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The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/23/2007 7:08:45 AM   
KG Erwin


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Just for a moment here I'm gonna gloat, so forgive me. We might not have had the best tanks, or arguably even the best infantry, but there's no arguing that in WWII the Americans could overwhelm ANY enemy with the awesome firepower at our disposal. Even without the atomic bomb, which for a short time we had a monopoly on, our strategic bombing capability , our tactical bombing capability, and our artillery was unmatched in effectiveness by any other country in the world.

This is reflected in the OOBs. I sometimes sense a jealousy towards us that exists to this day.

This isn't a reflection towards the bravery of our Allies OR our enemies , it's just that we had the resources to spend on this flood of weapons, AND develop better weapons as the war progressed. The quantum leap in the up-arming of the Marines from 1941 to 1945 is just one example.

I freely admit it. The Americans could, at times, shield themselves behind a virtual wall of high explosives. I take full advantage of this when I play SPWaW. This isn't a value judgement, just a statement of fact. We didn't have to be profligate in expenditure of lives because we were rich enough to buy munitions in plenty, and for that I am thankful.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/24/2007 4:38:35 PM   
Korpraali V


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US firepower was overwhelming, that's true - in general. But if you want to go for massive artillery barrages I think Soviets have their claim on that too.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/25/2007 3:02:10 AM   
Arctic Blast


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I would second that. When the Soviets talked about an artillery barrage, they REALLY meant business.


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/25/2007 6:15:42 AM   
vahauser


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The Germans themselves considered American firepower more lethal than Soviet firepower.  Soviet firepower was massive and slow.  The Germans could in many cases outmaneuver Soviet firepower.  American firepower was faster and more agile and could hit the Germans before the Germans could maneuver.  All the German generals said the same thing after being transferred from the Eastern Front to the Western front.  The Germans quickly learned that they simply could not try to move or fight during the daytime against the Americans unless the weather was awful.  And even in night or bad weather, if the Germans didn't or couldn't move fast enough, then they were still in trouble if the Americans got a fix on their positions.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/26/2007 4:04:04 AM   
Arctic Blast


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Entirely possible, likely even, that the Americans probably did have more effective firepower. I was simply speaking to the sheer scope of Soviet artillery barrages, which were positively enormous in comparison...THOUSANDS of guns bigger.


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/26/2007 4:38:29 AM   
KG Erwin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arctic Blast

Entirely possible, likely even, that the Americans probably did have more effective firepower. I was simply speaking to the sheer scope of Soviet artillery barrages, which were positively enormous in comparison...THOUSANDS of guns bigger.



The stuff that SPWaW DOESN'T cover, like strategic bombing, completes the picture. I watched an episode on the B29 on the Military Channel last night, and it left little doubt that the low-level incendiary bomb attacks on many Japanese cities wrought incredible destruction. This, to me, is Total War on its most horrific level. Germany DID get part of it (Dresden, as an example), but Japan suffered by far the worst of it.

I've said it repeatedly, but the true effect of Allied air domination from late 1944 to the end of the wars against the Axis powers is not fully appreciated or realized.

What we see in the game itself is just a small part of the big picture, so yeah, in that regard, I understand the awesomeness of the Russian obsession with what they called "the god of war", the artillery. For the poor bloody infantry, it was indeed terrifying.

However, it is beyond imagining what these soldiers' families had to endure from the firebombings on Germany and Japan.

< Message edited by KG Erwin -- 4/26/2007 4:39:02 AM >

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/26/2007 1:02:47 PM   
Matti Kuokkanen

 

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quote:

our artillery was unmatched in effectiveness by any other country in the world.

I thought Finland had fastest and most accurate artillery fire control system (or what ever is it called). Cannons weren't biggest or most numerous though, but ALL cannons, mortars and rocket launchers within range could be fired inside ½ squarekilometer area in less than 5 minutes and in such a way that first projectiles land at the same time. Now that cuts some trees

[edit]
To further emphasize accuracy of finnish artillery, soviets didn't manage get tanks across river becouse barges capable of carrying them got blown up by artillery fire. Any and all infantry attempts to get beachhead in finnish side of that river were countered by well coordinated counter attacks supported by artillery and bombers. Thus understrength brigade (or was it regiment...) led by colonel lieutenant Adolf Ehrnrooth stopped force of three divisions!

Korpraali V, do you have further info? Like what river am I talking about

< Message edited by Matti Kuokkanen -- 4/26/2007 1:09:49 PM >


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/26/2007 2:13:11 PM   
Korpraali V


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Finnish artillerymen were trained to fire extremely accurate, as far as their equipments allowed them to. But US artillery reponse time was still notably faster. Not more accurate, but faster.

The battle you are talking about must be happened either in Siiranmäki, Äyräpää or Vuosalmi. I'd go for Vuosalmi. June/July 1944. I could probably check it from somewhere but it goes bit off-topic.

Vahauser: Got any links for that?

Gunny: I agree that when we are talking about whole firepower support (artillery, mortars, bombers, close support aircrafts) US army really had the best possible support. On different areas some others may have been better (however that is defined) but the overall situation was that in all areas US had numbers what to use.


< Message edited by Korpraali V -- 4/26/2007 2:15:04 PM >


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/26/2007 11:43:03 PM   
sami heimola

 

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I think that you mean battle of Äyräpää church hill area? There Red Army not achieved large "breakthrough" to finnish defence lines (if I remember right, Cavalry Brigade defended church hill area, led by col.lt. Ehrnrooth).

In Vuosalmi finnish tried to push russian "bridgehead" (at least 1 division was there and another division was transported by ferries over Vuoksi river) back to other side of Vuoksi. But after hard fighting finnish forces (with great artillery support and Stug battalion but they were not "strong enough" for achieve victory) were forced to withdraw...

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/28/2007 5:40:45 AM   
Korpraali V


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Could be that. Although there was no river in front of Äyräpää, but behind it...

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/28/2007 5:55:46 AM   
KG Erwin


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Guys, do you want me to start another "Finns are cool" thread?

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/28/2007 8:36:28 AM   
Matti Kuokkanen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Matti Kuokkanen

To further emphasize accuracy of finnish artillery, soviets didn't manage get tanks across river becouse barges capable of carrying them got blown up by artillery fire. Any and all infantry attempts to get beachhead in finnish side of that river were countered by well coordinated counter attacks supported by artillery and bombers. Thus understrength brigade (or was it regiment...) led by colonel lieutenant Adolf Ehrnrooth stopped force of three divisions!

I remember info above from TV document Torjuntavoitto which was some 2 or 3 months ago (Korpraali V missed it). Last line of defense was behind river I mentioned and it didn't break up.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 4/28/2007 2:08:45 PM   
Korpraali V


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin

Guys, do you want me to start another "Finns are cool" thread?



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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/16/2007 6:01:01 AM   
chezpaul


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin

The stuff that SPWaW DOESN'T cover, like strategic bombing, completes the picture. I watched an episode on the B29 on the Military Channel last night, and it left little doubt that the low-level incendiary bomb attacks on many Japanese cities wrought incredible destruction. This, to me, is Total War on its most horrific level. Germany DID get part of it (Dresden, as an example), but Japan suffered by far the worst of it....

...However, it is beyond imagining what these soldiers' families had to endure from the firebombings on Germany and Japan.


As I'm sure they mentioned on the Military Channel special you saw. The man we have to thank for such wanton destruction is...

General Curtis LeMay.

Such destruction requires two ingredients; a general willing to commit such acts, and an enemy incapable of yielding.

I believe that we will not see such tactics used by the US again, unless we are to suffer another 'Pearl Harbor'/'911' again. And then, only if it is commited by an entire nation of fanatics, not just a population, hyjacked by a fanatical government. On that dark day perhaps they will blow the dust off of LeMay's notes on the conduct of war.


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/19/2007 11:25:22 PM   
sonoran_fox

 

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""Finnish artillerymen were trained to fire extremely accurate, as far as their equipments allowed them to. But US artillery reponse time was still notably faster. Not more accurate, but faster.""

I would agree with this assessment of accuracy and speed. The US Army picked up on a 1940 British innovation in target plotting, improved on it and then made massive use of light radio production to create a system where a spotter at the front could get response fire enmasse within three minutes. A US artillery guy that gave a lecture I listened to on the subject years back claimed that typical US Army response time in France in 1944 was down to two and half minutes. The British Army using their version of the system routinely achieved three minutes. Now this was massed, roughly accurate fire from a lot of barrels. The result was quite effective, though it employed a lot overkill, since by definition one batteries over or left was another batteries short or right. If you can put a divisionsional artillery (plus some corp level long toms)  complement time on target in less than than 3 minutes it doesn't take highly accurate fire to be devastating. And just minutes later all the barrels involved could be blasting an entirely different section of the divisional front.

According to the artillery lecturer, accurate artillery fire was one very notable area where the armies of WWII were notably deficient to their WWI predecessors. Training artillerymen to the standard needed to fire fast and accurately needs years of practice and live ammo training. Very few armies (certainly not the Germans or British) during the 20's and 30's had the willingness and resources to undertake that level of training.

IIRC, the Finns where one of the few exceptions noted to the typical trend. The Czechs and Swiss were possible other exceptions.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/19/2007 11:50:12 PM   
KG Erwin


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Thanks for the info, sonoran fox. It's not just the US artillery, but our tactical airpower, which is very abstracted in SPWaW. I seem to recall that in the Western Campaign in 1944-45 it got to the point that German forces could barely risk making any significant redeployments during daytime.

Also, considering that a turn in SPWaW lasts approx 3-5 minutes, comparing your figure of 2.5 minutes for response time to the 1 to 1.4 turn delay for US off-board fire missions may be too SLOW.

However, the on-board response of US light/medium mortars, which can be just a matter of seconds (0.1 to 0.4 turn) , is appropriate then.

< Message edited by KG Erwin -- 5/19/2007 11:55:35 PM >


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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/20/2007 1:03:20 AM   
sonoran_fox

 

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KG Erwin - Steel Panthers has the tough job of trying to capture capabilities across the world, hardly surprising that it the system has problems being 100% realistic. Frankly the game probably has most countries firing too quickly (the 1938/39 standard most European armies ASPIRED to was 11 minutes). That would be, what 2.2 to 2.4 turns? At best. An awful lot of artillerymen could not do that in 1939 and 1940.

However in Steel Panthers you can usually fire faster than that.

Another point to remember is that the units in France had months of daily fire practice under their belts, and certainly had honed their skills far higher than other units. Pacific theatre outfits in particular would be engaged in a much more sporadic manner.

As for airpower, if the USMC in 1944/45 happened to have tac air loitering overhead they got extremely fast response times. The Army Air Corp was next in terms of fast response and then the British. This was a post 1943 innovation as well though, a combination of better radios and field experience by the frontline units engaged in combat.

For everyone else, tactical air response in terms of minutes did not happen. Air missions were planned before takeoff, with a slow evolution toward more fluid air responses. However, due to the limitations of radio technology in non-US/British aircraft and the never ending problem of avoiding friendly fire events, what we take for granted as late-war capabilities should be limited to US/British trained and equipped air forces.

Steel Panthers almost certainly makes tactical air power, particularly pre-1943 airpower, much too flexible.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/29/2007 12:13:49 PM   
Hussar

 

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Could the American advantage in firepower be more down to better tactical communications or supply chains? What I mean to ask here is, were U.S formations actually heavier in Arty tubes than say German or even other allied? Or, is this simply a logistics advantage? i.e more / better ammo supply? I know that there are recorded instances of British Arty units having rounds rationed due to poor supply and this would certainly apply to German units later on in the war. I suspect that almost any army in WW2 ,given optimum supply and comms conditions could match the later U.S extravagance in arty rounds and C.A.S. This is not meant as an anti-US flame (although I have in the past been incorrectly accused of having a nasty bias against America(ns). Incidentally, was the British preparatory barrage at El-Alamein not supposed to have been the heaviest bombardment since the Somme in 1916?

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/29/2007 2:23:37 PM   
264rifle

 

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I think there is something in what you are saying. In an Ospery book on the Polish Campaign the author gives the number of gun tubes per average infantry division for both the Polish and Germans and also the the number of tons of ammo. Germans had about double the tonnage in ammunition. This would change of course as the war went on. Americans probably had the most ammo most of the time. From the little I have read about the Eastern front I get the impression that the Soviet artillery, even later in the war, while massive wasn't particulary flexiable. Great at pre-planned bombardments but not good at shifting fire to new targets or being used for 'on call' targets of opertunity. You not only need plentiful ammo and radios but a command structure that allows this type of fire. Late war British forward observers were trained to give corrections to the gun battery in sight settings (?) rather than telling them how much they missed by and letting battery staff work out new sight settings based on range to target and passing new settings on to the the guns. In the begining of WW I the battery commander went "forward" to observe and "fight" his guns leaviing his #2 to command the actual firing. Later the battery commander stayed with the guns and some 2nd leutenant went forward with the wire to observe but the battery commander still made the dicisions based on the FO's information. American and British practice later in WW II put much more authority in the FO's hands. I don't know about other armies.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/29/2007 2:48:21 PM   
Hussar

 

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Good points. I wonder if Irwin is talking here about "final defensive fire"? I freely admit it. The Americans could, at times, shield themselves behind a virtual wall of high explosives. Certainly the US forces in late WW2, Korea and Vietnam seemed to be very good at using Arty as a shield. But for combined Arty / CAS perhaps the masters would be the 1939/40 German Blitzkrieg forces that romped through Holland, Belgium and France? Going on a bit about Tactical Comms, then obviously the standard of available maps and the ability to give accurate grid references for targets, or the ability to call down fast accurate DF on pre-planned targets must be a deciding factor. Not sure who perfected the "Taxi rank" CAS concept, but while the allies benefited from it in 44 and 45, I'm sure that the Germans had a similar system for their "Flying artillery" (JU87/88). The Strategic bombing campaign by the RAF and the USAAF is an altogether different topic and again the devastation caused by carpet bombing cities was trialled and perfected by the Germans in Spain even before WW2. I admit I am playing Devils Advocate here but I'm really not sure that the one side or the other can claim to be better than the other in this topic.

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RE: The Firepower Kings: The Americans - 5/29/2007 8:18:50 PM   
Matti Kuokkanen

 

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quote:

Could the American advantage in firepower be more down to better tactical communications or supply chains? What I mean to ask here is, were U.S formations actually heavier in Arty tubes than say German or even other allied? Or, is this simply a logistics advantage? i.e more / better ammo supply?

Coordination, accuracy and short delay CAN be better than larger number of bigger cannons, proves Finnish Defense Force against Red Army

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