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Best weapon systems of WWII

 
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Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/12/2006 7:56:09 PM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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Just for kicks, I´d like to see what all you forumites think were the weapon systems that just plain kicked ass in WWII. I´ve seperated them into 5 categories. Think of this as the Oscars of WWII warfare The judging criteria are effectiveness, longevity, ubiquiety and amount of fear they put into the opposition.

Best Artillery piece: This one was easy. The German 88mm gun, although nominally designed as an AA gun was also one of the most effective tank killers of the war, and could also be used for direct and indirect anti-personell use. SPWaW gamers know full well that you can never have too many 88´s!

Best Sidearm: The Colt .45 M1911. This one´s a no-brainer. The Colt M1911 and it´s later deriviaties may very well represent the pinnacle of handgun design and the longest-lived weapon system in military history. I´ve fired one of these babies and it not only has excellent stopping power but it´s exquisitely balanced weight makes it almost "idiot-proof" - with no prior handgun training besides firing one clip out of the same gun I was able to empty the clip as fast as I could pull the trigger and still land every single round onto a torso-sized target at 20 feet. I couldn´t do that with any other handgun that I tried, including much more expensive Berettas and Sig Sauers.

Best Tank:
T-34. Do I really need to justify this . All the German models that on paper superseded this bad boy were plagued by engineering problems and only available in small quantities.

Best infantry support weapon: The MG-42. A monster of a machinegun whose clones are still in use today in many hotspots around the world.

Best all-round aircraft: I´m torn between the British Spitfire and the P-47 Thunderbolt. The Spitfire, along with the radar system won the Battle of Britain but the P-47 was IMO more of a threat to german tanks than allied tanks ever were! Maybe I can solve my dillemna by having two categories: best interceptor and best ground support plane(although the Sturmovik also has a special place in my heart: it´s the closest we´ve ever seen an actual flying tank!)

So, bring it on and tell me how wrong I am!
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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/12/2006 10:24:08 PM   
azraelck

 

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Best Artillery piece:
I actually agree. The 88 was a killer; effective against damn near everything possible.

Best Sidearm:
Again, I agree; though in comparing the 9mm Luger against the colt, It'll be a difference in accuracy and range vs stopping power. Both are sidearms, however, so don't expect much of either. The 9mm is a higher-velocity round, with a flatter trajectory; whereas the .45ACP was a low-velocity, high weight round. I have no experiences with the TT-33 or Webley, or any of the minor players' side arms, so I can't really compare them.

Best Tank:
T34/85 was the best tank. It was reliable, reasonably well armored (it's still a medium tank), and had a powerful gun. T34 in whole was not, as the older model T34 were much poorer tanks, and at the time they were fighting they would not match up to a Panzer IV.

Best Infantry Support Weapon:
The Browning MMG. Variants are still in use by the US Military; which have very little differences to the WWII guns. The .50 BMG used today is effectively the same MG.

Best all-round aircraft:
P51 Mustang. Don't ask me why; I'm not much into aircraft.

Best Infantry Rifle:
M1 Garand. Obvious reason is that it was reliable, accurate, powerful, and when the US entered the war it was the only Semi-auto in service. And I seriously doubt that the en bloc clip ejecting would have made that much noise compared to the machine gun, rifle, and cannon fire in actual combat situations.

Best Squad Support Weapon:
Browning Automatic Rifle. Only disadvantage was it's 20 round clip. As accurate as a rifle, and capable of providing excellent suppressing fire against entrenched positions.

(in reply to Einar Fridgeirs)
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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/12/2006 10:32:09 PM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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Thanks for the input! I actually had the T34/85 in mind, so we are in agreement there as well....

As for the BAR, good call,

Anyone wanting to nominate other categories feel free to chime in!


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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/12/2006 11:30:27 PM   
FNG


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As above, with the exception of Squad Support Weapon; I'd have to go for the Bren. It's what I played with as a cadet and is a scarily accurate piece of kit. 32 round mag is a disadvantage, but IMHO the accuracy makes up for it... a real killer. I have a de-ac 1944 Inglis (Canadian) Bren... I love it so

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 12:32:47 AM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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A real one? Or a replica?

I´d love to test fire a Bren...are there any shooting ranges in the UK where one can try WWII ear guns under supervision?


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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 2:08:18 AM   
KG Erwin


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Best Machine Gun, by far: the American 50 cal "Ma Deuce". Still in service today. A beautiful piece of vehicle-mounted weaponry.

As for the BAR, I strongly agree. Its successor, the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), is a modernized version.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 2:50:15 AM   
Dragoon 45


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On the question of artillery pieces, I would have to rate the M-2 105mm howitzer as better. The FLAK and PAK series of 8.8cm guns were without a question excellent anti-tank guns and very reasonable anti-aircraft weapons. But their use as indirect fire weapons is questionable. Yes they were used in that capability, but to the average soldier in World War II, every artillery round that impacted in their general vicinity was an 88. While this happened occasionally, by far more 10.5cm and 15cm rounds were fired as artillery than 88's. Also the 88 HE round itself did not have that big of a bursting charge. A high velocity round has a much thicker shell casing which decreases the HE load in the round than that of a lower velocity howitzer round with a much thinner shell casing and much larger HE charge compared to the round of similiar size.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 3:01:58 AM   
264rifle

 

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Gentlemen:
The only reason the BAR survived so long in US service was that we DID HAVE the M-1 rifle. See also that abject failure of a LMG the M1919A6 Browning. The BAR was neither fish nor fowl. In "official" rates of fire that could be delivered without wrecking the gun (ignored in real crisis conditions, at least until gun crapped) the BAR was good for just under 4 magazines per minute. The BREN was good for four Mags a minute also. Four 20 round mags vrs four 28 (usual service loading, reduced jams) mags. Why did later US squads go to 2or 3 BAR's per squad? Maybe to get the rate of fire of ONE real LMG. The BAR was a solid, reliable weapon (unlike some other countries LMGs) but it was not designed as a light machinegun. Hanging a bipod on an automatic rifle doesn't make it a LMG.

The Colt .45 is the top handgun. Flat trajectory has very little to do with a combat handgun. What is wanted is adequite power and reliablity. IF you are fighting at pistol ranges and you are using a pistol it is because your primary weapon is unavailable ( jammed, broken, leaning against a tree or won't shoot this close). What is wanted first is a pistol that WILL GO BANG every time the trigger is pulled. Second is the power to stop the attacker. Just about everything else comes in 3rd or lower.

The M-1 was best rifle not only for being semi-auto but for reliability and just about the best set of sights on a WWII rifle (for those few troops who actually used the sights). Apature rear sight, just look through rear sight and place front post on target.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 7:18:09 AM   
Korpraali V


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Artillery piece: Stalin's organ. Inaccurate, but very big psychological effect. Feared and well known all over the eastern front. And the damage...

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 7:32:27 AM   
Afrika Korps


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The first thing that comes to mind is the Airman, Marine, Sailer or Soldier...

...but if I have to pick a non-sentient only...I pick the Panzerfaust for infantry support weapon...this one weapon, with the shaped charge, basically changed the face of armored warfare (before it ever had the chance to reign supreme). Now, a man could defeat a tank at range...the impact of the development of the panzerfaust is still rippling today...

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 8:35:00 AM   
Goblin


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Pistol - Colt 1911

Rifle - Stg44 - First assault rifle. Also like to give a nod to the Soviet SVT40, and the German G43. Both could be reloaded easily in mid-clip, unlike the Garand. The Lee Enfield was a fine weapon too.

Support weapon - MG34. Reliable, steady weapon, used continuously and in every role imaginable. I would give a nod to the Bren also, even with its top load clip which blocked LOS. Also must acknowledge the bazooka as a support weapon.

Machinegun - M2 .50 calibre.

Tank - Including production and reliability, I would have to say T34. Sheer combat ability, a nod to the Panther.

Artillery - The 88, with a nod to the 105mm.

Aircraft - So many performed different functions, this could have 10 sub-categories. I would have to say the P47 or P51.



Goblin







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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 10:32:19 AM   
soldier

 

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Aircraft - I vote for the Focke Wulf fw 190
It was faster, lighter, more powerful and provided a very small target to hit while being substantially more heavily armed itself. It was more agile and had superior roll rate and handling over other allied aircraft of the time (41), particularly the excellent spitfire V. It featured stable wide track landing gear and a canopy with better all round view than its contemporaries. Its Sturdy frame enabled easy upgrades without much structural change and allowed it to keep ahead of the competition for many years while it giving it the ability to perform a wide variety of combat roles that the luftwaffe so desperatley needed.
Fortunatley for the allies the Luftwaffe's doctrinal outlook, production planning and 3 front war demands were so badly organised that it was never able to achieve anything other than temporary dominance over its adversaries and never supplanted the messerschmidt (itself a fair design) as Germanys main fighter.

Tank- the T34 (excellent design to work with, initially crude but still very effective)

Don't no nothing about little bang bangs sorry, I'll leave best gun up to the experts here

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 10:44:52 AM   
soldier

 

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Heres something funny

October 1943
When an overenthusiastic American manufacturer printed an advertisement that displayed an FW-190 to mock it with the caption: "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wulf?" -- they got a copy of the ad sent back to them in the mail along with a letter signed by everyone in a bomber unit that said: "We are."

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 10:48:09 AM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: soldier

Heres something funny

October 1943
When an overenthusiastic American manufacturer printed an advertisement that displayed an FW-190 to mock it with the caption: "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wulf?" -- they got a copy of the ad sent back to them in the mail along with a letter signed by everyone in a bomber unit that said: "We are."



LOL!!! So true

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 1:48:29 PM   
264rifle

 

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The .50 cal Browning was only a great machine gun if you did not have to carry it on foot. Or carry the ammo (weighs about 4 times what a .30 cal does per round). Or needed to fire more than short bursts with long pauses between bursts.

Of course if you want to shoot through walls, wreck motor vehicles, destroy airplanes and such there is no other.

Bren might get the nod over the MG34 because of reliability and accuracy.

Anybody have any numbers on the reliabilty of the T-34

With aircraft you kind of have say what job it did. Other wise tou are trying to compare single seat racecars to dump trucks.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/13/2006 3:19:28 PM   
FNG


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Einar Fridgeirs

A real one? Or a replica?

I´d love to test fire a Bren...are there any shooting ranges in the UK where one can try WWII ear guns under supervision?




I have a de-activated 1944 Canadian manufactured (Inglis) Bren. As for firing one, I have only done that at military ranges when I was an army cadet in the 80s.







Attachment (1)

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 5:16:42 AM   
Stonewall2036

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 264rifle

Anybody have any numbers on the reliabilty of the T-34



I think the Germans killed well over 20,000 of them.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 5:20:52 AM   
264rifle

 

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I was thinking about time between overhauls on engines, life of tracks, life of main and steering clutches. Early ones sometimes went into battle with spare transmission tied onto engine deck which prevented turret from traversing 360 degrees.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 8:07:25 AM   
Dragoon 45


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Standard piece of equipment for a T-34 driver was a small sledge hammer used to knock the transmission into gear on the earlier models. I doubt there is much out there on the overall reliability of the T-34. In the Soviet scheme of things that would have been highly classified information and under the new Russian system, unless some very sharp historian saved it, was probably destroyed when the former Soviet classified archives were opened up to the public. My understanding is that a lot of documents that would have shed a very poor light on the Soviet Military were destroyed before the archives were opened up.

quote:

ORIGINAL: 264rifle

I was thinking about time between overhauls on engines, life of tracks, life of main and steering clutches. Early ones sometimes went into battle with spare transmission tied onto engine deck which prevented turret from traversing 360 degrees.



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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 8:11:22 AM   
soldier

 

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quote:

I think the Germans killed well over 20,000 of them.


Thanks to Russian tactics (or should i say lack of them) and an attitude that men and equipment were more expendable in their own army than in those of the other combatant nations. Still a good tank just mishandled somewhat against the weremacht.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 12:27:24 PM   
Korpraali V


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dragoon 45

Standard piece of equipment for a T-34 driver was a small sledge hammer used to knock the transmission into gear on the earlier models. I doubt there is much out there on the overall reliability of the T-34.


And quess what still comes with every Soviet/Russian weapon (for example AT-missile) as a basic tool.


Yes!



A small sledgehammer!

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 12:34:40 PM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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Sledgehammers? Is this for real?

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 1:10:25 PM   
Dragoon 45


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Einar, The original transmission as has been noted by others in the T-34 was not very reliable. As someone else stated in the early days of the war, T-34's went into battle with spare transmissions tied down on the engine deck. In these original transmissions a driver had to have considerable body strength to actually push the gear shift level into gear. It was found out by some of the drivers that you could hit the gear shift lever with a small sledge hammer and force them into gear that way. As word of this field expedient method of getting the tank into gear spread, official notice was taken and all the tank drivers were issued a small sledge hammer for this purpose.

Soviet and Russian tanks have had a reputation, deservedly so in my opinion, for rather crude manufacturing and quality control. Soviet autoloaders in some of their tanks were known for loading the arm of the gunner into the breach resulting in a one-armed gunner with appropriate blood and gore splattered around the inside of the turret. The Stalin tanks especially the JS-4 series had a very bad reputation for the hull of the tank to break in half. This same tank also was plagued with the bow plates of the hull falling off if hit on a weld seam. These were all weaknesses that were beaten into our heads by US Army instructors when dealing with Soviet tanks. The rear door of the BMP-1 APC is the vehicle's fuel tank. In all Soviet era tanks little provision was made for the survival of the crew when the armor was breached by a projectile. The overall theme of Soviet tank design was quantity over quality and a lot of Soviet tank crews paid with their lives over this premise.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Einar Fridgeirs

Sledgehammers? Is this for real?



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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 1:35:56 PM   
264rifle

 

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I read somewhere that the Soviets expected 30-40% of their T-54s to be out of action in 4 days with blown or burned out main and steering clutches if they attacked the west in the late 50's,early 60's. That is one reason why they had so many tanks (little known in the west at the time) They were compensating for the unreliabilty with numbers.

I dislike trying to evaluate WWII weapons by using modern weapons as a reference but it soes make one wonder at times

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 1:41:25 PM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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Quantity over quality has always been a Soviet maxim, and why not? It won them WWII, and they would have won even without the allies eventually. It was a doctrine that worked.


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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 1:59:58 PM   
264rifle

 

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Not saying that it did not work or that the soviets were wrong given what they had to work with.

Many "commentators " of the 50-60's complained that American tanks with their automatic transmissions were to costly and complex compared to the Russian tanks. What was not widely known at the time was this "clutch" problem. Russian tanks were also praised for their low silhouette, over looking the fact that this was achieved by severly limiting gun depression which then limited their ability to fire from reverse slopes.

Sometimes to get a true picture of what a weapon was really worth we have to dig a little deeper than just reading a few numbers out of a table.

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/14/2006 4:10:07 PM   
Einar Fridgeirs

 

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I totally agree 264 rigle. All I´m saying is that many people may catch the vibe that the only reason Russian tanks were the way they were was because they were so awful at building quality tanks they had no other option than to resort to quantity over quality....while my theory is that it was done intentionally in the post-war era based on a specific military doctrine - not due to a technologically inferior industry per se, although that was also a factor I guess..

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/15/2006 12:31:15 AM   
Dragoon 45


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The Soviets could build excellent equipment when they wanted to, their aircraft industry is a good example. Also the Soviets had a reputation for building very good light weight artillery pieces and mortars. In the case of the T-34 I believe that if the tank had been introduced a couple of years later than it had, it would not have near the reputation it has today. When it was introduced it was a good tank, but it was obsolete within 2 years of its introduction and was outclassed by the newer models of the Pz Mk-VI by late 42. But once again there were so many of them on the battlefield, they had a quality given to them by sheer quanity.

In regards to the quantity over quality doctrine that the Soviets used in WW II, it is not well known in the west, but the Soviets had reached a manpower crises by late 1944. They had literally called up all their available military age males by this point of the war. Stalin in early 45 warned his commanders about this manpower crunch and cautioned them to keep casualities as low as possible in the final months of the war. Their strategy worked long enough for them to win their part of the war, but if the war had continued for another year or two, things might have turned out different.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Einar Fridgeirs

I totally agree 264 rigle. All I´m saying is that many people may catch the vibe that the only reason Russian tanks were the way they were was because they were so awful at building quality tanks they had no other option than to resort to quantity over quality....while my theory is that it was done intentionally in the post-war era based on a specific military doctrine - not due to a technologically inferior industry per se, although that was also a factor I guess..




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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 2/20/2006 1:19:44 AM   
264rifle

 

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Interesting book on this subject:

Arms of Destruction------Ranking the world's best land weapons of WWII.

By Robert A. Slayton from Kensington books.

Unpaid advertisement

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RE: Best weapon systems of WWII - 3/1/2006 3:28:41 AM   
OKW-73

 

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Must agree with that T-34 definately. Cheap to build, wide tracks made easy in snow and swamp, where german tanks had a lot more troubles. Easy to fix in front when compared german tanks, that did need to be send back to factory in many cases what i've read...

Someone pointed that germans did destroy 20k of em, doesnt mean much if you compare numbers they were build and numbers german build/lose their tanks, also im pretty sure without T-34 history could be a lot different...

Did read Anthony Beevors Stalingrad not a long ago and it sure had some nice info about T-34's, like in Stalingrad they did drive into battle directly from factory, before gun sights were installed, gunner did aim thru gun.

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