Author Topic: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?  (Read 3975 times)

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Offline WallysWorld

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Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« on: July 14, 2013, 04:28:50 PM »
Someone on the Google Wargames BB (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical) posted this 2006 article from HistoryNet.

I found it interesting to read as the author used evidence to rebut that Kursk wasn't the huge defeat that some other authors have claimed.


`As a result, one of the best known of all Eastern Front battles has never been understood properly. Prochorovka was believed to have been a significant German defeat but was actually a stunning reversal for the Soviets because they suffered enormous tank losses.`

http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-kursk-germanys-lost-victory-in-world-war-ii.htm
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Offline bob48

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 04:34:09 PM »
That's a very interesting viewpoint, certainly gives food for thought.
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Offline GDS_Starfury

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 04:49:26 PM »
That battle pretty much broke the back of the southern fronts tank force.  Another day or two and the panzers would have been running amok in soviet rear areas.
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Offline Keunert

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 02:37:06 PM »
Manstein in his memoirs called it a huge mistake. the operation was much in contrast to all Blitzkrieg principles: the soviets got plenty of time to prepare and dug in, the operation was a pretty obvious move and there was no element of surprise.
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Offline bob48

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:29:56 PM »
One of the questions is if Hitler had not insisted on waiting for the brigade of Panthers to be ready. The battle would have started several weeks earlier and given the Russians less time to prepare, plus, because the Panthers had not been proven in action, they had little impact on the battle.
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Offline pawelj

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 03:47:09 PM »
Someone on the Google Wargames BB (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical) posted this 2006 article from HistoryNet.

I found it interesting to read as the author used evidence to rebut that Kursk wasn't the huge defeat that some other authors have claimed.


`As a result, one of the best known of all Eastern Front battles has never been understood properly. Prochorovka was believed to have been a significant German defeat but was actually a stunning reversal for the Soviets because they suffered enormous tank losses.`

http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-kursk-germanys-lost-victory-in-world-war-ii.htm
Absolutely. If the Allies landed a week later in Sicily, the Kursk offensive would have lasted longer, with who knows what results.
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Offline GDS_Starfury

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 05:13:37 PM »
One of the questions is if Hitler had not insisted on waiting for the brigade of Panthers to be ready. The battle would have started several weeks earlier and given the Russians less time to prepare, plus, because the Panthers had not been proven in action, they had little impact on the battle.

bit of Kursk trivia...  the commander of the Panther brigade got sick the day before the ballon went up and he was replaced with an officer that had no armor experience at all.  that genius then proceeded to run his Panthers across minefields with no infantry support.  :o  not that 150+ Panthers would have had any effect on things....  ::)
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Banzai Cat - There is no "partial credit" in grammar. Like anal sex. It's either in, or it's not.

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Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 06:44:48 PM »
Those early Panthers were the Ausf D with the glass drive train. IIRC, two days after the battle started over 75% of them were out of commission.

The (later) Panther Ausf A's and G's were the beasts that out-tigered even the Tiger Tanks during the last 1-2 years of WW2.
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Offline GDS_Starfury

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 07:09:19 PM »
ya.. 75% were out of action due more to command idiocy then Soviet fire.
Gus - I use sweatpants with flannel shorts to soak up my crotch sweat.

Banzai Cat - There is no "partial credit" in grammar. Like anal sex. It's either in, or it's not.

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Offline bob48

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 05:21:11 AM »
Those early Panthers were the Ausf D with the glass drive train. IIRC, two days after the battle started over 75% of them were out of commission.

The (later) Panther Ausf A's and G's were the beasts that out-tigered even the Tiger Tanks during the last 1-2 years of WW2.

The Auf.G Panther really was the business. Also the Auf.D did not have the 'chin mantlet' and there proved to be a shot-trap between the turret and the hull.

Strange that the models were D,A then G. Also, since the Tiger was first into production, why was it not Pz V instead of VI?

One interesting aspect that I remember reading is that if Panthers had been produced intead of Tiger I and II's, a great many more would have been produced (in proportion to the number of Tigers produced). Since there were not really a great number of Tigers acually produced, the larger number of Panther could have had a greater impact. Only speculation perhaps, but interesting nevertheless.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 05:54:26 AM by bob48 »
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Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2013, 05:34:29 AM »

The Auf.G Panther really was the busness. Also the Auf.D did not have the 'chin mantlet' and there proved to be a shot-trap between the turret and the hull.
The Panther's long 75mm cannon actually had better penetrating power than the short 88 on the Tiger I due to the former's higher muzzle velocity. The 88 shell carried more explosive though.
Quote

Strange that the models were D,A then G. Also, since the Tiger was first into production, why was it not Pz V instead of VI?

One interesting aspect that I remember reading is that if Panthers had been produced intead of Tiger I and II's, a great many more would have been produced (in proportion to the number of Tigers produced). Since there were not really a great number of Tigers acually produced, the larger number of Panther could have had a greater impact. Only speculation perhaps, but interesting nevertheless.

The Panther II was almost in production near war's end. The Germans had started that project early on as soon as the first Panthers started deploying.
The II had better armor and used a much smaller, round mantlet that eliminated the shot trap almost entirely. It would have been a real beast and much better than wasting production on Tiger Is and IIs.
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Offline bob48

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 05:58:22 AM »
Having said all that, the physiological impact that the relatively small number of Tigers had (especially on the Western Front) was out of proportion to the number of vehicles actually employed, where any tank spotted became a 'Tiger' to Allied troops.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 08:40:39 AM »
One interesting aspect that I remember reading is that if Panthers had been produced intead of Tiger I and II's, a great many more would have been produced (in proportion to the number of Tigers produced). Since there were not really a great number of Tigers acually produced, the larger number of Panther could have had a greater impact. Only speculation perhaps, but interesting nevertheless.

Speculation, but relevant speculation.

Germany made a number of mistakes that made it more difficult for them to win, but one of their more significant ones was their obsession with changing production. The Panzer III got to what? Model J? Then they made the Pz IV, then the Pz VI, then the Pz V. All of which were over-engineered, none of which shared many common components.

When the Allies' strategic bombing campaign started to bite having too many production facilities making too many specialized parts was a recipe for disaster. Production and logistics ain't sexy, but they make a big difference when fighting wars.

A neat little story by Arthur C. Clarke which manages to tell the tale: http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html

Offline bob48

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 09:10:41 AM »
Very relevent. I do not remember ever reading that before.

With the exception of a few SPG types, such as the Wespe / Hummel, the Germans would have been far better off switching all tank production to the Panther and Jagd panther. Even older models, such as Pz III / IV would have been better converted to SP types, such as StuGs / Hummels / Nashorns.

I cannot remember reading any accounts of vehicles such as the Sturm Tiger (of which there were only about 14 produced from damaged vehicles) or the SturmPz IV having any impact on any battle. Even the JpPz IV was recorded as being a very awkward vehicle to maneuver due to its being 'nose-heavy' because of the overhang of the 75mm L70 gun (as fitted to the Panther).

Both the Luch (Lynx) and Puma were excellent recon vehicles, and if the same logic that produced the sdkfz 234 series had been applied to the Panther, then maybe the Allies would have had a much more difficult time of it.

Neither the M4 or the T34 were the greatest tanks in the world, but they were produced in mass, and were relatively cheap to produce. If the Allies had been able to provide a greater number of Sherman Fireflies and 76.2mm armed vehicles, one can imagine that tank warefare in NW Europe would been much tougher for the Germans and given Allied tank crews more confidence and a greater chance of survivability.

Consider the effect of the T34/85, SU85 / SU100 had on the Eastern front. A basic design that could be adapted to provided multiple variants, with an effective weapon and that could be produced in large numbers.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Kursk: Germany's lost victory?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 10:06:34 AM »
I cannot remember reading any accounts of vehicles such as the Sturm Tiger (of which there were only about 14 produced from damaged vehicles) or the SturmPz IV having any impact on any battle. Even the JpPz IV was recorded as being a very awkward vehicle to maneuver due to its being 'nose-heavy' because of the overhang of the 75mm L70 gun (as fitted to the Panther).

I read Otto Carius' memiors a couple of years back. Late in the war he was given some kind of tank destroyer. I never quite figured out if it was a JdPz IV or a Jagdpanther. He claimed the sighting device was so fragile that the tank had to be driven with the gun locked down until just immediately before engagement. Problem was, to unlock the gun, someone had to jump out of the tank move to the front of the vehicle, and take down the locking bar.

Whoops.

Needless to say, he wasn't a big fan of that idea.