German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

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Linkagain
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German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Linkagain » 20 Jan 2022 16:13

The germans used the 88 as anti-aircraft; anti tank and Anti Infantry.
Why did UK used the 25th Pd artillery for just one role and not expaned its use like the Germans did?

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Michael Kenny » 20 Jan 2022 16:23

Linkagain wrote:
20 Jan 2022 16:13
The germans used the 88 as anti-aircraft; anti tank and Anti Infantry.
Why did UK used the 25th Pd artillery for just one role and not expaned its use like the Germans did?
Because using a sophisticated high-velocity AA gun as a ground bombardment weapon is an inefficient use of resources. A bit like using a Ferrari to drive around a city centre.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Gary Kennedy » 20 Jan 2022 17:18

The 25-pdr* was used in the anti-tank role in North Africa and was provided with armour piercing ammunition. "The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment" (1950) details 1st Field Regiment engaging Panzers while in support of 4th Indian Division on 25 Nov 1941 as just one example, there were others.

*A bit picky by me I know but I see so many variations of abbreviation and naming convention for British guns on the internet these days. A gun can be called for example 2-pr or 2-pdr, both abbreviations were used, or given its full name as 2-pounder. 'lb' as the abbreviation for pound was not used.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Urmel » 21 Jan 2022 12:44

Gary Kennedy wrote:
20 Jan 2022 17:18
The 25-pdr* was used in the anti-tank role in North Africa and was provided with armour piercing ammunition. "The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment" (1950) details 1st Field Regiment engaging Panzers while in support of 4th Indian Division on 25 Nov 1941 as just one example, there were others.
I think it's important to note however that this was for self-defense of the battery. Unlike the 18-pdr, I am not aware of the 25-pdr equipping dedicated AT regiments or even being used tactically as an AT gun other than for self-defense. The post-CRUSADER METP 2.VI "Employment of artillery in support of armour", which would have included experience from Sidi Omar 25 Nov 41, is quite clear on this delineation.

This is fundamentally different from the employment of the 88, which served as a triple-purpose gun for tactical purposes (AA, AT, field artillery, in that order). The role of 'Begleitbatterie' (accompanying battery) was specific in that regard.

http://rommelsriposte.com/2018/05/27/po ... the-d-a-k/

When in danger of being overrun by tanks, any gun becomes an AT gun. That doesn't make it an AT gun though.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by rcocean » 22 Jan 2022 00:37

Because using a sophisticated high-velocity AA gun as a ground bombardment weapon is an inefficient use of resources. A bit like using a Ferrari to drive around a city centre.
General Marshall disagreed. In his BIENNIAL REPORTS OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, 1 JULY 1939-30 JUNE 1945, he specifically identifies the German 88 as the type of weapon the US army admired - and could have had if we had spent more on defense prior to December 1941. A triple threat. The 88 could destroy tanks, and then shoot HE airbursts to attack the Infantry. And function as a AAA weapon.

We tried to update the 90 mm AAA to attack tanks, but it took quite a while. Saying it was best not to use AAA guns as artillery ignores the benefit in having an Anti-tank gun that do more than one thing.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Urmel » 22 Jan 2022 02:02

Their long range also made them decent counter-battery weapons.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Jan 2022 07:29

rcocean wrote:
22 Jan 2022 00:37

General Marshall disagreed. In his BIENNIAL REPORTS OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, 1 JULY 1939-30 JUNE 1945, he specifically identifies the German 88 as the type of weapon the US army admired - and could have had if we had spent more on defense prior to December 1941. A triple threat. The 88 could destroy tanks, and then shoot HE airbursts to attack the Infantry. And function as a AAA weapon.
So could the 90mm and the 3.7 inch. A hit on any vehicle from those guns would be very destructive. In 1944-45 the 3.7 inch fired over 1 million rounds ( compared to 774,000 75mm tank rounds ) the majority of which were for ground bombardment. The difference with the 8.8cm was that the Allies had those guns available because there were not many German aircraft to deal with. The German AA guns were diverted from their main tasks because they were short of artillery. Pickert's Normandy account shows how he was constantly battling to prevent his guns being hijacked by the Army.
rcocean wrote:
22 Jan 2022 00:37
Saying it was best not to use AAA guns as artillery ignores the benefit in having an Anti-tank gun that do more than one thing.
You can use the Flak 37 as an AT gun but that does not make it an AT gun. The Allies could have used (for example) the 5.5 inch gun as an AT weapon if the had wanted and given the calibre it would have been very effective. However they had no need to because they had the 6 pdr which could do the job much more efficiently . Size, despite what your girlfriend tells you, is not everything.
It makes no sense to spend 10 gold crowns on a highly-specialised AA gun and then use it in a role that could be done by a gun that cost 4 gold crowns. Yes if you have it to hand you can use it as such but it is a very inefficient and wasteful use of resources. The rings of AA guns defending German town were used as AT guns against advancing Allied tanks but that is because the tanks came to them. Sticking a set of wheels on those same guns and putting them into the front line is an entirely different matter.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Art » 22 Jan 2022 09:47

Linkagain wrote:
20 Jan 2022 16:13
Why did UK used the 25th Pd artillery for just one role and not expaned its use like the Germans did?
25-pdr was not effective as an anti-aircraft gun (low muzzle velocity, limited elevation etc.)

During the interwar period militaries entertained themselves with the idea of universal gun equally employed against gound and air targets but that happened to be a dead end eventually.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Jan 2022 10:38

Linkagain wrote:
20 Jan 2022 16:13
The germans used the 88 as anti-aircraft; anti tank and Anti Infantry.
Why did UK used the 25th Pd artillery for just one role and not expaned its use like the Germans did?
As has been pointed out these are very different types of artillery piece. The German equivalent to the 25 pounder Gun Howitzer was the 10.5 cm leFH 18, the standard equipment for the German divisional artillery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10.5_cm_leFH_18 Both were far superior to the 8.8 cm Flak as field artillery. The ability to vary charges allowed howitzers to engage targets tucked in behind crests that could not be hit by a flat trajectory gun.

Artillery pieces are weapon systems that need target location and fire direction technology, manned by troops trained to carry out effective procedures. Target location and fire control for AA is very different to that needed by field or anti tank artillery. AA fire control drew on leadign edge radar technology. A field artillery regiment has a network of liaison teams trained to work with infantry and armour.

The Germans designed the 8.8 cm Flak guns to have the capability to engate tanks and other ground targets. During WW1 only the Germans had been on the recieving end of a massed tank attack. Mobile anti aircraft guns were regarded as a valuable anti tank reserve and used at Cambrai in 1917. In the early years of WW2 the Germans expected to have air superiority so Heavy AA was used as bunker busters and anti tank protection.

The British equivalant to the 8.8 cm Flak 36 was the QF 3.7-inch AA gun. The British designed this single mindely as a Heavy AA Gun as part of their pre war defence priority to defend UK from the Luftwaffe. 3.7 inch guns were to be deployed far from any front line. Technical tweeks such as anti tank sights and ammunition were have been regarded as an unnecessary over engineered distractions. That changed in 1940 when all Heavy AA were expected to have ground arcs to enage any paratroops or air landed AFVs. During the course of the war, sights, ammunition, radar directed fire control and procedures were developed to allow the 3.7Inch gun to operate as field anti tank and cosatal defence artillery. By 1944 Heavy AA was sufficiently vesatile for 3.7 inch guns to be deployed in Normandy ahead of Medum artillery.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by gebhk » 24 Jan 2022 13:19

Urmel wrote:
21 Jan 2022 12:44
When in danger of being overrun by tanks, any gun becomes an AT gun. That doesn't make it an AT gun though.
While of coiurse true, that does not really apply to the 25 pdr. This was designed as an anti-tank gun from the outset. Hence the significant (and adding significantly to the weight) and otherwise unnecessary features such as the turntable and anti-tank sights. At the time of its introduction it was a very efficacious anti-tank weapon. It did not go out of fashion because it was unefficacious, it went out of fashion partly because it became possible to do the same job with something smaller and lighter (smaller an lighter is always bettyer on the battlefield) and because of the increase in tank armour and gun range/HE effectiveness. In exactly the same way as anti-tank guns of the same generation went out of use. It just happened that in the artillery role it remained satisfactory and so remained in use in that role while its dedicated anti-tank contemporaries did not.

Hi Art
During the interwar period militaries entertained themselves with the idea of universal gun equally employed against gound and air targets but that happened to be a dead end eventually.
I would not limit this to the interwar period. The concept of universal weapons was, is and always will be on the agenda. And it's not just an issue of ground vs air - in the period of interest it was a three or even 4-way split (anti-infantry, anti-tank, anti-aircraft and HE). While generally having a balanced force of specialists is the best option because, all else beiong equal, they can engage their intended opponents most effectively and economically. Polish cavalry of the early 17th century was not highly effective because it had a super-weapon in the form of husaria as is often portrayed, but because of good coordination of its highly specialised components.

However, everything isn't always equal and it is those inequalities that sometimes make universality a better option. For example because of the increase in size, basic tanks have evolved from specialist anti-infantry (machine gun), anti-tank and artillery vehicles (for example the granddad of modern tank design, the Renault FT) to the modern concept of the MBT. In a wider context, to use a crude analogy, if you are able to fleld 12 men in a football competeition you are better of with 12 all-rounders. That way your team can put up a reasonable show against all comers rather than beating a few and being wiped out by all the others. If on the other hand you can bring a squad of 30 or 40, you can afford the luxury of fielding a mix of specialists tailor-made for each opposing team. I would suggest the Normandy example quoted below by Sheldrake fits into this paradigm.

I would also disagree that a universal gun against ground and air targets was a dead end eventually. The Ma Deuce is a perfect example that it did not. Given modern technology, especially microprocessing, I can easily see a bazooka-type weapon, for example, being equally effective against ground and air targets depending on ammunition, in a way that the 88mm could never be.

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Urmel » 25 Jan 2022 08:25

gebhk wrote:
24 Jan 2022 13:19
Urmel wrote:
21 Jan 2022 12:44
When in danger of being overrun by tanks, any gun becomes an AT gun. That doesn't make it an AT gun though.
While of coiurse true, that does not really apply to the 25 pdr. This was designed as an anti-tank gun from the outset. Hence the significant (and adding significantly to the weight) and otherwise unnecessary features such as the turntable and anti-tank sights. At the time of its introduction it was a very efficacious anti-tank weapon. It did not go out of fashion because it was unefficacious, it went out of fashion partly because it became possible to do the same job with something smaller and lighter (smaller an lighter is always bettyer on the battlefield) and because of the increase in tank armour and gun range/HE effectiveness. In exactly the same way as anti-tank guns of the same generation went out of use. It just happened that in the artillery role it remained satisfactory and so remained in use in that role while its dedicated anti-tank contemporaries did not.
I leave it up to Sheldrake to clear this up. First time I hear this. That it was designed as a weapon for direct fire is not in contention, and that it could serve as AT gun in emergency situations is well known.

Coming back to the topic at hand. Did the 25-pdr ever equip AT regiments in the same way as the 88 did, i.e. was it's primary use intended to be AT rather than field artillery? I am not aware, but happy to be educated.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: German 88 vs UK 25td PD Artillery

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Feb 2022 19:25

rcocean wrote:
22 Jan 2022 00:37
Because using a sophisticated high-velocity AA gun as a ground bombardment weapon is an inefficient use of resources. A bit like using a Ferrari to drive around a city centre.
General Marshall disagreed. In his BIENNIAL REPORTS OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, 1 JULY 1939-30 JUNE 1945, he specifically identifies the German 88 as the type of weapon the US army admired - and could have had if we had spent more on defense prior to December 1941. A triple threat. The 88 could destroy tanks, and then shoot HE airbursts to attack the Infantry. And function as a AAA weapon.

We tried to update the 90 mm AAA to attack tanks, but it took quite a while. Saying it was best not to use AAA guns as artillery ignores the benefit in having an Anti-tank gun that do more than one thing.
Art wrote:
22 Jan 2022 09:47
Linkagain wrote:
20 Jan 2022 16:13
Why did UK used the 25th Pd artillery for just one role and not expaned its use like the Germans did?
25-pdr was not effective as an anti-aircraft gun (low muzzle velocity, limited elevation etc.)

During the interwar period militaries entertained themselves with the idea of universal gun equally employed against gound and air targets but that happened to be a dead end eventually.
Then US effort at this revolved around the T7. That was a project to turn a 3" gun into a general purpose artillery weapon. Eventually the howitzer won favor for supporting the ground battle & the 105mm caliber howitzer became the cannon developed for the division weapon. A 3" high velocity gun was selected in 1941 by the Tank Destroyer Crops for near term use, & 90mmm for development, but for tactical reasons there not again considered a flexible carriage that would allow antiaircraft use. The 3" TD weapons were used as supplemental field artillery when the AT mission was not a priority. Excess wear on the cannon, mounts and carriages when firing large volumes of ammunition made the artillery role undesirable for the long run.

This leads back to one of the problems in designing a successful threeway cannon. Firing large volumes of high velocity ammunition requires a robust carriage & recoil mechanism. But if you want a AT gun or cannon for close support of Infantry or maneuver battalions a lighter more nimble carriage in needed. Howitzers allow greater use of reduced propellant charges extending the life of the cannon barrel, recoils parts, and carriage. AT guns just don't fire the massive volumes of ammo a AA gun or FA cannon does. The 88 was great as a AT gun in terms of destructive power of its ammo, but its mass and carriage made it a lot less nimble. 180 seconds longer limbering up, or a extra 120 seconds leaving a firing position may not seem like a big difference, but when dodging counter fires or moving to a alternate firing position 4-5 minutes counts for a lot. Compare the weight and limbering time of the 88 FLAK weapons vs a PAK cannon & the problem becomes a bit clearer. When emplacing and firing the larger robust carriage takes longer to emplace, dig in, and camouflage.

Next there is a knotty problem of priority of fires that affects tactical deployment. Deployment for AT use means the gun is further forward & more exposed/vulnerable to counter fires, deployed behind masking terrain & further back for optimal use as field artillery makes it a lot less useful as AT weapon, & neither one is optimal for positioning as AA artillery. This priority of fires extends to actual firing operations, Adding aircraft and a specific AT target group to your priority selection decision makes things so much more complicated when coordinating fires from 70, 80, or 100 cannon supporting a ground combat division.

Bottom line is the complications in design of a universal cannon means at least one & likely two missions utility will be compromised badly. Possibly all three.

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