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#21 Leo Niehorster

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 0928 AM

The Germans were running out of cannon by the end of the war, so the inclusion of 75mm caliber field guns was not so much a choice but not having anything else. Hence, the Volksgrenadier divisions — were raised using the October 1944 organization — had  their artillery regiments with one battalion 75mm field guns (18×7,5cm leFK 40), two battalions of 105mm light FH (12 each) each, and one heavy battalion of 150 heavy FH (12). The 1945 version had three battalions (8×105 + 6×75), and one heavy battlion (12×150mm). The infantry regiments in the VG and 1945 divisions was still authorized both 75mm and 150mm infantry guns.

 

Initially, the corps artillery was conceived as having a supporting role in achieving fire superiority in the divisional areas, so these corps artillery battalions were equipped with two batteries of the same 150 sFH. An additional battery of 10cm Kan was included for mainly interdiction of targets beyond the divisional target areas. 


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#22 Leo Niehorster

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 0929 AM

Sorry, double tap. (TN is very slow right now.)


Edited by Leo Niehorster, 31 May 2019 - 0931 AM.

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#23 Markus Becker

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 1147 AM

Thanks for the info on the 75's 'comeback'. 


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#24 lastdingo

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 1511 PM

"Meanwhile, as far as I read, German divisional artillery started with 7.5 cm guns, then went to 10cm howitzers, then back to 7.5cm guns."

Back to 7.5cm? That would be unusual to put it mildly. That caliber was recognized as too small during WW1 already.

 

I've seen multiple books claiming that the secondary anti-tank capability was an important factor for the return to 75 mm, and the 100,000+ 7.62 cm ZIS-3 divisional guns have impressed the Wehrmacht very much.

 

7.5 cm is fine for frag effect if the impact angle is OK, it's only too small for dust & sound observation of impacts.

related

http://nigelef.tripo.../wt_of_fire.htm

 

The Reichswehr had 7.5 cm light field guns, 10.5 cm light field howitzers and 15 cm heavy field howitzers of the 1916 generation.

7.5 cm light field guns were procured, but the design chosen was unimpressive. Another design with L/42 barrel was available and much more impressive, but not ordered. The late Reichswehr and early Wehrmacht preferred 10,.5 cm light field howitzers.

Tanks were vulnerable to 20 mm guns at that time and penetrated by 37 mm AT guns at almost one kilometre distance. The importance of 75 mm guns for AT work was not recognised.


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#25 Markus Becker

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 1528 PM

Good points. 75s might be ineffective against heavily entrenched targets like in the last war but in this war warfare is way more mobile (=targets in the open) and they are just barely light enough to be man handled while capable of taking out even heavy tanks(for the time).
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#26 Chris Werb

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 1605 PM

 

 

 

Ive seen photographs of them in a training role in the British Army as late as the early 1980's.  I dont think we kept the FH70 nearly half as long.

 

 

The FH70 entered service 1980-1999 - only 19 years. The 5.5" was in service in war-role artillery units (not just for training, for a fair comparison) from 1941 to 1980, or 39 years. 


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#27 Rich

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 1803 PM

The Germans were running out of cannon by the end of the war, so the inclusion of 75mm caliber field guns was not so much a choice but not having anything else. Hence, the Volksgrenadier divisions — were raised using the October 1944 organization — had  their artillery regiments with one battalion 75mm field guns (18×7,5cm leFK 40), two battalions of 105mm light FH (12 each) each, and one heavy battalion of 150 heavy FH (12). The 1945 version had three battalions (8×105 + 6×75), and one heavy battlion (12×150mm). The infantry regiments in the VG and 1945 divisions was still authorized both 75mm and 150mm infantry guns.

 

Please remember the "7.5cm FK40" was simply the 7.5cm Pak40 tricked out with panoramic sights and other paraphernalia so that it could be fired indirectly...at least theoretically. In reality they augmented the antitank capability of the division, especially for the division artillery...typically each 7.5cm battery tended to be attached to one of the three battalion groupments in the division (so one 7.5cm battery, two 10.5cm batteries, and a 15cm battery was typical), each supporting one of the rifle regiments. It appears the later organizational amendment at the end of the war recognized that and codified it.


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#28 lastdingo

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 0338 AM

Good points. 75s might be ineffective against heavily entrenched targets like in the last war but in this war warfare is way more mobile (=targets in the open) and they are just barely light enough to be man handled while capable of taking out even heavy tanks(for the time).

 

15 cm heavy howitzers had their origin (at least in Germany) in tests against field fortifications in Germany (Meppen, I believe). It was concluded that the notional field fortifications would require a 15 cm field howitzer to defeat. (Kinda like the CRISAT target and PDWs.) 15 cm howitzers got much higher muzzle velocities, much more streamlined shells and thus much more capable of penetrating soil and logs by 1916 already - but the field fortifications were simply adapted to common opfor artillery pieces in both WWI and WWII.

 

There are guidances from WWII about how to achieve a specific end (suppression, destruction in a specified area etc.) with both light and heavy field howitzers, showing that the two were indeed considered substitutes in both ways. A look at the figures showed me that light and heavy were very close to each other in the first minute of firing (thought he costs of the mechanical fuzes complicates the costs issue). The heavy howitzers had advantages regarding sustained fires (same rate of 1 or 2 rpm for 15 cm and 10.5 cm). 10.5 cm howitzers on the other hand were capable of defending themselves against tanks again with HEAT shells' arrival, though.

 

Smaller calibres are more efficient for fragmentation (hence the ICM approach and frag bombs of WWII being 10...110 kg bombs only while GP bombs weighed 227...500 kg).

 

15 cm HE is also dangerous to tanks (particularly thin-skinned AFVs, but also MBTs). Yet by the 2000's preformed fragmentation shells had become the new normal, and those fragmentation patterns are about maximised effect against soft targets. Modern 155 mm HE is no more that dangerous against AFVs with indirect hits because it produces no large fragments.

https://defense-and-...ounds-cant.html

 

In the end, the entire heavy howitzer thing was very path dependent. It was nowhere near an optimal calibre except maybe during the Cold War when we used ICM.


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#29 Chris Werb

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 0603 AM

In some ways modern 155mm HE-FRAG is more dangerous to AFVs because of the amount of fragile kit on the outside of one - vision systems, comms, anti ATGM systems. It can't kill an MBT, but it can really mess one up. Of course, if you want to kill the tank, you have SMArt, BONUS etc. or even a lucky hit with block 1A Excalibur if you can lase the tank.


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#30 lastdingo

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 0619 AM

You should read the link that I offered above.


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#31 CaptLuke

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 1532 PM

I've seen multiple books claiming that the secondary anti-tank capability was an important factor for the return to 75 mm, and the 100,000+ 7.62 cm ZIS-3 divisional guns have impressed the Wehrmacht very much.

 

Agreed.  The German light howitzer wish list was built into the 10.5cm le FH 43 program:

  • 360 degree traverse
  • Very good high angle fire capability
  • Better range (extended to 13,000m)

Like so many German programs, the 10.5cm le FH 43 produced a very interesting prototype (an advanced design from Skoda) and a workable alternative from Krupp but never made it into production. Hogg thought Krupp's second design was the odds on favorite because it used a modified Pak43 carriage and thus would have been easier to get into production, but the Germans were forced to stay with existing designs or modifications thereof, e.g., the 75mm 7M85 which, as Rich pointed out, was a modified Pak40.


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#32 lastdingo

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 1752 PM

The 360° traverse was demanded largely with anti-tank in mind according to literature, but would also have helped in pockets.

The high angle capability was according to literature about the ability to shoot from inside woodland. This may have been about the air threat, but according to books that I've read getting howitzers into firing positions was actually difficult in some of the extended Eastern Front woodland areas. Maybe they didn't want to be so predictable (counterfires!). High angle would also have helped with getting the impact angle just right for maximum frag effect and with reaching the reverse slopes of mountains. The preferred method for maximising frag effect was ricochet shots with delay fuse, though.

(The Czechs had built interwar years arty partially with a common field gun and howitzer carriage - and the field gun was meant to double as heavy AAA (at least to make observation inconvenient). This necessitated a high maximum elevation. The use of hundreds such guns by the Wehrmacht during 1939-1945 should have educated the Wehrmacht about the merits of upper register HE fires on soft ground targets.)

 

The Swedes were the only ones to realize something like the leFH43, and the famous Soviet 122 mm 2A18 / D-30 was an even more advanced concept.

 

The M777 looks primitive regarding the mechanical engineering part. It has fancier alloys and RF muzzle velocity measurement, but traverse, rate of fire (half what D-30 can do in first minute!) and lack of direct fire ability are downsides ranging from minor (direct fire) to catastrophic (traverse).


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#33 bd1

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 0710 AM

was not one of the prototypes that led eventually to american 105mm M1, 3-legged? IIRC idea was dropped because it made the carriage about  1/3 heavier than normal one and that was pretty big difference back in 1920s when horse transport was still considered important


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#34 lastdingo

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 0809 AM

The U.S. Army considered a heavy AA-like 7.5 cm divisional gun in the 30's (they were still a heavy user of soixante-quinze guns, just like the French and Poles).

 

https://de.scribd.co...G-20190602-0001


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#35 Markus Becker

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 0941 AM

It must have sounded like a good idea at the time. Especially given the available budgets.
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#36 lastdingo

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 1019 AM

The U.S. was much more motorized, so the transportation issue was a lesser one. People were also thinking in trench warfare terms, so mobility would not be too important in great wars.

 

The calibre was weak, but suitable-enough for AAA at the time (there were lots of heavy AAA based on soixante-quinze in active service at the time) and fine for suppressive fires. The good maximum elevation would help with impact angles that make direct hits into trenches more likely than with ordinary field guns.

 

Still, I think the optimum was far from this.

  • 7...8 cm regimental and motorized AT guns with slip ring HEAT, split trail, deployed mass below 1 metric ton and maximum elevation +70°
  • 10.5...12.2 cm divisional gun-howitzers (split trail or three legs 360° traverse) with shield and 2-man operation in direct fire (one gunner, one loader)
  • something that defeats field fortifications (150...180 mm baseplate mortar or rocket launcher with large blast effect)

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#37 Markus Becker

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 1025 AM

No argument that 75(3") is ok caliber wise but that particular 75 had a field gun's medium MV. Probably ok for early 30s AA work but not so much in the second half when you get fast monoplanes like the Blenheim.
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#38 Ken Estes

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 1059 AM

M777? Primitive? When was the last time that US arty was overrun by tks?


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#39 lastdingo

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 1418 PM

The speed of the bombers wasn't the issue. The issue was altitude, and Blenheim wasn't flying particularly high. Only the B-17, B-24 and B-29 were really pushing past the ceiling limits of old (soixante-quinze based and equivalents) heavy AAA. The sweet spots for bombers were 3...4.5 km and above '88' effective ceiling. The former was too high for light AAA, but angular velocity was troublesome for heavy AAA (which made that altitude band better than higher altitudes short of 7.5+ km).

 

In fact, against most bombers impact fuses worked better than mechanical time fuses. A 75 mm direct HE hit was overkill against any aircraft unless it hits the tip of wings or stabilisers. So the higher rate of fire of 75 mm (almost 30 rpm) and lower cost of weapon and munition turned 75 mm into superior heavy AAA compared to anything bigger against 2-engine bombers (and British Empire 4-engine bombers) in Europe.

 

The story is different when you face smaller threats such as B6N, D4Y and have RF PROX fuses. Then the optimum calibre was 90...105 mm, or one particular 127 mm gun design if you want a good DP capability. Without RF PROX there was little reason to invest in heavy AAA instead of additional 40 mm AAA.


Edited by lastdingo, 02 June 2019 - 1422 PM.

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#40 Chris Werb

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 1624 PM

You should read the link that I offered above.

 

I'd read it the last time someone (you?) posted it, and very good it is too :)


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