From: Cologne, Germany
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.
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:
"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:
"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):
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.
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.
- le.I.G. 18
- s.I.G. 33:
- 12-cm mortars:
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.
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 >
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
8th of August, 2006