Monday, 20 November 2017

Battle of Cambrai November 20-December 7, 1917

On this day 100 years ago the Battle of Cambrai began (November 20-December 7, 1917), and was an Allied attack followed by the biggest German counter-attack against the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) since 1914, in the First World War. Cambrai, in the d├ępartement of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, was an important supply point for the German Siegfriedstellung (known to the British as the Hindenburg Line) and capture of the town and the nearby Bourlon Ridge would threaten the rear of the German line to the north. The massed attack of 476 Mark IV tanks of the Royal Tank Regiment punched a gap 19km (12 miles) wide and 6km (4 miles) deep into the Hindenburg Line at Cambrai. This breakthrough was in conjunction with an artillery barrage, and it was the first time that the tank had played a dominant role (although the tank had made its combat debut on September 15, 1916, when 32 tanks were employed along a five-mile front).
American troops played a slight role in the fighting on 30 November, when a detachment of the 11th Engineer (Railway) Regiment, working on construction's behind British lines dug reserve trenches at Fins; they were later engaged in combat and had 28 casualties
Of the 476 tanks which had taken part in the breakthrough at Cambrai, 179 were lost. The breakthrough may have been decisive if the supporting infantry (tanks can't move without infantry support) had not stopped to reduce each strongpoint in turn, instead of driving ahead in depth. The attack petered out into a stalemate, and the German's sealed the breach in their line.Some accounts claim five were knocked out by an artillery officer, Theodor Kr├╝ger Feld Artillerie Regiment 108. Field Marshal Haig's dispatch praised the gunner's bravery in his diary.
When the Battle of Cambrai ended on December 7, 1917 the Allies had suffered 44,000 casualties, and the German's 45,000.





Monday, 13 November 2017

If German armour was so good why did they lose the War?

This is a question I've been asked a few times. Well the answer is that the German's sacrificed speed for armour and armament. Unlike the Allies who sacrificed armour and armament for speed. Also the Allies built in quantity, so it was a case of quantity over quality. The two most mass-produced Tanks the Allies fielded during WW2 were the T34 and the M4 Sherman, of which 84,070 were built of the former and 49,234 were built of the latter. Whereas the German's didn't build in such quantity, as their most mass produced tank of the war, the PzKpfw IV only 8,553 of all variants were built. And the Tiger I, the most feared German tank of the war only 1,347 were built. And the King Tiger or Tiger II only 492 were built.
Another reason the German's lost the war was because they were overstretched and the Allies could afford to replace their armoured vehicles which had been lost, whereas the German's couldn't, so it was definitely a case of quantity over quality. Also another reason was that the Allied bombing offensive of the war also put a serious delay on Tank production in Germany. It was only until May, 1945 that the British got a decent Tank which could have squared up to the Tiger and King Tiger on an equal footing and that was the A41 Centurion (4,423 built), which were deployed too late to see any action during WW2. And the only Tank that the US Army equal to the Tiger and King Tiger was the M26 Pershing (2,212 built), and only 20 M26s were deployed to the European theatre as part of the Zebra Mission (a program to get newly developed weapons into combat situations). The 20 M26s fielded during the Zebra Mission were T26E3s (early development versions of the M26).

© Darren Greenwood 2017

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Hello and welcome.

Hello and welcome to this new blog where I shall endeavor to tell the history of military vehicles from WW1 to the present day. I don't claim to be knowledgeable as Mr David Fletcher or Steven Zaloga. I'm just an amateur historian who does in depth research for my model builds as I find research the best bit of any model I build. I also enjoy finding out the subject as I build it. Anyway enough waffling and please enjoy my blog.