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Employment and Organisation of IGs

 
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Employment and Organisation of IGs - 8/30/2009 3:17:38 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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I am not sure whether the employment and organisation of IGs (at least in COTA) has been rendered correctly. In the "Materialschlacht" thread, covering fuel supplies during the offensive in the Ardennes, I outlined how Wehrmacht units organized supplies and maintenance of depots (for the several levels, i.e. Army, Division, etc.) - gathered from German sources.
While I knew that the reorganization of base units won't make it into BFTB, I'd like to add and discuss another topic, in particular the employment and capabilities of IGs for the next game after BFTB.

Capabilities:

1) The 150mm "schwere IG 33" infantry gun received a special over-calibre demolition round in 1942 that was able to destroy structures or minefields, plus the gun was capable to fire the hollow-charge AT round "Granate 39" (Pz.Gr. 39?). That round had been introduced later on (1943?), and was able to go through 160mm of armour.

2) The 75mm "leichte IG 18" gun received hollow-charge AT rounds (1941/1942, over-calibre?) which were able to penetrate up to 86 mm of armor IIRC, these guns turned out to be the life-savers in North-Africa quite some times, if they faced British tanks (other than Matildas), when PaK 40 or Flak wasn't available, it couldn't crack T-34s though, due to their front armour's slope and thickness.

Currently (COTA) these IGs have no AT capabilities.

Employment of IGs:

One of the sIG 33's purpose was to deliver heavy fire support on a regimental level / under direct control of the regt. commander, in order not to depend on the divisional arty Regt for each and every heavy arty support-request. But the main purpose, according to one manual ("Die Infanterie-Geschütz Kompanie", 1941), was to deliver devastating fire on particularly important targets (eg. strongpoints), where area fire from howitzer units would have been either too inaccurate or unavailable. The manual emphasizes the morale boost gained when they support friendly line units, creating a "stimulus to storm" the enemy strongpoint. In some situations sIG 33 were brought forward for direct fire, but the manual stressed that bombardments were supposed to be limited ( temporally and locally), due to the small amount of 150mm rounds carried with the guns.

K. W . Uebe, "Das verstärkte Bataillon" ("The reinforced battalion"), page 18:

quote:


"The standing of the weapons [infantry guns]:

The IG Company is the Schwerpunkt weapon of the regimental commander."


Greiner/Degener, "Tactics in the line of the reinforced infantry battalion", page 33.
This is my own rough translation:
quote:


"The leIG (18) platoon is the most important high-angle ballistic gun at the Bn commander's disposal. The leIG platoon supplements the fire provided by the MG Coy. It is in particular effective at locations where sMGs, because of their rather flat trajectory, and medium/heavy mortars, due to the target being out of reach, can't fire. Therefor, a favourable deployment of the platoon will be behind covers (eg. in a hollow, a gravel-pit). Bombardment missions on small towns, edges of woods, and houses are also worthwile due to the impact on morale, which is, empirically, caused by the explosions of the shells. LeIGs brought to the front rank can be set up quickly and can quickly overcome weak resistance."

In indirect fire mode, the 75mm leIG 18 delivered a relatively high accuracy compared to the spread of medium and heavy mortars, partially due to the fact that the platoons used to have radio contact to a dedicated forward observer and to the subunit (line company or platoon) it was supposed to support.
IIRC, BFTB's AI has been changed already, so that bombardment units (eg. mortar coys or inf gun units) stay behind - instead of moving right up to the enemy on higher aggro levels, right? IGs usually fired from concealed positions, or at least outside of the effective fire range of the enemy - not necessarily from the front line rank.

According to Greiner, Tactical Textbook for Officers from 1941 (a training manual):
quote:


Weapon Setup times:

  • light Mortar (50mm) : 2 Minutes
  • heavy Mortar (81mm) : 5 minutes
  • le IG 18 (l.Inf Gun): 30 minutes when deploying the platoon as a whole
  • s.IG (hvy Inf Gun): 45 minutes (platoon)
  • leFH (light Field Gun): 45 minutes for a battery

Single IG guns, especially if brought forward for direct fire may have been set up faster, most likely.

Strength:

In COTA, Schützen-Regiment 2's 11th Infantry Gun Company (mot.) - for example - has 2 sIG 33 guns and 4 leIG guns listed in the estabs. The 1941 KStN may have had this setup, I didn't check that yet.

Whatsoever, the KStN from 1944 lists 2 sIG 33 in an additional 4th (which I would call hvy) platoon and 2 leIG 18 for each of the 3 other platoons (1st - 3rd) of a motorized Inf Gun Coy "neuer Art".

Also, it seems like there was a tendency to substitute 12cm mortars for the leIG 18 guns, as the production of Inf guns was a resource- and cost-intensive process. Production of mortars was faster, too. Last but not least the 12cm mortars had a max range of 6000 meters, while leIGs had a range of 3550 meters and sIGs a range of 4650 meters.

    Factory output:
  • le.I.G. 18
    1943: 1965
    1944: 2309

  • s.I.G. 33:
    1943: 862
    1944: 1613

  • 12-cm mortars:
    1943: 3.367
    1944: 4.557

Quite confusing, the 1944 KStN indicated that the actual (IST) setup of horse-drawn Inf Gun Coys was as follows:
1. platoon with four 12-cm mortars, 2. platoon w/ four 12-cm mortars, and a 3rd platoon with 4 leIG 18 guns. It seems that the light guns had been kept to keep a level of direct fire capability. I haven't checked the KStN of armoured units yet.

ORBAT:

According to what I've read, the Regt. commander mostly passed the leIG 18 platoons to the Bn commanders, who then attached single 75mm leIG platoons to single Infantry Coys in order to conduct preliminary bombardments or the destruction of particular targets (eg. MG gun nests), with both - gun platoon and Inf Coy - interconnecting and agreeing on target/time/duration with minimal or no supervision, mostly. It seems like sIG.33 platoons often remained under regt. command in order to have bombardment units at their disposal to carry out missions independently from the divisional arty regt., and because they were less mobile, they could hardly be manhandled and it took quite some time to set them up. There is some rare footage where you can see sIG 33 guns set up in the open, basically firing (direct fire) from paved streets or generally from unconcealed positions in the open, in France 1940 and Russia 1941, though.

---
Although slighty off-topic, but it's another topic dealing with range, AT capabilty and setup time, so I don't want to open another thread for this:
The 88mm Flak can be used for direct-fire missions and has an amazing AT capability, there are accounts of tank kills at distances of up to a bit less than 2000 meters (some claim 2200) in North Africa. Also, I've seen pictures of refurbished Flaks - showing how the carriage can be easily divided into 2 pieces, leaving the gun as a static installation, and ppl/owners say that trained crews could dismount them and get them ready to fire (in its static position) within less than a minute, mounting them again would take roughly 1 minute.

Currently, 88mm Flak guns have (very) limited ranges and it takes a long time until they are deployed.
---

@Dave: So, I'm curious, what's your take on these details, are some of the capabilities/details present in BFTB, and/or will they be considered for the next game?

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 8/30/2009 8:50:41 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006
Post #: 1
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 8/31/2009 12:12:13 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17773
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
As I mentioned in the other thread, we have modified the code such that now these heavy fire support units will drop off in an attack as soon as they get within effective direct fire range and they do now pump out more fire than previously. The range they start deploying at depends on the terrain and visibility but typically you will see them deploying at 2000 to 1500m in open terrain. I have chosen not to give them a bombard capability because of their prime direct fire role. I'm avoiding the significant complication of having to writie code so the AI can realistically decide when to employ them in direct or indirect fire. For now it's either/or and in this case its down to "direct" fire.

As far as an anti-armour capability, I was unaware that they were emp-loyed that way. Maybe we can do something about this post BFTB.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 2
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 8/31/2009 12:22:33 PM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

As I mentioned in the other thread, we have modified the code such that now these heavy fire support units will drop off in an attack as soon as they get within effective direct fire range and they do now pump out more fire than previously.

Yes I know, I gathered that from your previous postings already.
I'd like to point out that sIG 33 platoons (according to the original manuals from 1941) didn't carry that much ammo with them, so if they "pump out fire" you should ensure that they run out of ammo (relatively) quickly and then wait for resupplies. They were really just acting temporarily as Schwerpunkt support weapons.

According to the manual Greiner/Degener I mentioned above, page 33 ff., an Inf Gun Coy's heavy platoon (the sIG 33 platoon with 2 guns) used to be either held back as regimental reserve or conducted preliminary artillery missions (purely in indirect-fire mode).
Even the leIG 18 platoons were supposed to send observers to the front rank, Inf Gun Coys even had a dedicated slot/trooper who operated a range-finder, according to the KStN from 1944.
The manual for the IG Coy insists on conducting (what the Germans called) "observed fire missions" only, means to have a forward observer who tracks the impact of the shells - where he then assists in adjusting the fire until the rounds hit the target, via radio.

This type of employment does not involve visual contact (between gun crew and target), though, the normal case was that only the forward observer had visual contact, so that the actual fire mission involved indirect-fire only. When set up within a distance of 2000 meters, like you said, the guns had to use a higher angle anyway, as the low muzzle velocity of let's say the leIG 18 (220 meters/second only) caused the 75mm shell to drift downwards (vertical drift) tremendously. You can see that on German footage covering IGs in action in Russia 1941, they use relatively high elevations even for medium ranges. The gun could be elevated up to 35° degrees for a reason.

In comparison, 75 mm PaK guns, where some were supposed to serve in a dual-role - as AT and Inf gun -, could be elevated up to 18-22° degrees only. They didn't have to be elevated that much actually, due to their high muzzle velocity (650 - 750m/second, usually). The Russian 76,2 mm PaK 30(r) and PaK 36(r) captured, modified and operated by the Germans, had muzzle velocities between 740m/sec and 990m/sec (firing the PzGr. 40 with tungsten core), resulting in a max range of around 13,000 meters. The Germans dubbed the Russian PaKs "Ratsch-Bumm", kinda like "writing out" how such a PaK sounded: The sound of firing off the shell and of its impact were (almost) simultaneous, as the shells traveled with triple sonic velocity. These high velocities put mechanical stress on the barrels tho, so their service life, in contrast to the IGs, was pretty limited.

This, and the fact that the Wehrmacht did not have effective / strongly performing mortars at their disposal before 1941 - when they stumbled over the Russian mortars, may have led to the decision - in the 1930s - to keep these WWI relics: the Inf guns. The troops loved them, though.


The manual also stresses that:
quote:


"Unobserved firing at covered/blind targets is supposed to come into consideration as an exception only. It requires measuring of the artillery position, availability of maps and plans with a minimum scale of 1/50,000 and consideration of particular and atmospheric influences."

..."Unobserved firing at assumed targets and at ground areas leads to waste of ammunition and is therefore forbidden."
- Another rough translation by GG

If these units' main purpose would have been to deliver direct-fire support, they wouldn't have had forward observers, radio equipment, personnel operating rangefinders, etc.

The only nations employing high-angle ballistic Inf guns were Germany and Russia, they really loved them, as these weapons delivered accurate indirect fire (more accurate than mortars), while they could still be employed in direct-fire mode. Another reason to employ them, for the Germans, was the fact that their mortars were really unreliable, inaccurate and their range was insufficient. As I mentioned above, the Germans captured various medium and heavy mortars from the Russians in 1941/42, and - after testing - distributed the Russian 12-cm mortars among German front line units. They also copied these 12-cm mortars, with the German clone being able to fire German AND Russian ammo as well. The mortars turned out to be effective, which led to the tendency to substitute them for the sIG 33's and for most of the leIG 18s in non-motorized Inf Gun units - for example, with the allocation of heavy weapons shifting: 2-3 12-cm mortar platoons, but only 1 75mm leIG 18 platoon at around 1944.

Inf Gun Coy's were never supposed to be direct-fire support units. A light IG 18 stepped into action where a high-angle gun, means accurate indirect-fire, was needed, being able to pin point and destroy enemy positions from spots where they couldn't be reached by enemy defensive fire.

The Inf Guns filled a gap which the Germans thought to be of importance, so Inf guns can be seen as a short-range artillery with short setup times (especially with the leIG 18) but without the need to use predefined (matrix) maps and thorough measuring, as the forward observer (or even officers of the line Coy) directed the fire.
See it as intermediate artillery support unit with an extremely simple command structure, with the IG 18 platoons being able to answer and serve Bn requests in no time. The direct-fire capability was just secondary, like the sugar on top type of thing. They later figured that (effective, less cost-intensive and halfway accurate) mortars could do the job as well, once they had adopted the Russian 12-cm mortars.

The leIG 18 guns in North Africa (drawn or self-propelled versions) were indeed used in a direct-fire role, but to rectify critical situations when facing British tank units, only. Still, that job was usually passed to the PaK 40 or Flak 88. My guess is that the leIG 18 wasn't very useful at ranges above 800-1000 meters, because its short barrel delivered this low muzzle velocity and rather low accuracy (compared to PaKs), at least against moving (armoured) targets. In case the leIG 18's AT round was an over-calibre AT round, the muzzle velocity may have been just marginally higher.

quote:

As far as an anti-armour capability, I was unaware that they were emp-loyed that way. Maybe we can do something about this post BFTB.

Thanks for looking into that.
What about the (AT) range of flak units and their time frames to dismount (and fire) and mount again?


< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 8/31/2009 11:46:33 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 3
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 8/31/2009 11:51:24 PM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17773
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
GoodGuy,

Thanks for that info on the Inf Guns. That is certainly different to what we understood to be their employment. As I mentioned above, at the moment we can't have our cake and eat it too. So we need to decide whether in the main they were employed in the indirect or direct role. You're basically saying that they were employed in the indirect role. I'm not averse to changing their role but I need to consult with the scenario designers before we do so. I'll be back.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 4
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 9/1/2009 2:39:54 AM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

GoodGuy,

You're basically saying that they were employed in the indirect role.
Correct.

IMHO, the indirect role was their primary role. There are plenty of webpages maintained by hobby "historians" claiming they had a direct role, but Niehorster's orbats point towards a different role, IMHO:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Niehorster's German Army 1 September 1939 Organization

http://niehorster.orbat.com/011_germany/39_organ_army/_39_org_army.html

http://niehorster.orbat.com/011_germany/39_organ_army/kstn_1123.htm

"(Sub Unit) Gun Platoon (with 2 light infantry guns)(motor towed)"

"(Teileinheit)KRAFTFAHRTRUPPEN-GESCHÜTZZUG (zu 2 leichten Infanteriegeschützen)(mot Z)"
KStN 1123 dated 01.10.1937

1 Officer (Z) as Platoon Leader (Pistol)
Platoon Headquarters
1 NCO with Gun Director I / Headquarters Leader (Pistol)
1 Man with Gun Director II (Pistol)
1 Distance Measurer (Pistol)(in sidecar)
1 Messenger with Scissors Telescope (Pistol)(in sidecar)
2 Motorcycle Messengers (Rifles)(on motorcycle)
1 Motorcycle Messenger (Rifle)(on motorcycle with sidecar)
1 Motor Vehicle Driver (Rifle)
1 motorcycle
2 motorcycles with sidecar
1 car, medium, cross country (Kfz. 12)
Light Telephone Section c
NCO as Telephonist / Section Leader (Rifle)
2 Telephonists (Rifles)
1 Motor Vehicle Driver / Telephonist (Rifle)
1 signal car (Kfz. 15/1)
Platoon
1 Gun Position NCO
2 NCO Section Leaders (Pistols)
12 Gunners (Rifles)
1 Assistant Armorer (Pistol)
1 Motorcyclist for Gun Position NCO (Rifle)(motorcycle with sidecar)
3 Motor Vehicle Drivers (Rifles)
2 light infantry guns (7,5cm leIG)
1 motorcycle with side car
3 trucks (Kfz. 69)
1 ammo trailer (Sd.Ah. 32)


I'm not an artillery expert. Didn't you serve in an artillery unit? I highlighted the posts I found to be sticking out: The setup above rather looks like the setup of an indirect-fire artillery unit than like a setup of a first line direct-fire unit, to me. It just lacks the cartography/measuring experts an arty unit had (to measure the artillery position, and plot firing tables/matrix). Dang what's the plural of matrix? Matrices? hehe

I see telephonists listed, along with a signal car, where quite some sources list the Kfz 15 either as

"Funkkraftwagen" (= radio car)
http://www.dzwi.de/Funkkw.htm

or as "Funkmesswagen" (= radio car for direction finding = navigation/measuring).

Regular messengers and even the operator ("distance measurer") of the range-finder I mentioned in my previous post (equipped with a "telescope" that had prism-optics for range-finding) are also listed. If such a unit was a direct-fire line unit, this would have been a hell of a lot of equipment for a single platoon.
While Niehorster's orbat is based on the KStN from 1937, and while the composition of Inf Gun units changed, the operation methods remained the same, most likely.

The official manuals for the IG coy and such orbats seem to point towards what I'm saying, that the indirect-role was their primary role. The IG gun units were very flexible (at least the leIG 18 platoons) and very mobile, so both fire-roles could be performed, but the direct role was secondary, IMHO. If the designers have different opinions, or better sources, .... no offense !

quote:

I'll be back.
Don't sweat it .

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 9/1/2009 3:43:46 AM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 5
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 9/1/2009 5:16:36 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17773
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
No I was a grunt. Steve Long was a gunner, but he's no longer with us. I agree re the equipment. Paul VanDoren also has a source which backs this assessment. So I think we'll change their combat class to "support" and give them a bombard capability. We'll also change their deploy times to 30 and 45 minutes respectively. Thanks for the research.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 6
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 9/1/2009 2:24:18 PM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Thanks for the research.


You're welcome.

I'm glad my elaboration is being considered.

I do hope that that there'll be some code so that the AI can decide whether to deploy them in direct-mode or indirect mode, for the next game, though. And hopefully you'll be able to add in the AT-capability post BFTB.

A perfect solution would be to segment the Inf Gun Coys into single platoons, have the sIG 33 platoon as Regt. reserves/arty, and put each leIG 18 platoon under command of the subordinated Bn HQs, as the leIG 18s units were pretty flexible (and very mobile). But hey, I guess you can't have it both ways, at times.

Anyway, the deploy times I researched refer to setting up the guns as a whole (platoon or battery-wise), for bombardment missions. These deploy times decreased when firing in self-defense, in an AT-role, or generally in a direct fire-role, of course.

I don't intend to appear as a nagger, but would you be so kind and provide some info about the Flak 88's max (AT) range and their deploy/re-deploy times in BFTB? This may have escaped your notice.

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 9/1/2009 2:31:43 PM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 7
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 9/1/2009 2:42:52 PM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17773
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
One of the IGs already had an AT capability. We'll add it for the other before BFTB is released.

The PaK88 has a max AArm range of 3000m, with a penetration of 127mm at that range. The Flak 88 also has a max AArm range of 3000m but only a 67mm penetration at that range. Deployment times vary from 15 to 20 minutes.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to GoodGuy)
Post #: 8
RE: Employment and Organisation of IGs - 9/1/2009 3:18:27 PM   
GoodGuy

 

Posts: 1501
Joined: 5/17/2006
From: Cologne, Germany
Status: offline
Thanx for the info. The four-wheeled carriage of a Flak 88 could be dismounted (seperating the carriage into two pieces, and leaving the middle-section with four supporting feet as base for the [then] static gun.) within less than a minute. Mounting the gun and carriage again took around one or 2 minutes. In France 1940, the guns weren't even dismounted, when they were brought forward to crack French tanks.

_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 9
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