Richard, thanks for your comments.Richard Anderson wrote: ↑04 Feb 2023 18:35My Dad was Dick, please don't call me that. I am Richard or Rich. But you have the better of us all; what should I call you? Laughing Boy?LachenKrieg wrote: ↑04 Feb 2023 08:26To start, I wanted to ask if its okay if I referred to you as Dick instead of having to spell your full name out each time we correspond with each other? If you have a problem with the abbreviated form of your name, then please don't hesitate to let me know.
Of course I'm part of the problem. I'm old and crotchety and have high standards. Sue me.Secondly, I am completely at a loss when it comes to TMP. To be transparent, after you mentioned this the first time several days ago, someone had the courtesy to fill me in. I now understand that you and this other person didn't see eye-to-eye, and that there was a lot of friction between you. I am completely removed from this situation, and yet you seem to be in the same boat as you were before. Has it ever occurred to you that you may have been part of the problem? I get how this could all look like a setup, but it isn't and you will just have to believe me. The truth is, I never heard the name TMP before you mentioned it, but based on the few exchanges you and I have shared, it kind of all makes sense to me now.
Curiously enough I know that. The disconnect appears to be between your imagination of what that could have possibly meant and what the reality was. The 5cm gun, as I pointed out a while ago, was a brand new caliber for the German armaments industry. Not only did Rheinmetall have to develop the gun, they then had to present it to the Heeres-Waffenamt for technical and service testing before production contract was completed. Then Rheinmetall had to retool a production line that was already going full bore producing the 3.7cm PaK/KwK for mass production of the new 5cm gun. Then there were always start-up issues with new production - the Germans referred to it as "Kinderkrankheiten". Then the completed new production had to be tested by the HWA to ensure they met specification and did not have faults. We know these were major issued because even though the 5cm PaK was approved, contracted for, and funded by spring 1939, it did not actually begin production until spring 1940 - in March all of four had been completed and accepted by the HWA.I am not going to bother going over your post point for point. Unless you raise a valid argument against my WI, I will restate the WI here with support and leave it at that.
In this WI scenario, the Pz III is armed with the L/60 cannon before the start of Barbarossa so that a decision to abandon the Pz III as a battle tank can be made sooner than it was, and Pz III chassis production can be used to manufacture long barrelled StuG's starting anywhere between September - December 1941.
The following quote is from page 66 in Encyclopedia of German tanks of World War Two; Chamberlain, Doyale, Jentz (tech. Editor):
"History: Orders were given to get the 5cm KwK39 L/60 gun into a production series as quickly as possible which resulted in the Ausf J series being split between this gun and the 5cm KwK l/42. Originally, in August 1940, Hitler had ordered the L/60 gun, but the Ordnance Department did not implement the decision as the L/42 had recently been introduced and had proven successful. At his birthday demonstration in April 1941, Hitler saw the Ausf J still without the long gun and insisted on its fitting as soon as possible. Events in Russia two months later proved the need for a more powerful armament."
The following quote is from page 40 in Panzer III & its varients; Spielberger:
"When the Russian T-34 and KV tanks appeared at the start of the Russian campaign in 1941, the weakness of the German tank armament was quickly revealed to its fullest extent. This would not have been necessary if the Army Weapons Office had followed the instructions issued personally by Hitler in 1940 and installed the 50 mm KwK 39L/60 gun, which was already available at that time. In the Pz III, the 37mm KwK was actually replaced only by the 50mm KwK L/42, a decision that led to unfortunate results and caused serious disagreements between Hitler and the Army Weapons Office."
Now add in the time for developing the gun mounting for the new PaK 38 so that it becomes the KwK 39 mounted in the Panzer III.
Assume all goes well and all those things that could and did delay the start of new production worked perfectly, if the starting point is Hitler's birthday directive of April 1940, there is still the problem of how many of the initially limited production gets allocated to KwK and how many to PaK. And how do you get around the very real stricture regarding limitations on the length of the tank barrel, which led to the KwK produced according to Hitler's order being an L42 gun rather than an L60 gun. Did Hitler literally order the L60 be used or did he order a 5cm gun be used? Regardless, the stricture was maintained and the result was production of the L42 KwK began sometime in June at low rate with the first completed tanks accepted in July.
So assume that Hitler did indeed order the L60, the designers accepted that and the HWA accepted the change on barrel length. With an assumed months delay you might expect as many as 750 Panzer III with KwK 39 accepted by 22 June 1941. Is that a critical mass? But haven't you been saying that the KwK 39 was useless frontally against the T-34/KV? Do we then circle back to the need for the 7.5cm KwK 40 and the use of an assault gun as a tank? How does that work?
That was a great explanation, but the simple fact is the request for the long barrelled gun was delayed by a year. The WI is suggesting that long barrelled StuG's go into production 4 to 6 months earlier, which would have been feasible had the Ordnance Dept. acted accordingly.
And I do appreciate your attempt at projecting the effect of making StuG's earlier, but I think it is a little more complicated then that. No the effect of a more potent fighting force would not only affect the number of Pz III's. More enemy tank kills would mean those tanks would not be available in further fighting so it would potentially affect the German military as a whole (men and material). But even if we just go with the 1300 you projected, Yes that is significant. That would mean Germany could have retained 260 experienced tank crews. There is no way to bare the effects of this out in a simple calculation, but it goes without saying that the loss of experienced tank crews due to attrition was a significant factor in later stages of the war.