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Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



To be fair that's a running joke from the one time that guy tried to claim they were a success, despite the vehicles all being provisional designs of necessity and cost, and the US abandoning tank destroyer doctrine immediately after the war.

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Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



The thing about the transition from age-of-sail ship classes to modern ship classes is that a sailing ship can just keep going for months if it has the provisions, and then the composition and deployment of your fleet is really just a question of 'how big and how many can you afford'. Once you need bunkers to keep your ship moving then suddenly everything becomes a question of how much coal-later-oil you have available at your staging areas to support operations. Neptune's Inferno points out that the reason that so much naval fighting in the solomons was done with cruisers was because while the Battleships were available on both sides, nobody had the fuel readily available to sortie them that far out more than once or twice without causing significant problems. Hence you opt to build a mixed fleet so that you always have the right sized ship for the job.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



I've read some stuff on the War of Spanish Succession (particularly the Battle of Blenheim) where the author took the view that the Anglo-Dutch cavalry had at that point mostly abandoned the caracole in favour of sabres and the all-out charge, and credits that with some really lobsided victories.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Edgar Allen Ho posted:

Didn’t ACW cavalry follow fairly different doctrine to contemporary european cavalry? There’s nothing equivalent to lancers or cuirassiers, and they all seem to basically be dragoons.

I think the main difference is that Europe doesn't have the vast empty spaces that the US continent does, so while full blown independent Cavalry raids and expeditions are a thing in the ACW, when it comes to the Austro-Prussian war or the Franco-German war they exist much more as a screening and scouting force.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



HookedOnChthonics posted:

Why would a liaison aircraft be roped to a truck, driven onto a landing craft, and sailed across the channel, rather than assembled in the UK and flown? This is presumably some time after the battle of Cherbourg.

Why would you if you can sail it?
Wear and tear on the engine.
If you are flying it, you need the pilot to come to the plane.
If you assemble it in England then you have an airfield in England fully staffed with aircrew and engineers and pilots who aren't doing anything but putting planes together and then flying them off somewhere else.
If there's bad weather in the Channel you can't fly.

I think I caught most of them.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Cessna posted:

A modern soldier is MUCH better equipped. Admittedly my personal experience is outdated, I got out in the 90s. And I was an armor guy, so I wasn't working under the constraints of an infantry soldier. (Weight wasn't a consideration, so we'd carry all kinds of crap, see below.)

In tl;dr terms, modern stuff weighs less and takes up less space, so you can carry

That was true when you got out, but the war in Iraq was basically 15 straight years of equipment getting loaded onto infantry to solve all their problems. Personal protection was a big one because the body armour you take for IEDs is the heaviest of all. But there's also little stuff like the acceptable amount of water to keep on you going up and up.

We're now in the bit of the cycle where there serious arguments over how much of that gear can be permanently chucked and home much has enduring necessity.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



I just don't see how the A-bomb conversation is separable from the strategic bombing context. Once you're 5 years deep into a war in which everyone has committed to the idea that aerial bombing of cities is a thing and you are nightly throwing out thousands of aircrew with a 5% attrition rate per mission, I don't think someone responsible for all of that can justify not using the bomb once it's available.

Alchenar fucked around with this message at 00:13 on Dec 13, 2020

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



If we want to talk about unambiguously amoral, the refusal to provide any sort of substantial medical assistance while allied nations rushed medical researchers to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to watch the survivors die and take notes was pretty unambiguously evil.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



GotLag posted:

The US government was trying to wrap up the war before the Soviets could get involved, but at the same time they refused to offer what the Japanese leadership wanted (and that they got in the end anyway) - assurance that they could surrender but keep the emperor. Why did they get so hung up on this? I'm not really convinced by the theory that it was based on popular domestic US opinion.

I think popular US opinion was a reason but relying on it too heavily conflicts with the evidence of leaders saying 'if we let the war run on into 46 too late we risk popular opinion turning against the war'. I think 2 other reasons:

1) Because gently caress you that's why. The US had won the war, at huge material and human cost. It was in a position to dictate terms. There's no moral obligation to moderate those terms because the side that had lost and was unquestionably morally responsible for the war needs a few more kicks before it accepts reality.
2) 1918. The Japanese and German regimes in WW2 didn't just need to be defeated, they needed to be utterly discredited and torn apart. No repeat of Versailles, no stab-in-the-back myths, no surviving militarism. It was really important that the losers in WW2 accept that they had totally lost and that everything that happened next was in the gift of the victors to decide. No space allowed for someone to turn around in 10 years time and claim that if only the government had held its nerve and fought harder then Japan could have received better terms.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Invasion casualty projections are all speculative, but it seems odd to dismiss the hundreds of thousands-to-millions projection given that the closest reference point is the Battle of Okinawa and we know for a fact the Japanese defence plan was to put a bamboo spear in the hands of every civilian and expect them to die for their Emperor. Those numbers seem entirely plausible.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



bewbies posted:

Related to atomic attacks discussion:

My own thoughts about Operation Starvation is that it likely would have ended the war sooner had it been implemented as soon as the Marianas were available as bomber bases. It also would have killed way, way, way more Japanese civilians than the firebombing/atomic attacks would have.

Had they gone down that route, how do you think modern folk would think of it as compared to the atomic attacks?

Far less bad. We remember the blockade of German in WW1 as 'a thing that happened' despite it leading to mass famine in 17-18. But I don't think it would be remembered nearly as significantly is for the same reason it wouldn't have ended the war - you can really drag out a worsening food supply and not be forced into any critical decisions if you don't want to. Starvation is a sign you are losing a war, but by 1945 the Japanese government has known for a long time that it's losing the war.

The Japanese war faction pins its hopes on two things:
1) We can negotiate peace through the Soviets
2) We can make an invasion so bloody the US will negotiate rather than go for it.

Because it happens so quickly we'll never know the precise proximate cause of the decision, but in 24 hours both of those hopes get wiped out. No, Stalin is not going to broker a peace. No, the Americans might not feel the need to invade - they might just keep dropping nukes on us. My feeling is that the psychological shock of both arguments collapsing at once meant the war faction just didn't have space to create a new argument for why Japan must fight on to the death.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Similar to focussing strategic bombing in Germany on fuel production, only quite late in the war was it appreciated how you go from being really lovely and annoying to a country to managing to cause actual structural collapse of a society from the air.

Alchenar fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Dec 14, 2020

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



ChubbyChecker posted:

Could it though?

I think (provided we are willing to set aside the 'moral atrocity' element of the discussion for a moment) there's a really interesting dimension to the strategic bombing argument in WW2. The reason at the time proponents argued for the creation of these vast bomber fleets at enormous expense was that they were a way to carry the war to Germany in the years before the Allies could undertake serious ground operations. Yet its only in February 1945 (the month of Dresden and the commencement of low level firebombing of Japan) that strategic bombing goes from being something that has a noticeable but non-critical impact to having the kind of effects that might be war winning on their own if continued. That's after Allied armies are already advancing on German soil and the US Navy is launching the penultimate set of island hopping invasions before eyeing up the Japanese mainland.

Aerial bombing had an impact and could have been decisive, but in strategic terms it turned out to be slower than just walking.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Fangz posted:

"Make Hitler surrender" is a very specific criteria though.

There's a fair argument to be made about whether strategic bombing was moral, or cost-effective. But it did have an impact - if nothing else, it's not like the Germans just sat back and let the bombs drop. All the Flaktowers and AAA cannons and Jet fighters and night fighters and special planes with upward pointing guns... all of those were in response to the strategic bombing threat, so from the German regime itself it was clear that the campaign mattered.

I think there's a danger that we base too much on state media of the time, which in both Germany and the UK were keen to invoke this idea of a "blitz spirit" of fortitude in response to air bombing, and ignore real morale impact of air bombing on the population that can go unrecorded.

I think there's a fair case that Strategic Bombing would have been enough to get Himmler to sue for peace on 'the Nazi party gets to stay in control of Germany, no war crimes tribunals etc' because we know in reality that that's the delusional plan he had in 1945. The thing is, we also know that Himmler's attempt to negotiates came way too late and he never seriously contemplated deposing Hitler - something that would have been a minimum step even if the Allies decided to about-face on unconditional surrender.

This conversation takes us back to Gay Black Hitler. The Strategic bombing campaign should have made reasonable people surrender. But if the Nazis and Imperial Japan had been reasonable people then there wouldn't have been a war.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Probably South Africa, but nobody in the region really has the ability to fight more than a cross-border conflict.

Paul Kagame is by some distance the most competent military leader on the continent.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



SlothfulCobra posted:

I guess that's probably plausible considering France's history before and after the war, but was there anything in particular that was causing civil unrest that they were worried about? Or did they just think that some charismatic officer could take hold of the entire army and coup the federal government without needing some wedge to build public support?

France literally had a de-facto fascist military coup in 1940.

And when that happened, most French people kinda just went along with it.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



bewbies posted:

I watched Midway this week and was geniuinely surprised how hard they seem to have tried to make it historically accurate.

It was still a pretty bad movie but I appreciated the effort

Yeah it's a bad film and it's a bit hollywoodised but it gets the sequence of events about right, there's clearly a bit of labour-of-love in catching the little anecdotes of the battle, and it doesn't as far as I know fall into any of the common misconceptions of the battle.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Edgar Allen Ho posted:

Worth remembering that this is what happens in basically every fascist takeover. For every commited ideological fanatic there’s 50 people going “eh, they won’t eat my face.”

Well yeah, every successful fascist takeover. Because that's axiomatic.

e: but you are right, I didn't mean that there was a French specific fascist tendency, just that the Republican leadership at the time were entirely reasonably concerned that French democracy was a bit fragile.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Taerkar posted:

The most common version I've seen/heard was it was the British dropping the wooden bomb on a German airfield. But at the same time if you know that they're wasting effort on a fake why tell them about it?

Because now they know they wasted effort, but they don't know why their effort was wasted.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

It depends. The confederacy had many very fewer rifled guns than the union, and mostly used the 12lb Napoleon-a smoothbore gun that was basically unchanged from 1815. It could shoot accurately to a mile or so. Rifled guns became more common, especially in the later war and especially on the union side, and were considerably more accurate and longer ranged (a 10-lber parrot field gun had a max range of around ~4500 yards). It's my understanding that they also more commonly used explosive shells than simple solid shot which further increased their deadliness. Big naval and siege guns could shoot up to 7000+ yards. Smoothbores and rifles could also shoot cannister with an effective range of 300-400 yards.

That being said, I'm not sure how frequently they were actually able to engage at the limits of their range outside of sieges/bombardments. Many civil war battles were fought in more or less wooded, broken terrain where the opposing line might only become visible when they were 800yards away.

The big indicator for the effectiveness of artillery in the ACW is the changes that occurred in infantry tactics: the battlefield column just ceases to be a formation anyone uses. Very very quickly people realise you can't do the Napoleonic thing of marching up to just outside musket range in column and then deploy into line, instead you have to pick a start-line that's safe to form up in, then cross the battlefield in line to present as small a target as possible.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Also it's not a bit of the story that's talked about much by people espousing CONFEDERATE CAVALRY SUPERIORITY, but a willingness to use those forces for raids into the interior of the North which were very war-crimey was a strategic use for them that the North didn't mirror.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Cessna posted:

The Union did do cavalry raids. The Chambersburg/Chickahominy raid of 1862, or Grierson's Raid (part of Vicksburg) for examples. But, yes, they weren't as common, or as into rounding up innocent people and forcing them into slavery.


For another unpleasant fact, in the pre-war South mounted patrols of slave catchers were relatively common, giving southerners another way of practicing their cavalry skills.

Yeah sorry, didn't mean to discount them. What I meant was that for the North cavalry raids were generally an activity in conjunction with a larger army campaign for the purpose of supporting the success of that campaign, whereas in the South raiding was a strategic task in itself (to take the fight to Northern soil and impact war support).

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



FastestGunAlive posted:

I think it’s textbook as a case study of small unit leadership and decision making, not “if you encounter a fortified position execute the Brecourt protocol”

Yeah it's just 'this is someone applying the principles of shock, fire and manoeuvre in a way that demonstrates how an aggressive attack can defeat a numerically superior foe'.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Bombing was of questionable effectiveness (as the thread recently went over) and to get to Sweden you have to fly over a ton of mountains.

And then once you bomb them they go from neutral and selling iron to the nazis to entering the war on Hitler side.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



White Coke posted:

1916 pops up in some places I've read, but I haven't seen any primary sources that say 1916 was seen as some kind of point of no return, so I was wondering why multiple people quote this idea like it's a fact. I want to know where this came from, and why it seems to have achieved the level of common knowledge since nobody feels the need to cite a source.

The issue was, as Weka said, that Germany thought if there wasn't a war soon Russia's modernization would make it unstoppable, so Germany encouraged Austria-Hungary to start a war with Serbia because they thought they had a narrowing window of opportunity for victory. You seem to think the calculation was made after the war started, and I see why it confused you since Russia's weakness became apparent very quickly so Germany wouldn't have had any reason to think that in two years they'd somehow fix all their problems and turn into the proverbial steamroller.


I'd need to go back to the library for a source, but my recollection is that there was a specific Railway project slated to complete in 1916 that would have cut the Russian mobilisation time to below what even the optimistic versions of Schlieffen said the Germans needed to defeat France.

The reason that threshold matters is because it's the point at which no German Staff Officer can say with a straight face that they have any hope of winning a war. The one plan becomes based on maths that doesn't add up anymore.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Cythereal posted:

Personally I'd say Serbia and Russia did.

I think the "Germans started the war!" thing is a self-aggrandizing myth from the victorious powers unwilling to take a hard look at the consequences of their geopolitical power games.

A very curious way of letting Germany off the hook for saying to Austria "go kill a bunch of Serbs to feel good about yourself, we're sure you can do it fast enough to settle the matter before Russia gets involved".

Oh no we are mobilising to attack France how could this happen

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



SlothfulCobra posted:

I feel like blaming Germany solely for WW1 ignores (or worse, purposefully plays down) the fact that all the great powers had been readying up for war for a while and had set up a system of alliances specifically to escalate whatever conflict came next into something where somebody gets to destroy their rival and be the star power of the next great rebalancing of Europe.

France in particular wanted to get revenge on Germany for the last war, while Britain wanted to muck about and be dominant over the continent.


Everyone war readying up for a war, however;

a) it was Germany that aimed to up-end the balance of power in Europe and establish a new order in which it gained some Places in The Sun.
b) it was Germany that had a war plan which said 'the moment things look remotely tense in Europe, invade France'. Nobody else was committed to a general war in-all-circumstances in the way that Germany was.
c) Alliances are supposed to help you avoid the need for war, but Germany's interpretation of being allied with Austria-Hungary was to urge it on to have a war in order to have a feel-good victory parade. Again, France had wanted Alsace -Lorraine back for 40 years but was not actively trying to prompt a war to get it back.


e: if bombing a factory to knock it out is difficult, bombing an iron mine is... more so.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Pretty much anyone going to a professional staff college anywhere in the world will at some point have to write a thesis on some element of military history. Quite a few of them end up in this thread.

e: ^^ by 1914 Serbia is a full blown rogue state. It's the reason when Austria said "You gave these terrorists the weapons they used to kill our crown prince" everyone else in the world shrugged and said "yeah, probably"

Alchenar fucked around with this message at 00:27 on Dec 28, 2020

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



'Losing ships' is a superficial way of looking at categorising losses that really have to be divided between 'genuinely damaging transport losses' and 'picket destroyers that were deliberately treated as disposable assets in order to protect the valuable bits of the fleet'.

It was definitely very close and there was no margin for error.

It's also an area where you run into problems being lax on defining 'not peer' in terms of actual capabilities. Iran is not a peer competitor to the USA, but if a war starts with a carrier group transiting the straits of Hormuz then you are going to see a lot of US ships on fire.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



The UK really worked hard to formalise and fix the casuality notification process during/in the wake of Afghanistan: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/joint-casualty-and-compassionate-centre-jccc

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



If you had to be stationed anywhere on the frontline in WW1, right up on the coast at Nieuport is where you'd want to be.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



High readiness, high mobility light infantry absolutely have a place in a military that wants to be able to react globally to a crisis within days, but if they had a place in modern high intensity conventional warfare then you would have seen some use of them in either Iraq war.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



FrangibleCover posted:

The US did a brigade strength drop into Northern Iraq in 2003. Minimal resistance, all objectives achieved. Doesn't really prove anything except that they had a load of spare aircraft.

What I'd actually argue about is the utility of Airborne forces as a high readiness, high mobility force. Desert Shield dropped an airborne division into the Saudi Desert to square off against the Iraqi tanks. The bluff worked, but if the Iraqis had just gone hell for leather they could have minced the Airborne with their armoured battlegroups. The strategic mobility of these forces is high but their tactical mobility is Remain In Place and their firepower turns it into Die In Place against any competent opponent.

There's any number of circumstances where you might want to put a brigade of infantry in 48 hours where they won't have to fight an armoured division. Or where the sudden presence of those troops forestalls any risk of conflict.

The ability to suddenly be somewhere and then work out tomorrow what your sustained lines of supply are creates enormous freedom of action in a crisis that you just don't get outside of the Tier 1 and 2 military powers.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



PeterCat posted:

It only works against third world countries that don't have any air defense though.

But that point you got such over match why bother?

Because you want to be there in 24 hours from now, not in the 8 weeks it's going to take to get a heavy brigade onto ships from wherever it is stationed, sail it to wherever you need to go, and now you actually have to fight to establish a SPOD because you gave enough notice that even a third world country can prepare to put on a best possible fight, oh and also you have to bring the large and expensive logistical baggage you need in order to get the thing to actually do anything. Speed matters.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Kemper Boyd posted:

The VDV is also mostly concerned about doing ops like "land in the Baltic states" or "drop into Minsk" or whatnot, they're probably not planning to drop a continent away. So they can build their capacities around that.

Yeah, they're about Russia/the USSR being able to make a lightly mechanised brigade/division/corps suddenly appear at a crisis point on its border within a few days using internal strategic airlift and not needing to pre-position equipment. This is a big deal when you have a land border that stretches across 9 different time zones.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

they were pretty goofy but keep in mind that everyone except for the US, USSR, and to a lesser extent the UK was loving goofy as hell. like France is probably giving Italy a run for their money, as is Japan

At least the French military industrial complex was quite good at achieving its objective, which was to spread state largesse as broadly as possible.

e: French tanks aren't even the biggest issue. They had them and they had them in the places they decided they wanted them. The great mystery of France 1940 is 'Where did all my fighters go?'

Alchenar fucked around with this message at 16:56 on Jan 18, 2021

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008




Check today's edit history.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



I think Duncan is pretty good about saying "look the record is really unclear, but here is my personal narrative on what I think likely happened". You get the caveat that it's his personal take.

Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



Baron Porkface posted:

Is it a hot take to say that the Macedonian Front was the turning point of WW1? It liquidated Bulgaria and exposed both Austria-Hungary and Ottomans to an attack that they had no preparation for and resulted in their groveling armistices. Is this a common belief outside America/Britain or did I get suckered by Greek nationalists?

No it was very much the Kaiserschlacht. You got suckered by Greek nationalists.

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Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008



The fall of Tobruk in 1942 was a bit shocking because it had survived a 241 day siege in 1941. There was a lot of propaganda effort swept up in that defensive success and so when the pendulum swung again in the desert and Rommel it fell (along with ambiguous instructions as to whether they were to to fight or evacuate) it was a pain.

German soldiers knew they were losing the war but it's been the subject of quite a lot of research that that a fairly large proportion of them genuinely believed in the regime propaganda that if they just held out a bit longer the secret super-weapons would turn the course of the war. There's anecdotes of captured German soldiers in Normandy apologising to US troops about New York 'because it's been bombed away'.

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