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American vs German Weapons

This is a discussion on American vs German Weapons within the Military History forums, part of the Armed Services category; Originally Posted by hurryinhoosier Originally Posted by Gen Jack Ripper It was quantity over quality, we producd more arms, but, they had better guns... I ...


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Old February 3rd, 2017, 11:06 AM   #16
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It was quantity over quality, we producd more arms, but, they had better guns...
I don't know about that. The German weapon designers were great innovators, but to say they had better weapons is subjective rather than objectives. Millions for Germans were killed with a rifle and a round that were designed in 1891...
If we are going to generalized, I would say the German stuff was not 'better'.

An M1911 is superior to the P38, in the effectiveness of the round, ease of manufacture, and ergonomics.

The M1 Garand is better that any of the mass produced semi-automatic rifles produced by Germany.

The Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle is a better infantry rifle than the Mauser K98k.

And, they never produced a true heavy infantry machinegun comparable to the M2.

The MG-42 is slightly better than the M1919 in the medium MG role, but weighed about the same (including the tripod), and it was a little heavy in the squad MG, or automatic rifle role compared to the BREN or BAR. But, then that's the trade-off you get when you go to the GPMG concept.

But, it really boils down to infantry doctrine, is the machinegun supposed to support the infantry squad, of is the infantry squad supposed to support the machinegun?

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Old February 3rd, 2017, 11:39 AM   #17
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Haha, these videos are kind of funny though. I believe the 34' and 42' from a Lafayette tripod would eat a 1919 .30 cal for breakfast on all fronts... "and another thing about that high rate of fire"...."bark worse than their bite"... lol.

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Old February 3rd, 2017, 12:07 PM   #18
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I think both sides weapons were superior in different ways: kraut weapons like the tiger, mg42, the 88, and the me 262 were engineering marvels that were years ahead of their time but were complex and not practical for wartime production. Yank weapons reflected American culture - they were more than adequate for their intended purpose but still easy to mass produce, maintain, and operate.

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Old February 3rd, 2017, 12:55 PM   #19
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It was quantity over quality, we producd more arms, but, they had better guns...
I'd have to find it somewhere, but we fired way more ammo overall regardless of the weapons used on either side.

This is a great propaganda film. Sorry, but you have to respect the purr of the 42. What a work of art!

The bottom line is the Germans didn't lose because of their weaponry. There's many other reasons, but what they had in their hands or what they were driving and flying were all nice equipment.

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Old February 3rd, 2017, 01:36 PM   #20
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Our M60 came right from the German 42, we are still using the "PIG" to this day.

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Old February 3rd, 2017, 04:28 PM   #21
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Better can be a difficult thing to define and often depends on circumstance.

The Tiger was a "better" tank except when it broke down as it frequently did then the "inferior" Sherman, which always worked was the better tank.

The 88 was a "better" artillery piece, except it was really only good in the direct fire role while the American 105 Howitzer and British 25 pounder which were primarily indirect fire weapons did far more damage to the enemy than the 88 ever did. It was though likely the best antitank gun of the war

The M1 Garand was the best infantry rifle in general issue during the war, bar none, including the Mod 98 and the SMLE. As a rifle for fighting the SMLE was the best bolt action of the war.

The German MG 34 and 42 were fine machine guns and were the best of their breed and fit the German doctrine of infantry supporting the MG. American doctrine had the MG supporting the Infantry which was armed with the M1 and BAR as a squad weapon both capable of great volume of fire and (with the BREN) were the best of their breed. Both methods worked.

The American army also had, by far, the best motor vehicles and could supply and move troops better than any other army and, as is often said, logistics wins wars!

The allies had the better artillery, better infantry rifles, a tank that always worked, reliable if a bit dated machine guns (the M2 excepted), Air Superiority with the best fighters and bombers and by far the best logistics and mechanization.

No doubt German weapons were good. In balance though the allies weapons were as good or better

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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:33 AM   #22
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My thinking on the "Quantity over quality" remark was about the Sherman tank for example, we just cranked them out, they were called "Tommycooker" & "Ronson lighter" by allies & foes alike because they would catch fire & explode every time they were hit by a Panzer, and it was not a quick egress for a burning crew either.

True we had some great guns like the Garand as quoted by Patton, but in the end it was sheer number of material & troops we were churning out that did Germany in, and it didn't help much when they opened up another front with Russia. It was Rommel that realized & understood they couldn't compete with the West's industrial might. I sometimes wonder if Hitler would have been content with what he'd already conquered and stopped at the English Channel, and had not opened up a 2nd front to attack Russia, things would look differently today.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 04:28 PM   #23
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I'd have to find it somewhere, but we fired way more ammo overall regardless of the weapons used on either side.

This is a great propaganda film. Sorry, but you have to respect the purr of the 42. What a work of art!

The bottom line is the Germans didn't lose because of their weaponry. There's many other reasons, but what they had in their hands or what they were driving and flying were all nice equipment.
In the field of vehicles, the US had far better stuff.

The 1/4 ton, 3/4 ton, 2-1/2 ton trucks were far better than anything the Germans fielded. Very few German trucks were all-wheel drive capable. Generally speaking US automotive equipment (engines, transmissions etc) were far more reliable than the German counterparts.

During the Battle of Kursk, half the Panther tanks committed broke down on the road march to the front, and never made it to the battle. The M4 tanks are often undervalued, while they were inferior to the Panther in terms of armor and firepower (until the British Firefly and US 76mm variants appeared), they were superior to all the German tanks in mobility (both strategic and tactical) and reliability, and easily the equal of the most common German tank in the war the PzKw IV.

As to the other German heavy hitter, most people don't realize how rare Tiger tanks really were. There were less than 650 Tiger tanks deployed and any given time (all three fronts). The Schwere Panzerabteilungen (Heavy Armor Battalion) was a Army Group asset, and were parceled out to Corps and Divisions as required. At best, a single battalion of 45 Tigers was op-conned to the Panzer Divisions. These were rarely at full strength and only a total of sixteen Schwere Panzerabteilungen (including the three SS ones) were ever activated.

By the time of the Normandy invasion they were utilized as fire-brigades, whenever the enemy broke through, or threatened a break-through, a Heavy Armored Battalion was rushed forward to plug the gap. If you saw a Tiger tank, it meant your attack was succeeding. In the summer of 1944, they spent most of their time in the Caen area, plugging holes the British armor kept poking in the lines.


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Old February 4th, 2017, 05:13 PM   #24
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Sure, our guns, vehicles, and ships worked well, definitely well enough, though not necessarily better than German examples. But we made so many of them at a rate that was unprecedented. Germany, at the time, was further ahead in design and manufacturing quality than nearly any other nation. Likewise, German tactics (i.e. Blitzkrieg) set the standard for WWII. Although mentioned above, elite German tanks (Tiger I and II), for example, weren't as common as many think. Lots of German equipment was over-engineered, and consequently supply limited.

German engineering, in all post industrial revolution examples, has been considered above average. I wouldn't say it was even specific to Germany alone, as Swiss and Scandinavian countries have been known for high quality manufacturing standards as well. This may not currently be as true as it once was.

That said, the US turned the tide of WWII because of our ability to mobilize in a very short time period. The Axis underestimated how quickly and how massively we could organize land, sea, and air forces. This massive mobilization of US forces placed Germany in a quagmire, as they unwisely decided to start Operation Barbarossa in the East against the Soviets via a broken treaty in 1941. Two front wars are a no go.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 05:44 PM   #25
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Our M60 came right from the German 42, we are still using the "PIG" to this day.
Wrong "42"...

The M60 is an FG-42 with a belt feed, not anything like an MG-42.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:00 PM   #26
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If only I had 300K sitting around... I would totally buy an FG42. I think it is arguably the best rifle of WWII. That and maybe the MP44.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:09 PM   #27
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That 42 sounds rediculous.... such a high rate of fire! Thanks for posting hope you feel better soon.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:09 PM   #28
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Sure, our guns, vehicles, and ships worked well, definitely well enough, though not necessarily better than German examples. But we made so many of them at a rate that was unprecedented. Germany, at the time, was further ahead in design and manufacturing quality than nearly any other nation. Likewise, German tactics (i.e. Blitzkrieg) set the standard for WWII. Although mentioned above, elite German tanks (Tiger I and II), for example, weren't as common as many think. Lots of German equipment was over-engineered, and consequently supply limited.

German engineering, in all post industrial revolution examples, has been considered above average. I wouldn't say it was even specific to Germany alone, as Swiss and Scandinavian countries have been known for high quality manufacturing standards as well. This may not currently be as true as it once was.

That said, the US turned the tide of WWII because of our ability to mobilize in a very short time period. The Axis underestimated how quickly and how massively we could organize land, sea, and air forces. This massive mobilization of US forces placed Germany in a quagmire, as they unwisely decided to start Operation Barbarossa in the East against the Soviets via a broken treaty in 1941. Two front wars are a no go.
The Sherman tank was better than the most numerous German tank the PzKw IV. And a great deal better that the most numerous German armored vehicle, the StuG III. Given a choice between a PzKw IV and a Sherman, only a fool would pick the PzKw IV....

Most Panther tanks were deployed on the Eastern Front, the number operational peaked at just over 500 in late 1944 (of 750 deployed), in the west the number deployed was probably never more than 200 to 250, and 30% to 50% of them would be down for maintenance at any given time.

As to "Germany, at the time, was further ahead in design and manufacturing quality than nearly any other nation....", I don't see where you get this from. An Audi commercial maybe? The simple fact is German tank operational readiness was poor, averaging around 50%, the US tank OR rarely dropped bellow 70%. And, almost half the M4s "destroyed" in combat were returned to service.

EDIT: Case in point - The transmission and cross-drive on an M4 could be replaced, in the field, in about two shifts. To replace the transmission on a Panther required the turret be removed and the transmission and cross-drive pulled out through the turret ring. If the suspension on an M4 was damaged, the entire bogie unit could be replaced, or in the case of only one bogie unit being damaged, driven with one unit removed, not the case with the German designs.


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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:35 PM   #29
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Sure, one could argue the Sherman (ease of production, repair, etc) was a better tank than the Panther IV. One could argue the Tiger I, and especially the Tiger II, was the most elite tank of the war. Though lacking in numbers and mobility, the Tiger II, was one the most heavily armored WWII tanks -no tanks really compare to the Tiger II in head on engagements (maybe the Sherman Firefly and IS-2 should be considered instead). Others would say the Russian T34 was one of the best and most influential designs of the war, because of its ease of production and field repair.

Tanks aside, German design and engineering superiority extended well beyond the war itself. MP44 was the predecessor for the modern assault rifle (i.e. AK47). FG42, like you said, had its place in developing the M60. German Me 163 Komet was the first rocket based fighter aircraft -not to mention the fact the US was well behind German rocket technology (e.g. V2) until we won the war and nabbed their programs. The Ho 229 was arguably the predecessor of the B2 stealth bomber form. It is also worth mentioning German submarine technology (e.g. VIIC/41) was second to none.

So no, I did not gather this from an Audi commercial. Just history.

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Old February 4th, 2017, 06:55 PM   #30
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The Sherman was really a very fine tank, especially the late war Easy 8 with the wider tracks and 76mm gun. it was very reliable, capable of long road marches and still being combat ready. It was faster, more maneuverable, and it had a power traverse of the turret. Early versions did tend to "brew up" when hit but the advent of wet storage of ammo made a dramatic difference.

A Tiger or Panther had to be hauled by rail or carrier to the front otherwise it ate too much fuel and broke down far too often. The concept was good, the reality wasn't so good. Part of the success of the German tanks late in the war was they were fighting on the defense and could maximize their effectiveness from ambush and prepared positions while the allies had to attack those positions.

The Sherman also had the constraint of being made in the USA which meant it had to be of a size it could be lifted by cranes to place on a ship and it had to fit on the ship. It benefited from true mass production, standardization of parts, easy maintenance.

German tanks were built one at a time by craftsmen, production was slow, the tanks were complex and difficult to maintain, each tank was at least a bit different from any other. The Tiger and Panther had better armor and better guns (at least till the Firefly and the 76) but they were too few and too unreliable. The Mk IV was far more plentiful but also had reliability problems and was not measurably superior to the M4.

In summary the Sherman was a good highly reliable tank available in large numbers that despite its thinner armor and less capable gun was the better balanced design and was a war winner.

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