changes the way sound carries, changes the way you have to conceal positions and personnel, changes the effectivess of artillery, and changes the manner in which units must rest and shelter at night. An army unprepared for winter would have a significant disadvantage even if they never suffered a single cold-related casualty, just because they would simply be a less adept army.
You've sparked my curiosity. Could you elaborate on how winter changes the effectiveness of artillery?
Old 04-11-2012, 05:47 PM
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German Labor Shortage and The Jews

From what I understand, Germany began to have a serious labor shortage, starting in 1942. So many men had been killed in Russia (over 240,000 dead by January 1942), that despite drafting all young men of military age, the army was also compelled to draft industrial workers. This lead to the need to import slave labor from occupied countries.
While all this was going on, millions of Jews were being murdered-why didn't the Germans use them as industrial workers?
Old 04-11-2012, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
While all this was going on, millions of Jews were being murdered-why didn't the Germans use them as industrial workers?
They did.
Old 04-11-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
From what I understand, Germany began to have a serious labor shortage, starting in 1942. So many men had been killed in Russia (over 240,000 dead by January 1942), that despite drafting all young men of military age, the army was also compelled to draft industrial workers. This lead to the need to import slave labor from occupied countries.
While all this was going on, millions of Jews were being murdered-why didn't the Germans use them as industrial workers?
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
There was even a relatively obscure movie made about it: http://imdb.com/title/tt0108052/
Old 04-11-2012, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Nobody thinks about it until they're in it, but if your troops don't have things like skis or snowhoes and have no motorized transport, just moving around is difficult. Deep snow is insanely hard to walk through, ice is tough on horses (most of the German army walked and used horses and mules to pull supplies, and their horses were wholly unsuited to arctic conditions) and it's harder to find your way around because visibility is reduced and a lot of visual cues are buried in snow. If your equipment is unsuited to arctic temperatures, it doesn't work. Cold soldiers are demoralized, miserable, insubordinate, tire easily, and act more slowly and less capably at everything except finding a warm place to sit. Military operations in snow are different at a tactical level, too; winter changes the way sound carries, changes the way you have to conceal positions and personnel, changes the effectivess of artillery, and changes the manner in which units must rest and shelter at night. An army unprepared for winter would have a significant disadvantage even if they never suffered a single cold-related casualty, just because they would simply be a less adept army.
True.

You could also add up what often happens during wartime when an infantry unit is deployed on an elongated forced march by foot, regardless of the era, army, climate or officers.

During this "endless" march, at some point all kind of issued gear starts to find their rest on the roadside. Steel helmets, field shovels, engineer axes and machetes, "extra" clothing, even secondary weapons and so on. Primary weapon and ammo is carefully taken care of, but everything else is at some point about to be ditched. Officers can't and sometimes even won't rise any issue on this, they have their hands full and they know they will need every single man under their command without further issues. Yeah, in the end those soldiers will be sorry without the shovel they tossed away just a 30 miles before they suddenly need to dig into soil. But everyone who did that can't blame anyone else but themselves.

Nowadays it's a different thing, a "taxi ride" there and back is truly an essential feature in modern warfare. It's not about the men, it's about fast moving with even more gear.



Regarding of what OP asked, check out the Finns at WW2. While at it on their own turf and climate the Finns used pretty much everything they had to throw at Russians, no matter where it was originally made.

They had Finnish, Russian, Swiss, Spanish, German, British, American, French and Italian made weapons. Some of those weapons (like Brewster Buffalos) were not even taken seriously in their country of origin. It was like some damn salad of hardware they had at their disposal.

In the end they lost, but if you look into statistics the outcome was pretty impressive.

Yours,

Sasamu
Old 04-11-2012, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
For a well designed firearm this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, and would also have been true of the M1, Lee Enfield, etc. A gun's parts are just interchangeable machined parts that are mass produced on ordinary industrial machines. You don't have highly skilled artisans making the guns by hand, no matter whose rifle it was. I've been in rifle factories and they're just ordinary machine shops...

.. except for the production of the barrel, which is quite a unique process.
No one has suggested that any moderrn army is equipped with weapons
made by hand by "skilled artisans".

However, I expect that many modern manufactured items, including guns,
require a significant number of workers who ought to be termed "skilled";
that was certainly true on the shop floor I was associated with for 19 years
in various production and QA/QC/engineering positions.
Old 04-11-2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
For a well designed firearm this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, and would also have been true of the M1, Lee Enfield, etc. A gun's parts are just interchangeable machined parts that are mass produced on ordinary industrial machines. You don't have highly skilled artisans making the guns by hand, no matter whose rifle it was. I've been in rifle factories and they're just ordinary machine shops...

.. except for the production of the barrel, which is quite a unique process.
Of the widely issued rifles from that war, the M1 required the most sophistication in production. Garand had to design tooling and processes as well as the rifle itself. That said, once he had done that work, many companies were able to produce the M1, not all of which were gun companies. The other rifles were 19th century guns that could be produced with 19th century technology.
Old 04-12-2012, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Of the widely issued rifles from that war, the M1 required the most sophistication in production. Garand had to design tooling and processes as well as the rifle itself. That said, once he had done that work, many companies were able to produce the M1, not all of which were gun companies. The other rifles were 19th century guns that could be produced with 19th century technology.
It's interesting to look at some of the diverse non-gun related companies ending up producing firearms during WWII - car manufacturers, sewing machine makers, agricultural machinery manufacturers, vacuum cleaner makers, and so on. An even wider range made components for guns, too.

And an interesting data point for the thread: All WWII Russian small arms (not including anti-tank guns, captured weapons, or Lend-Lease stuff, obviously) fired a 7.62mm projectile.
Old 04-12-2012, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post

And an interesting data point for the thread: All WWII Russian small arms (not including anti-tank guns, captured weapons, or Lend-Lease stuff, obviously) fired a 7.62mm projectile.
When the Russians liked something, they stuck with it. The U.S. sent them a whole bunch of Studebaker US6 trucks early on as part of Lend-Lease, and when they later offered to send them newer, better trucks, the Soviets said nope, we like the Studebaker, we know how to work with it, please send us more.
Old 04-12-2012, 09:03 AM
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I read in several trustworthy sources that the common 7.62 bore size across different weapons was an effort to save money and streamline manufacturing processes. The same machinery could be used to bore out barrel blanks for more than one weapon type. Makes some sense, but I note they got away from that idea quickly following WWII.
Old 04-12-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
I read in several trustworthy sources that the common 7.62 bore size across different weapons was an effort to save money and streamline manufacturing processes. The same machinery could be used to bore out barrel blanks for more than one weapon type. Makes some sense, but I note they got away from that idea quickly following WWII.
In a way. Remember that the most common small arms calibers in the USSR until the 70s were the 7.62X39 and 7.62X54*. On the NATO side, the 7.62X51 is a shortened version of the 30-06 and was adopted as the NATO standard. The US switched to the 5.56 in the late 60s but many NATO countries kept the 7.62X51 until the 80s.



*I'm not sure how quick and thorough the switch to 5.45X39 was.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 04-12-2012 at 09:34 AM.
Old 04-12-2012, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dravin View Post
You've sparked my curiosity. Could you elaborate on how winter changes the effectiveness of artillery?
Possibly he's referring to the fact that artillery does not burrow into the earth and explode underground (or partly underground) in winter, but bursts right on the frozen surface.
Old 04-12-2012, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
In a way. Remember that the most common small arms calibers in the USSR until the 70s were the 7.62X39 and 7.62X54*. On the NATO side, the 7.62X51 is a shortened version of the 30-06 and was adopted as the NATO standard. The US switched to the 5.56 in the late 60s but many NATO countries kept the 7.62X51 until the 80s.



*I'm not sure how quick and thorough the switch to 5.45X39 was.
Everything from pistols on up had been .30 caliber, dating all the way back to the goofy Nagant revolver. In the early 50's the 9 x 18mm Makarov became their standard pistol round. They used it in the Makarov pistol, the misbegotten Stechkin machine pistol, and an assortment of submachine guns. Most of the smg's were either not widely issued or never entered serious production . You can laugh at them here.
Since the Russians never throw weapons away, the 7.62 and 5.45 variants of the AK were both in inventory and issue at the same time. The 5.45 in its wood stock variants has grooves cut into the sides of the stock as a tactile way of identifying the weapon's caliber in darkness. In the early 90's they introduced the PSM and its ridiculously overhyped 5.45 x 18mm cartridge into the mix alongside the still-issued Makarov. For the sake of sanity, let's just ignore all their more fanciful underwater weapons, integrally silenced cartridges, and not-really-commercial-but-not-military-either cartridges based on the 7.62 x 54 R case.
Old 04-13-2012, 04:47 AM
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And let's not get into the fact that it seems pretty much every military rifle or SMG the Russians have designed since the 1950s seems to use some variant of the Kalashnikov action. I know they were onto a good thing with it, but even so...
Old 04-13-2012, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Possibly he's referring to the fact that artillery does not burrow into the earth and explode underground (or partly underground) in winter, but bursts right on the frozen surface.
Isn't an artillery round burrowing into the earth before exploding undesirable? It's expending it's energy on making a crater instead of flinging shrapnel a greater and more uniform distance. My understanding is the use of proximity fuzes to allow air-burst is in difference to this idea. And while on the ground is less effective than an air-burst a few meters up one would think it's be more effective than a partially subterranean burst.

Though I suppose having it dig into the ground might have a better chance of ruining a trench or foxhole with a near miss than a surface burst would. And I would expect a surface burst to lack the ability to reach in and touch someone in a trench, it'd just sail on over head. So I suppose if we're talking about laying down artillery on a dug in position with contact fuses I could see how the ground being frozen would be less effective.

Last edited by Dravin; 04-13-2012 at 07:36 AM.
Old 04-13-2012, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
If you want to look for things that made the papasha reliable, there are better places to look than the chrome-lined bore. The 7.62 x 25mm cartridge is bottlenecked, for starters. It's easier to get a bottleneck cartridge to feed reliably than it is one that is straight walled or, like the 9mm, has a minimal taper. The PPSh series also featured the characteristically Russian generous clearances between moving parts; always a good idea in a weapon that has to function even when dirty or in intense cold. The drum was nominally a 71-rounder, but in practice was downloaded by several rounds due to (uh-oh!) jamming problems. Drum magazines, for just about anything, are notoriously slow to load and complicated to manufacture. The Soviets phased out the drum and replaced it with a conventional box magazine.

WRT drum magazines: I remember reading some years ago that British commandos in the early days of the war preferred the box magazines for their Thompsons as the drums were slow to load, rattled loudly, and were an inconvenient size and shape.
Scumpup

My father owned a Thompson in the early '80s and managed to get his hands on an old drum magazine for it. Our experience with it bears out everything you've said about them. Slow as hell to load and it was difficult to ever get the thing to feed properly.
It had a huge 'cool' factor to it but didn't actually work that well. If I were taking a Thompson into combat I'd prefer a lot of 20 round magazines over the drums.
The Thompson, as an oh-by-the-way, was the loudest weapon I've ever fired, including things like Ruger Super Blackhawks and the like.

Regards

Testy
Old 04-13-2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dravin View Post
Isn't an artillery round burrowing into the earth before exploding undesirable? It's expending it's energy on making a crater instead of flinging shrapnel a greater and more uniform distance. My understanding is the use of proximity fuzes to allow air-burst is in difference to this idea. And while on the ground is less effective than an air-burst a few meters up one would think it's be more effective than a partially subterranean burst.
Precisely (since we're talking pre-proximity fuse in this case). In winter, artillery's effectiveness is changed. It's more effective at killing people.

I was just replying to the idea that winter changes how things work -- not trying to imply everything worked less well in winter.

The contact-fused artillery of the day was also somewhat more dangerous in forested terrain, because the shells would often burst in tree branches, showering fragmentation (and wood splinters) down from above, just like proximity-fused/airburst ordnance. To cite one example, this was a significant factor in the misery the American infantry endured in the Hürtgen Forest battle.

Last edited by Sailboat; 04-13-2012 at 11:09 AM.
Old 04-13-2012, 12:59 PM
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OTOH, manhandling a gigantic piece of metal in sub-zero temperatures can't be all that fun.
Old 04-13-2012, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Precisely (since we're talking pre-proximity fuse in this case). In winter, artillery's effectiveness is changed. It's more effective at killing people.

I was just replying to the idea that winter changes how things work -- not trying to imply everything worked less well in winter.
Okay. That makes sense, I guess I had less effective stuck in my mind from RickJay's post's focus on armies being less effective.
Old 04-14-2012, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
That being said, there is a common effort to dismiss the logistical gift given to the Soviet Union, in the form of all those trucks, locomotives, food, uniforms, etc. I (and others) tend to hold to the theory that Allied equipment may have very well saved the Soviet Union.
You're overstating the case. Official Soviet histories were dismissive of the importance of lend-lease, and of the efforts of the western allies in general for ideological reasons, but the Soviet Union hasn't been around since 1991. Lend-lease was certainly of great value, amounting to ~8% of total Soviet production, but it didn't save the Soviet Union, they did that for themselves. The Germans were halted and placed on the strategic defensive along the entire length of the front by December 6, 1941. Lend-lease to the USSR wasn't authorized until October, 1941 with first deliveries in November. The initial deliveries were quite small compared to what they would become later on from mid/late '42 and early '43 once the floodgates had opened. It's easy to forget how badly Barbarossa had mauled the Germans due to the scale of its successes. By November 1, 1941 German casualties on the Eastern front reached 686,000; 20% of all the German forces that had been sent east since June.
Old 04-15-2012, 08:51 AM
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Regarding Lend-Lease to Russia-it wasn't just trucks-millions of Russian soldiers went into battle-fed by cans of spam. Russia also received millions of tons of wheat, lots of gasoline, and many other necessities.
Old 04-15-2012, 08:58 AM
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A Question about German Synthetic Fuels

One of Germanys weak links was petroleum-the Reich had only a few sources of crude oil (Rumania, Hungary, a little in Austria and Poland). To supplement this, they had a big synthetic oil program (using hydrogenation of coal-the "Fischer-Tropsch" process).
According to Johnson ("Modern Times") the synthetic fuel was not useable at the low temperatures of the Russian winter-it would separate into two unmixable components, and cause the engines to stop running.
If this cite is true, this would have severely limited the German's ability to make war in Russia-imagine a panzer division unable to move its tanks. As far as I can find, German production of synthetic fuels increased throughout the war-so whatever its bad properties, it was really all they had.
Old 01-23-2015, 10:04 PM
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Manufacturing problems

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Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
For the record, only 1,347 Tigers were built. Compare this to 44,286 Sherman tanks and 57,339 T-34s produced during the war (more of these Allied tanks were produced postwar but are not included in these figures).



Side note -- some innovations of the T-34 design (particularly the excellent off-road-capable suspension and the famous sloped armor) are the work of an American, Walter Christie, whose ideas had been largely ignored in the US.

An interesting line of thought I've been following lately is how many of the war-winning weapons were the product of two or more different nations pooling their creativity:
  • Poland, France, and Britain worked together on breaking Enigma.
  • An American airframe and British engine produced the P-51 Mustang.
  • The T-34 was the result of an American inventor's ideas greatly expanded and adapted through Soviet design principles.
  • The atomic bomb was built by scientists exiled from Germany and Hungary alongside British and American scientists.

I'm sure there are more examples.
t

It took 300,000 man hours to build one Tiger tank. It took only 20,000 man hours to build a B-29 bomber. Mass production won the war.
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