From: Chicago, Illinois
I am reading John Mosier's "Cross of Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German War Machine". Have others read this book, and what do you think of it?
One of his main points was the complete failure of German Tank Production. Among other things:
1. Germans kept obviously obsolete models in production (MkI,MkII,38(t)) WAY too long.
2. Many models were completely over-engineered and overly expensive relative to their combat power. MkI, II, and III all fall into the category. The only saving grace is that the MkIII chassis was so over-engineered, it was later able to carry bigger guns.
3. Prior to 1942, production emphasized tank QUANTITY, not QUALITY; this despite the opportunity to learn from the Spanish Civil War encounters with the T-26 (a superior tank to anything the Germans made before the Pz IV), and encounters with better French Tanks. Lessons from the French campaign were lost among the fact that the French employed them so poorly, and much of the French tank stock was older (F-17s and H-35s); but the top French tanks (Chars, Somuas), were way better than what the Wehrmacht had. They failed to learn from that.
It was only the Eastern Front that finally shook the Germans out of their tank production torpor. Even then, the Germans continued to produce overly-expensive super tanks like the TIGER series; a senseless diversion of resources from better programs.
Not sure how much I go along with all this, the Germans did get their stuff together later with economical designs like the HETZER and STUGIII, and quality MBTs like the upgraded Pz IV and, of course, the Panther.
Even so, the Germans produced several different chassis (Mk III, IV, 38(t),V, Tiger,) instead of standardizing on one or two. The US, while producing pretty mediocre tanks, DID stanardize on only 2 chassis (M3 and M4, and mostly the M4), which simplified production, maintenence, and allowed the US Army to be more fully mechanized.
Not sure why the Germans couldn't standardize on 2 chassis earlier (PzIV and V would have been best choice). Converting lines isn't easy, but neither is maintaining all those chassis designs.
< Message edited by Q-Ball -- 12/17/2010 6:35:14 PM >