Thursday, 28 July 2016

Behind the scenes pwnage

The smackdown of Mjolnir66

Exactly one year ago, I released a post in response to some LOLcows on who tried to debunk one of the most popular articles on my blog, titled modern army vs WW2 army. In that post, I attempted to make comparative analysis' between armys from two different eras, and to determine who would have an advantage in war. Since it was published way back in 2012, when my knowledge base was more limited, the article suffers from certain shortcomings. It was a crude article, and if I had to write it again today, there are quite a few things I would do differently. Overall, though, I stand by most of the claims I made, along with the now infamous rebuttal that I made available to my detractors. A chap named Mjolnir66 created a reaction thread which stirred up so much anger and indignation among the SBers that they launched an invasion of my blog. I actually didn't mind that part too much, as it gave me an opportunity to express my true feelings and insult the little pricks without being moderated. One of the anonymous commentors simply tossed ad hominems at me and ran: But that didn't help as the user in question (ckk185) was later named and shamed by his peers, exactly like the simpering beta male he is. That exchange was a funny story in itself which had me in stitchs. However, another user going by the name of Whiskey Golf decided to engage me in a 1 on 1 debate, proving that wasn't composed solely of lightweights. We had a long and drawn out argument that was actually quite respectful, even though we occasionally misunderstood each other. While this was going on, I was also engaged in arguments via PM with two of the detractors from my original article.

Although these discussions were much less civil, I am proud to say that I gave both of them a firm smack down :) Unfortunately, Mjolnir66 had an ace up his sleeve. As part of his reaction thread, he also did a point-by-point 'rebuttal' which convinced many people that I had been owned. That was a real pain in the ass, because it meant I'd have to make yet another response. After a week of furious research, I was able to piece together such a strong argument that I was certain it could end the discussion once and for all, and prove just how wrong these military morons were. Unfortunately, my rebuttal never got a chance to make its debut. I had been in discussion with a super moderator who claimed he could offer me a closed debate with Mjolnir66, and keep the peanut gallery at bay. But as soon as I showed interest in this, the moderator in question retracted many of his conditions and stated that if my posts were buried under a mountain of responses, there was nothing he could do. [1] This was the first inclination that I was being set up to get dog piled, which is how babys always win debates. The second confirmation came when I declined the moderators offer, and he voiced regret that I wouldn't get to 'flail in futility' before his spanish inquisition. (To which I said: 'Phew, thanks for revealing your bias ahead of time! Its better that I find out now than in the middle of a debate you would be moderating!') Seeing as its been one year since I published my article and set off a giant shit storm, I have this weird urge to celebrate... The best way I can do this is by publishing my shelved argument against Mjolnir66, and proving that he hit nothing but thin air with his response. So behold.

Authors note: During these responses, he often ignored the context of my remarks, and those I was replying to. Because of that, I will sometimes need to include {indentations} to clarify what the hell hes talking about. As before, the arguments of my opponent will be listed in bold, while my rebuttal will be listed directly afterwards without bolding. I will continue to work under the assumption that the modern army is represented by america, while the WW2 army is represented by germany.

Massive pwnage is coming your way!

Really? From 8 pages of stuff, this is all you can find to "rebut"? One insanely specific piece of an argument, which is entirely pointless because I'd love to see those 88s with their 7600m ceiling engage even a Reaper drone thats sat at 10,000 or more meters, watching them and designating stuff for JAM lobs that drop the bombs from so far away the target isn't even aware planes were headed for it.

This is exactly the sortof diversionary BS I have come to expect from you. I was responding to Peptucks stupid claim that a flight of AC-130s could safely circle outside the range of AA guns, while annihilating the WW2 armys vehicles in the field. How did you choose to 'debunk' me? By ignoring that point completely, and having SEAD missions performed alongside the close air support (CAS). This is amusing because you would expect the strike fighters to be battling for air supremacy, or bombing operational targets like command centers, fuel depots, armorys, and marshaling areas, not going after some AA guns that are shooting down AC-130s! Even the USAF doesn't have enough aircraft to do both missions simultaneously: They're going to need to prioritise. Regardless, it doesn't matter whether or not a specific aircraft (which isn't exactly common in the USAF) can fly outside the ceiling of an 88mm flak gun. [2] Thats not the point. Proper air defense forces the attacking planes to fly high, to fly in less efficient strike packages, to fly with partially defensive payload, to minimize the number of attack runs, and to attack from a long distance. That reduces their net effectiveness overall. While a belt of flak guns and their sensors aren't much of a threat to fast moving, high altitude jets, they are enough of an obstacle to deny modern troops their CAS.

The modern world's biggest problem is choosing which way to perform DEAD, not actually performing it. And once the radars are gone, the 88s are going to be next to useless anyway. What exactly are WW2 AA assets going to do against even amateur hour low level fast jets, let alone long range, high altitude runs?

Flak guns aren't dependent upon radar, and your claim to the contrary is rather perplexing, because sets like the wurzburg were only used in a supplementary role by the wehrmacht (often being sidelined in favor of optical and acoustic tracking). As a matter of fact, its highly counter-productive to depend on radar when the target aircraft are flying nap-of-earth. [3] This is not only because the radars line of sight can be broken by terrain features, but also because stray returns from the ground can destroy signal clarity. And to answer your question of how 'WW2 AA assets' can respond to fast, low flying jet aircraft, theres a very simple answer: Light anti-aircraft guns. Weapons which saw little change between world war 2 and the vietnam war, and were responsible for the lions share of 1737 aircraft lost by the USAF. All but 55 of which were fixed wing... Just for fun, try comparing the 20mm flakvierling 38 to the 23mm zu-23-2: Both the german and russian AA guns use manual elevation and traverse. The zu-23-2 has a ceiling of 8200 feet, and a fire rate of 400 RPM. The flakvierling 38 has a ceiling of 7200 feet, and a fire rate of 800 RPM. The russian gun benefits from a high tech gyroscopic gunsight, whereas the german gun only has a reflector gunsight. Thats about the only difference. Going by their sheer number of kills scored in vietnam, light anti-aircraft guns from 20mm to 37mm caliber are more than capable of shooting down any pilots attempting to fly nap of earth. Realistically, the jets aren't even going to try and overfly an area infested with AA guns: Instead, they will rely on the safer method of toss bombing.

Spot the difference: German 20mm
 and russian 23mm anti-aircraft guns

And the fighters have no need to dogfight, because the vast majority of any WW2 airforce would be destroyed on the ground. Surprise isn't all that hard to achieve when your opponent has no counter SEAD precautions and you can break the sound barrier with ease. And this is also ignoring the fact that you use different aircraft for SEAD compared to CAPs.

Even if you are correct in assuming that a pre-emptive strike would destroy most of the WW2-era air force (which is a debatable topic that could fill an entire blog post), such a task would still take several days to achieve at the least. Regardless of what craft you use to neutralise their air force and air defenses, the initial work load and threat environment will still be too high for the modern troops to count on CAS. And asserting that WW2 forces have 'no counter SEAD precautions' is beyond silliness, its just willful ignorance. There are dozens of ways they can protect their radar sites from the threat of anti-radiation missiles: The radar can be turned off and obscurred with chaff, decoy radars could be used to play keep away, and the missile can be blinded with radar jammers, or lured away by trucks with corner reflectors. Moreover, barrage balloons can be inserted into the missiles flight path, and the radar can even be separated from its antenna (expandability for the win!). The list of possibilitys goes on. So despite what lockheed martin has told you, its not all about gold plated equipment. Cleverness and improvisation plays a role too. [4] Anyway, the american experience of SEAD is highly misleading, given the nature of their recent opponents. In the gulf war, the iraqis deployed fewer SAMs to protect their 43 divisions than the soviets would have deployed to protect even one division in the field! To put it bluntly, the USAF had a much easier time in iraq than they did in vietnam, not least due to the vastly different terrain.

A Panavia Tornado loaded up with cluster bombs or Brimstones rolling in at Mach 1 on the deck is a complete OCP for a WW2 force. Let alone a B1B stitting off at 10,000m dropping GPS guided JDAMs all day.
Wait a minute, stop the presses! Did you just claim that a fancy plane with fancy bombs would represent an outside context problem? Thats just astonishing that you would think that. For background, the OCP was devised by iain banks to reference an extreme situation "most civilizations would encounter just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop." As of this date, there are only a handful of events that would qualify as an outside context problem: Contact with aliens, superintelligences, and time travelers are among them. Armys from the future could certainly represent an OCP, but thats due to their identity and the circumstances of their arrival. The exotic technology wielded by them wouldn't each represent a separate OCP! Thats a ludicrous idea on par with the creationist belief in transitionary fossils. [5] Even if we were to accept this redefinition of the outside context problem, Mjolnir66, your claims would still be groundless. Are you aware that by 1912, an albatros F-2 biplane was used to drop bombs in the 1st balkan war, and that by 1944, Me 262 jets had been used to drop butterfly bombs in the 2nd world war? If you want those panavia tornados with their cluster bombs to qualify as an OCP, you'd need to send them back a hellufova lot further than WW2. Maybe the spanish american war would do :) But again, my quibble with Peptuck was about the ability of field units to fight off gunships and helicopters, which you answered by bringing in completely unrelated shit about bombers and strike aircraft. Thats nothing but a red herring.

This is what iain banks meant when he created the term 
'outside context problem.' But the LOLcows have ruined it

This whole section is wrong on the part of Dark Voice. However, I can correct it with ease. There is a reason we use 5.56 now over 7.62 and 30 06. Because 5.56 is just flat out better. Since the invention of guns, infantry combat has almost without exception taken place below 200m. And at that difference, even 5.56 from a 10.5 inch barrel is entirely lethal. Its also lighter, has less recoil, the weapons are lighter and has a much better ballistic path (ie flatter). This means more accurate fire, more rapidly and for longer, which is entirely critical in an infantry fight.

Just so we're clear, you're not correcting Dark Voices thesis, you're correcting his faulty arguments (which are full of distortion and inaccuracy). The range that most firefights occur at isn't in dispute. What is disputable is the claim that small calibers like 5.56mm are 'flat out better' than 7.62mm. The debate over rifle caliber has many gives and takes which you brush aside with a flaccid wave of your hand. Experience has shown that while the 5.56mm is a good killer, it is not a good stopper. One properly placed shot from the 5.56mm is just as likely to kill someone as any other rifle caliber, but it will do so slower, and leave the subject more functional while they are dying. In this vein, your assertion that 5.56mm is 'entirely lethal' from a 10.5 inch barrel is quite misguided. M855 rounds have a thicker jacket than the old M193, which means they fragment much less reliably. And when fired out of a barrel that short, 5.56mm projectiles won't even yaw past 12-15 meters. That means it won't transfer as much energy, which seriously reduces its wounding potential. Meanwhile, full power rounds like 7.92x57mm and 7.62x63mm have better terminal effect (due to their greater energy and surface area), and are superior against body armor and hard barriers. They also have greater suppressive effect over 5.56x45mm, due to the loudness of their sonic boom.

Again, he's wrong, but you are also entirely wrong. The first thing it says on the wikipedia about ESAPI plates is they stop AP 30 06 rounds. And, you know, I've seen it happen. And there are plenty of videos of it happening. And your video doesn't work.

When I stated that body armor like the IOTV won't protect soldiers from full power ammo, I had a firm scientific basis on which to do so. ESAPI plates may negate M2 AP as a first round stop, but it can't handle multiple rounds in a tight grouping. Why? Because they are made of ceramics like boron carbide, which means the plates are mechanically brittle. When struck by armor piercing rounds, they experience a highly inelastic collision and form large tensile cracks. Followup shots have a much easier time getting through the plate, especially if they hit the comminuted zone. This is confirmed to be the case with ESAPI, and if you have any doubts, watch the field tests again using this link. The results come as no surprise to anyone who has read the armys COPD (contract purchase description). The plates are tested with a minimum spacing of 6 inchs, which is so overgenerous as to be suspicious. With such parameters, you can't really claim that ESAPI is multi-hit capable.

He again means plates instead of Kevlar. Again, I'd like to point you to my multiple friends who have taken plate hits from 7.62R and basically ignored them. Because with the kevlar backer, they may break a rib or leave a nasty bruise, but that about all they do.

Big surprise, you're wrong again. Dark Voice specifically referenced kevlar, and hence, he was claiming that soft body armor could stop rifle calibers. Despite that embarassing gaffe, ESAPI is known to have problems with its backface signature, which result in higher trauma levels than other armor systems. So you can stop pretending that its some COD juggernaught armor that allows you to LOL at full power rifles. Like it or not, your anecdotes are less important than the established facts about interceptor vests. If the enemy has semi-automatics like the M1 garand or gewher 43, they can use a double tap to defeat the plate. Thats exactly what the analyists in that video did, put two rounds on top of each other. Even a single hit from M2 AP (or its equivalents) could probably cause a compression wound. They have more penetrating power than an M995 AP round fired from an M-16 rifle, for christ sake! And not to be pedantic, but most gunshot wounds afflict the limbs and the head, especially if the soldier was behind cover when hit.

Interceptor body armor doesn't adhere to NIJ 
standards, so backspace deformation is high

You know, having less radio comms than your opponent isn't a good thing. Telephones, messengers, signal lamps flares and smoke all have major disadvantages when compared to a decent VHF set. The latter 3 because they are utterly retarded and will just lead to your positions getting plastered by artilley. I've done telephone comms, both laying my own line, and using pre-existing lines, and they are utterly worthless on anything but the defence.

{Mjolnir66 is commenting on my refutation of Dark Voice, who asserted that any radio transmissions made by the WW2 force would be intercepted and decoded} Telephones are only useful on the defense? Well duh, thats like saying hats are made for wearing on your head :) The point you've so conveniently painted over is that if there isn't much radio traffic to begin with, then signals intelligence can glean that much less information. Also, I never claimed that deficiencys in wireless comms was by itself a good thing: I simply pointed out that WW2 armys can operate in a comms degraded environment, unlike modern forces. With regards to the germans, its worth mentioning how sophisticated they were when it came to triangulating a radio signals origin, then subjecting it to precise artillery fire: High frequency direction finding (HF/DF) was an established technique by that time. Even if they can't do it to the moderns, they know that it can be done to themselves. That bit aside, since when is it standard procedure to bombard any sites that have flare or smoke activity? LOL, are you making that up bro?

And the SIGINT and electronic warfare side of this is so hilariously one sided its insane. The WW2 side aren't going to be able to communicate without it being located, listened into and then jammed. Their radios are going to be completely worthless at best, and actively harmful at worst. Their entire command structure is going to be entirely paralysed. Or destroyed. And they don't have the slightest hope of doing anything to the modern command systems, most of which is on a type of radio wave that they don't even use.

Thats an extremely grandoise claim with no evidence at all to support it. You can't just say that all radio traffic will be intercepted, triangulated, then jammed. Thats the approach of a complete amateur and ignoramus. Are you aware of the fact that ECM systems have an specific range, outside of which they will be unable to jam enemy wireless equipment? First off, you need to know the specifications of the enemy radio sets, and how they are being used. Second, you need to know the specifications of friendly ECM hardware, and how they will be used. Since YOU didn't do your homework, I'll have to do it for you. The most common radio set in the german army was the Torn E.b receiver and a 5 W.S. transmitter, which were together called the Fu 9. The 5 W.S. transmitter had a power output of 5 watts, a frequency of 0.95 to 1.5 MHz, and a nominal range of 16 km in AM (and 58 km in CW). Meanwhile, the standard ECM system used by the U.S. army is the AN/MLQ-40. Like the AN/TLQ-17 it replaced, this set has a frequency of 20 to 80 MHz, and a power output of 550 watts. Do you see any problems here? Unless the american jammers can somehow lower their frequency to match that of the german transmitter, they'll be unable to stop the signals from being received. And even if that was possible, you need to remember that not all enemy receivers will be affected equally: They will all be at different ranges from the jammer, and some may be behind obstacles which block the line of sight. As such, you have no guarantee that all german radio traffic will cease.

RF engineering is a complex subject you can't bullshit your 
way through. There are math equations for jamming!

Yeah, thats because a divisional HQ staff has nothing to do with responding to a counterattack. The commanders on the ground deal with that. I also like that you seem to think that more information is actually a bad thing too. Because a situation where your forward recce forces know roughly whats in the area and where it is before they get there is a bad thing apparently. Also, you clearly don't understand that planning cycles happen concurrently with execution, the planning cycle for the next operation is happening while the current plan is executed.

First point: The headquarters of a WW2 division is both smaller and faster than a modern division. Second point: If the difference in speed is anything like their difference in responding to a counter-attack, then SIGINT will be of reduced importance to a modern force. Why? Because if both sides HQs go into action at the same time, the WW2 force will produce an order more quickly. [6] BTW, if a counter-attack is launched by anything much larger than a battalion, it most certainly will require a response from divisional HQ. Planning cycles are nothing but an encumberance: Either the commanding officers will need to ditch their staff procedures, or subordinates will need to act on their own initiative, because anything else is too slow for mobile warfare. Another salient point: In the paragraph you're responding to, I wasn't talking about the quantity or types of intelligence gathered by modern forces (which is of questionable value in and of itself), but about the methods which commanders at HQ use to deliberate on them. Rather than making quick deductions on the spot and delivering orders ASAP, they instead have their staff officers use an estimate process that a takes ridiculously long time to come to a conclusion.

On the one hand we have a networked slab of armour with thermal sights, access to UAV feeds, a mobility advantage, can fire on the move out to 4 or 5km with ease, the best sights the world has to offer on top of the best training based on the experiences of the other side and half a century of wars since. 

{Mjolnir66 is responding to my commentary on how a WW2 tank could destroy an MBT} This is wank, wank, and more wank. The longest tank-on-tank kill was when a challenger destroyed a T-62 from 4.7 or 5.1 km away in the gulf war. This required a fancy ballistic calculation, even though both vehicles were static. Since this confrontation will be taking place in western europe, you can throw those kind of shots right out the window. Long range gunnery doesn't mean jack if you are in terrain which doesn't offer that line of sight (LOS) to your target. Most landscapes will have so much defilade present that tank kills will only happen at a much shorter range. Example: Within the NATO central region, 55% of the LOS are shorter than 500 meters. That really puts a cramp in your plans to become a tank ace like h.r. mcmaster! Also, the 'best training' pratices you mention are based on an ignorance of tank warfare in WW2, and the fact that most AFV kills were made by anti-tank guns (either towed or self-propelled). To be more precise, specialist anti-tank weapons are generally about 2.5 times better at destroying tanks. Modern tankers are encouraged to ignore this and use their MBTs to fight other tanks, which is not the role they are best suited for.

 You can't see any tanks, because theres a hill in the way, stupid!

On the other side, we have Shermans. The tank fight would be hilariously one sided even if we put Bradleys up against Shermans. The only other fight that would be as hilariously skewed towards the modern side is the air war. Again, a modern MBT is a complete outside context problem. Thermal on its own is a game changer. I can spot a cool AFV in a woodline 8km away at night or 6km away during the day. A UAV can spot it the day before I get there. 
Unless your tank is parked on top of a mountain, you aren't going to be spotting anything at those kinds of ranges, due to the short LOS in western europe that were already mentioned. More importantly, the optics on an abrams tank have a more limited range than an apache or tiger helicopter. Theres also a major difference between spotting something, and actually identifying what that something is. At a distance beyond 2 km at daytime, the gunners primary sight can't distinguish a tank from an APC, much less determine whether it is an enemy or friendly. Thats especially true if the target vehicle is carrying a hay stack, foliage, or anything else that absorbs heat and obscures its outline: The bosnians used to cover their tanks in rubber mats for a reason. [7] You are being dishonest about the capabilitys of thermal imaging, by treating it like x-ray vision that can see through obstacles and make concealment useless. As an aside, bradley IFVs would be well advised to avoid duels with shermans or other WW2 tanks. 75mm APC rounds would go through a bradleys armor with zero effort, and even a .50 cal machine gun with AP rounds could potentially be a threat.

First, you are like 20 years out of date, using the M1A1. Second, WRT ammunition, I take it you've never heard of cannister, M908 or MPAT, plus the HEAT round is still entirely explosive. And I suggest you go talk to some of the Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah and Baghdad about the effectiveness of M1s on infantry and buildings. Third, explain to me what anti tank guns, after M1s have rolled through the area?

I didn't specifically reference M1A1s, that was Dark Voice. Shaped charges have a less than impressive effects against buildings and personnel, mainly because of the focused nature of their blast. This is what a shaped charge from an RPG does to an APC. Not exactly impressive when considering the size of its warhead. As for the shells you mentioned, M830A1 MPAT is a subcaliber HEAT round with a proximity fuze - an odd substitute for regular high explosive. M908 HE-OR is mostly identical to the MPAT, but with the proximity fuse replaced by a hardened nose cap. In practise, the blast effect from both of these projectiles is hardly better than a 60mm mortar round. And thank you for ignoring my point about the abrams being a one trick pony that relys on APCs and IFVs to deal with anything that isn't a tank. I noted the bradley and strykers vulnerability to anti-tank guns, to which you responded with the blustering rhetoric above. To answer your question, the anti-tank guns can perform their mission without undue risk by using camouflage and concealment, a practise the wehrmacht took very seriously. Theres no rule specifying you have to put them out in a flat open field: The guns can be placed behind defilade and engage the enemy at more favorable ranges and angles. In the gulf war, the iraqis used reverse slope defenses to stop armored thrusts by the americans. An impressive feat when considering the huge difference in fighting power between these two forces.

 Anti-tank guns are quite lethal in closed terrain, 
as these toy soldiers bravely demonstrate!

And modern tanks excel at both tactical and strategic mobility. You can change the powerpack on a Chally 2 or M1 faster than you can change a track on a Sherman. And the speed thing is only if they are buttoned down. And ignores the fact that if you're fighting tanks like they will, they aren't always going to be using their speed forwards. In fact, most tank tactics involve rocking forwards and backwards in and out of cover as fast as possible to fire.

{Mjolnir66 is responding to my criticism of Dark Voice, who was bloviating about the M1 abrams tactical mobility} My point was that MBTs can't outperform a WW2 tank in both categorys at once. You mentioned strategic mobility, which is partly determined by mechanical reliability. Consider this. The M4A2 sherman has an engine life of 1400-3000 miles, track endurance of 2500 miles, consumes 1.15 gallons of fuel per mile, and has 27 hour fuel endurance while idling. The M1A2 abrams has an engine life of 1900-2600 miles, track endurance of 2100 miles, consumes 8 gallons of fuel per mile, and has 8 hour fuel endurance while idling. The abrams is definitely inferior to the sherman with regards to mean miles between failure: With an MMBF of just 419 miles, it experiences a constant hiccup of minor problems. (Also, the SEP variant had one of its four fuel tanks removed, which reduces its fuel capacity somewhat) Meanwhile, the sherman needs fewer stops for maintenance and refueling during a road march. And due to the difference in sheer weight, it is easier to transport by bridge, road, train, and ship than an abrams. This observation hold true whether you swap out a sherman for a churchill, and whether you swap an abrams out for a challenger. As a minor nitpick, bradley IFVs don't reverse nearly as fast as an abrams tank: When performing maneuvers like you describe, they were left behind in the dust to fend for themselves. Add that in with the flaws I mentioned previously, and the conclusion remains the same: M1 abrams suck at combined arms operations.

And shut the fuck up about shot traps. Leo1 even points out that shot traps don't matter any more. And it's because they don't. Especially when you're using a KWK43 or 76mm gun on an M1. The reason that most allied tanks were knocked out at such short range is a combination of optics, poor controls, inaccuracy of guns and the fact they were on the attack. While terrain can be part of it, its not the main reason. Modern day autocannons have a similar or longer effective range to WW2 main guns for a reason.

Why don't you go piss on an electric fence? Seriously. The only reason shot traps 'don't matter' is because no one uses regular AP rounds anymore: Instead its either APDS or APFSDS, which don't deflect off armored surfaces. If MBTs were sent back to WW2, however, you can rest assured that they would be struck with many AP rounds. Some of them may actually bounce off and hit a soft spot, but this relys on pure chance. Like jack dempsey said: ''Lucky strike is a cigarette brand, not a punching strategy.'' And if you really expect anyone to believe that allied tanks were destroyed at short ranges because of technological and not geographical reasons, you'd better be prepared to offer a good source or sound reasoning. Right now you haven't done either of those things. If you've really got that much of a hard-on for tank duels, then let me admit this: Even with numerical superiority, the wehrmacht would be at a stark disadvantage. German tanks would only be a threat when in ambush position, and due to the enemys thermal imagers, they would need concealment to remain safely hidden. If they are in terrain that doesn't offer cover, they'll need to turn the engines off and stay buttoned up. If the panzers fire multiple shots against the side, then even a 75mm L/48 gun could threaten an MBT. This is because they rely on chobham armor with ceramic tiles that are are quite brittle and cannot withstand multiple hits. Worse yet, the armor is highly vulnerable to oblique impacts, as that can shatter many of the interlocking plates. (Hint: Thats why MBTs don't have sloped armor) Put both of those together, and you have a viable, albeit risky, strategy for taking out an M1 abrams. [8]

This tactic is worse than useless when your tank
uses chobham armor! It will get you killed

Even at short range, with the computer aided firing systems, power traverse and the ability to fire on the move, the modern tanks still have major advantages, even before you think of soft stuff like better visibility, thermal sights and the like. And the ability to survive a first hit is nothing to sniff at either, which renders a lot of tank destroyer tactics moot. 
You make a valid point. The germans aren't going to come out on top of tank duels against MBTs. They'll have to rely on more passive measures. During operation barbarossa, the heer was constantly running up against T-34s and KV-1s that couldn't be frontally pierced by any of their tank or anti-tank guns. So what happened when they ran up against these unkillable super-tanks? There was initial panic and disintegration, yes. But due to their high cohesion and outstanding leaders, the germans would eventually return to battle and improvise. Unable to destroy the soviet tanks at long or medium range, they would use unorthodox tactics. When properly prepared, they could shoot their tracks off with tank guns, then wheel up a 150mm cannon and shell it into oblivion. Projectiles of this caliber would kill the crew and wreck most of the equipment, if not remove the turret entirely. But when caught by surprise, the germans would try to separate the infantry from the tanks, and allow them to penetrate into the front lines. There after, they would be engaged with enfilade fire at close range from tank and anti-tank guns, or even set upon by pioneer teams with explosives. A dangerous and exhausting way to wipe out T-34s and KV-1s, but it was done on the regular. We know how the wehrmacht dealt with ubertanks before, and their fighting power can't be underestimated.


Now that this squabble has been cleared up, I would like to take a moment to clarify a few things. First off, the reason I chose to pit the germans against the americans was mainly because information about the two armys is widely available, and because they are the most frequent opponents on alternate history sites. I wanted the comparisons to be kept strictly between western forces, and to ensure that there wasn't an absurd numerical disparity. This pretty much forced me to use the americans, since the next largest army (france) is only 1/5th its size! To put it simply, the U.S. army is the only modern western army that could stand up to a western WW2 army. Second, I have changed my stance somewhat since responding to the SBers last year. I now believe that even though the 1944 germans are much larger and more competent than the 2016 americans, the difference in hardware will probably result in their defeat. While the americans aren't as skilled as the germans, they are skilled enough to conduct most operations with proficiency. But since america has by far the largest army in the west, their victory is the exception to the rule: Most forces are so small that without years of build up, they would simply splash against the goliath WW2 force. Third, even knowing that the modern americans would prevail, the SBers made a large number of fatuous claims that betrayed an ignorance of both sides capabilitys. They consistently over-estimated the americans while under-estimating the germans, and posited highly unlikely scenarios that all but ensured the victory of their prefered side. Some members of their forum also took advantage of board rules to suppress commentary that they did not agree with, showing immense dishonesty in the process.

[1] His exact words were that 'spacebattles is not a hug box.' Which is nothing more than a lie, because anyone who repeats the SB party line will receive dozens of likes, while anyone who challenges it will get scorn, vitriol, and off topic diatribes.

[2] For posteritys sake, ceiling is the distance above ground at which a flak gun can engage an aircraft moving at 400 mph. For the 88mm anti-aircraft gun, the effective ceiling is actually 8000 meters, and the maximum ceiling is 9900 meters. A plane at that altitude and speed could be engaged for at least 20 seconds.

[3] Keep in mind, though, that theres a hard limit on how low the strike jet can go. Even with high drag MK 82 bombs, the aircraft needs to be more than 500 feet above ground to ensure its survival (otherwise it gets hit with shrapnel from its own bombs).

[4] During the kosovo war, the yugoslavians used obsolescent air defense equipment that no one took seriously. NATO had been bombing the crap out of them and getting careless, until one aspiring officer devised a tactic that enabled his unit to shoot down an F-117 stealth bomber with an SA-3 missile system.

[5] In the same way that ray comfort bastardised evolution to the point where it could result in a crocoduck, Mjolnir66 and his pals have bastardised the outside context problem until it provided them with an instant win button. One can only shake their head in dismay at such ignorance.

[6] And for anyone who can't put two and two together: By the time any intelligence gleaned by the moderns SIGINT can be passed on to HQ, and then passed on to the troops via a FRAGO, it will probably be out of date. The implications are serious enough that Mjolnir66 avoided directly addressing them.

[7] Theres also the issue of infrared crossover, which is when the temperature of an inert object will match the environments ambient temperature at certain times of day (after sunrise, and after sunset). This effect is particularly bad during wet conditions, and it makes thermal imagers alot less effective.

[8] Nor does this require specialised training: They just need to fire at the MBT from an oblique angle, and keep firing until they penetrate. This is a reversal of fire discipline in WW2, which was to try and achieve perpendicular hits, and to continually re-aim after each shot (because rolled homogenous armor would not weaken from multiple hits).


  1. As a veteran of the USMC with many publications behind me (as you can see in my profile), I must say that you do not know what you are talking about, my dear Sir. You seem to be just as full of yourself as the Pentagon brass who lost us the wars of Vietnam and Iraq by refusing to listen to the knowledge and common sense of the trooper, whom Mjolnir66 is.

    You should be ashamed for disrespecting the ones who made so many sacrifices for your freedom.

    1. Are you actually mike sparks, or just someone trying to get a cheap laugh? Theres an easy way to verify this. Back in june of 2012, you might recall a conversation I had with you on youtube (my user name was TheJamesRocket). I then proceeded to send you an email through your yahoo account. Do you recall what was said there?

      BTW, the american peoples freedoms cannot be defended by starting wars of choice with 3rd world nations on the other side of the planet. They pose no real threat to the american people, only to their power hungry leaders. The invasion of iraq (and to a leser extent, afghanistan) was based on petrodollar and geopolitical considerations, not the marginal threat posed by terrorism.

    2. Because of course there is so much oil in Afghanistan, you can't move for the Derricks. And the Taliban were so forthcoming when it came to fighting terrorism, handing over Bin Laden like they did.

    3. Afganistan only has a small fraction of the oil resources that iraq has, but it is rich in mineral resources and opium fields. It has an excellent geographic location too, wedged as it is between iran to the west, pakistan to the south, china to the east, and former soviet republics to the north. That gives the U.S. a base to threaten its rivals iran and china, its reluctant ally pakistan, and to the soft underbelly of russia (where most of its oil resources come from). They've used the war in afghanistan as an excuse to block badly needed pipelines, and the opium to field CIA covert operations.

      Also, the taliban actually offered to extradite osama bin laden to the U.S. if they proved his complicity in the 911 attacks, which they were unwilling or unable to do. That was a surprisingly generous offer under the circumstances, because turning over a fellow muslim to an infidel state like america would be a blatant violation of their customs. After the deadline passed and the invasion was launched, the taliban even offered to turn bin laden over to a third country if the U.S. would cease hostilitys. Surprise surprise, they refused again.

  2. Why should I justify myself to someone who takes pleasure into insulting my fellow troopers? Particularly as you are referencing a conversation that never took place to begin with.

    1. No one is forcing you to 'justify yourself' (?). You are free to leave the discussion at any time. FYI, Mjolnir66 is a british army soldier, not american. As such, hes not a 'fellow' of the U.S. military. The purpose of my article wasn't to insult him, but to prove that he is misguided on quite a few matters. Seeing as Mjolnir66 perpetuates many of the same myths you despise, I find it somewhat odd that you would take his side...

      I have also checked my email history, and we did indeed have a conversation at the time I specified. This was on your dynmicpara alias. You should be able to dig up our messages. If not, then I'll be forced to conclude that you are an imposter. Especially since this pages statistics reveal a french (not american) register every time you comment!

  3. Even if all you say is true, what's stopping the 1991 US Armed Forces from running a several week long bombing campaign that leaves the 1944 German industry collapsed, important infrastructure nearly gone, and the Luftwaffe nearly nonexistent? The US can hardly lose on the defensive, and even if the Germans manage to get troops from the east to the west on the few remaining non-bombed railroads, the most they'd be able to force is a strategic retreat or two.

    1. I've thought up numerous modern vs WW2 scenarios on three different websites. You seem to be referencing the thread I made at sufficient velocity back in october. (1991 america vs 1944 germany) In that that scenario, I paid lots of attention to the issue of strategic bombing, and to air interdiction and close air support. Fewer than 10% of the munitions used during the gulf war were smart bombs, and of those, all were either laser or TV guided. LGBs can't be used in bad weather, at low altitude, or by aircraft without laser designators.

      Meanwhile, both the B-52G and F-117 have a service ceiling of 43,000 feet, which is within the range of 88mm flak 43 and 128mm flak 40. If the USAF sends strategic bombers against major citys, they cannot expect to carry out their missions with immunity. AA fire is unlikely to destroy the bombers, but it can disturb the pilots bomb run, force them to take evasive actions, and maybe even damage them with shrapnel. The flak towers in berlin could each put up a lethal barrage of shells 260 yards across.

      Strike packages can also be deterred by scrambling a large number of german fighters and putting them in a holding pattern over a city, although this require some time to get into position (and hence, is only against long distance raids). The F-15s and F-16s don't carry enough air to air missiles to take out a 'big wing', nor can they safely fly through a large formation of Me 109s and Fw 190s. The americans will have to detour away to an alternate target, or engage the fighters with guns after their missiles run out. That puts them at a non-zero risk of being shot down.