Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Modern army vs WW2 army (update)

So, it looks like my original article on this subject has become quite popular. Published on May 18 2012, the purpose was to determine what a conventional conflict between a modern army and a WW2 army would look like. A few months ago, it was featured on two popular websites (alternatehistory.net and spacebattles.com), and generated alot of discussion. But thats about where the good news ends. You see, my article was copied and pasted ad lib by someone going by the name of Lee_Beer and blackadam: He distributed my work without disclosing who the author was, and essentially claimed them as his own. If he had done that on some archive, it would have been annoying enough. But no, he went the extra mile and posted it in a goddamn debate thread! Let me tell you: Whenever some anonymous shithead distributes my articles in a place like that, without giving a source, it pisses me off. I didn't find out about this shenanigans until a few weeks ago, but once I did, I started reading the responses to it. To a mixture of amusement and frustration, I learned that a gang of debunkers had attempted to refute my claims. If they knew who had actually wrote these articles, they may have thought twice before committing such a blunder.

Though I haven't mentioned it on this blog, one of my favourite hobbys is online debating. I am a well known pwnage artist on youtube, having carved out a bloody path there for more than 4 years. When people try to debunk my work, they will get one of two possible reactions. If they are professional and respectful, they will get a professional and respectful response. But if they use crappy arguments and act like douche bags, guess whats gonna happen? I'm going to beat them like a red headed step child! My problem is never with the fact that people disagree with me, but merely the manner in which they choose to do so. I have no patience for idiotic lolcows who think they can dismiss my arguments with laughter or incredulity: To mock is not to debunk. Some of the sharpest criticisms I encountered came from the spacebattles.com babies, who seemed to believe that because modern forces have more advanced technology, that they are guaranteed to win. In other words, they are exactly the kind of audience I had in mind when I wrote misconceptions about warfare. Most of their responses were techno babble or outright nonsense, and some of them came within a hair of refuting each other.

The majority showed no understanding of combat power, tactics, operational art, or strategy. It was an almost myopic focus on the exchange of bullets and shells, the supremacy of passive reconnaissance, or the exaggerated effects of airpower. They were so busy fantasising over what the modern forces would do, they failed to give any consideration for how the WW2 force would respond. It was obvious why this crowd was widely regarded as the biggest group of military morons there was on the internet. A couple of the debunkers seemed to realise that this conflict would not favor the modern side very much, and tried to turn it into an air or even naval conflict! That alone was one of the most retarded, transparent attempts at shifting the goalposts that I have witnessed. The entire subject of my post (outlined in the title) was about an army vs another army, not a #$%^ing navy! So without further ad due, I'm going to defend the claims made in my original article, and give these fools an abject lesson in humiliation. This won't be a response to each and every naysayer on spacebattles.com (since dozens of people eventually weighed in with their two cents), but only to those who actually attempted a full debunking.
Authors note: The name of my opponents and their arguments will be listed in bold, while my rebuttal will be listed directly afterwards without bolding. Hopefully, this will make for a less monotonous read, and avoid the nuisances of a wall of text... The most popular match up seemed to be the german army of 1944 (numbering 7 million men) against the american army of 2012 (numbering 750,000 men), so we'll stick with that theme.
As you'll soon see, this sums 
up my opponents pretty well 

Peptuck: I'm just stuck here imagining how horrible it would be for a WWII army to deal with a couple of flights of AC-130s circling overhead outside the range of anything they can shoot it with, in the middle of the night, calmly annihilating anything with wheels with total and complete impunity after the jet fighters and Stingers have swatted everything that can fly out of the sky.

The AC-130s would be good at their designated role, but don't fool yourself into thinking they'd be immune to counter fire. German divisions came standard equipped with a dozen or more 88mm anti-aircraft guns: There was a similar pattern among all the other major combatants of WW2, americans with their 90mm, british with their 94mm, and russians with their 85mm. [1] The maximum altitude an AC-130 can engage from is 6000 meters, but standard altitudes vary from 3600 meters to 2000 meters. Hence even at their maximum engagement altitude, the gunships would be well within the range of 88mm flak, which have an effective ceiling of 8000 meters. Even at night time and without radar, barrage fire (the simplest of 3 firing patterns) can be used to deter them. Another thing to keep in mind: Prior to 2014, the AC-130 fleet numbered 37 planes. There were 8 of the AC-130H, 17 of the AC-130U, and 12 of the AC-130W. Thats not exactly an abundance of airframes...

Peptuck: ....I'm actually not entirely sure. I'm pretty sure that they'd be able to take out the flak before it detects them, because modern Wild Weasel/SEAD would so utterly ruin WWII radar that any flak would be operating entirely by sight, and the AC-130s would be coming at night. I could be wrong, though, as I'm not 100% sure how WWII anti-air operated.

Who is going to carry out counter-battery operations against AA guns? Are you implying the AC-130s will do it themselves?! Heavy flak battalions have their own gun-laying radars, which are only active during the course of an engagement, and are frequently moved along with the unit (which is mobile, not static). You aren't going to be able to determine their location beforehand for SEAD to take them out, instead, the jets will need to babysit the AC-130s during their missions for guaranteed protection. Even though they'll be badly needed elsewhere, fighting for air supremacy and whatnot... And even without their radar, the 88mms still pose a threat. Anti-aircraft batterys have sophisticated range finders, searchlights, and sound detectors that can help them zero in on a big noisy plane like the AC-130. To suggest that the gunships could immediately go to work on the ground forces without putting themselves at great risk is dishonest, especially if this is later in the war when the doppelz├╝nder fuse became available. According to kenneth p. werrell, this increased their lethality against bomber formations by a factor of five.

Dark Voice: Modern day infantry is nowhere near World War II-era infantry. The M16A4 has an effective firing range of 600 meters for point targets and 800 meters for area targets. It fires 5.56x45mm NATO at a muzzle velocity of 950 meters per second. Compared to that, the World War II M1 carbine has an effective combat range of 270 meters and has significant bullet drop past 180 meters. It also fires a smaller round at about 65% the muzzle velocity.

Really, is it the infantry that are nowhere near the same level, or merely the weapons that they use? Be careful not to conflate the two: A good soldier can compensate for bad equipment, but good equipment cannot compensate for a bad soldier! And why are you comparing service rifles with carbines? They aren't intended to fulfil the same role (the former is a weapon for infantry, while the latter is a weapon for support troops), so doing stuff like that just comes off as dishonest. In any case, soldiers rarely use firearms for encounters beyond 300 meters, so the M16s extra range goes to waste. Both weapons are semi-automatic, and the rate of fire is limited only by how fast the trigger can be pulled.

Dark Voice: The M1 Garand fires a slightly larger round (62 rain 5.56 vs 150 grain .30-06) at 850 meters per second with an effective combat range of 460 meters. Both the M1 Garand and M16A4 deliver nearly the same kinetic energy per shot; the difference is that the M16 has nearly double the effective combat range and much faster rate of fire.

First off, since when is 150 grains only 'slightly larger' than 62 grains? You aren't even listing the standard ammo used by the M1 garand, which weighed 174 grains. Second, your assertion that 5.56x45mm and 7.62x63mm deliver nearly the same kinetic energy is pure, unadulterated bullshit. The M855 ball has a mass of 62 grains and a velocity of 940 mt/s, giving it a KE of 1767 joules. The M1 ball has a mass of 174 grains and a velocity of 805 mt/s, giving it a KE of 3661 joules. Therefore, the M1 ball has 107% more kinetic energy than the M855 ball, not 'nearly the same.' Did you really think that claim would fly?!

Dark Voice: Body armor (more specifically, Kevlar) would be a massive boon in a World War II battlefield, which is filled with low-energy individual bullets instead of the high explosive IEDs that troops have come to love.

Body armor won't protect soldiers from full power rifle ammunition. ESAPI plates are not standalone capable, and even with its IOTV plate carrier, it is not rated to withstand 7.62x63mm AP. Most people aren't aware of the fact that the army doesn't adhere to NIJ standards. Hence, unsubstantiated claims about ESAPI being rated for level IV are not only illogical, but in contradiction with field tests: These reveal that it cannot withstand even regular 7.62x63mm ammunition. [2] (Also, notice the manipulative wording he uses here: Low energy bullets, as compared to high explosives. Dark Voice is trying to subtly shift peoples opinions through word play)

Dark Voice: I don’t know where you’re getting the nonsense that one bullet impact is enough to render a soldier useless; more than likely, a soldier with Kevlar would be able to tank a few World War II rifle rounds before causing serious internal injury.

Bulletproof vests are rated not only for how well they stop penetration, but also for how well they limit blunt force trauma - the diffused energy of the bullet transferred through the vest to the body. The NIJ specifys an allowable backface signature of 44mm, as a safety threshold that should not be exceeded. But once again, the army doesn't adhere to NIJ standards. The interceptor and IOTV line of body armor are known to be unsafe in this regard, since the army raised the allowable backface signature to 48mm during testing. None of this is going to matter, though, since 7.62x63mm rounds will penetrate clear through the #$%^ing vest! (Humorously, Dark Voice doesn't seem to know what type of body armor the military issues: He makes it sound like they use kevlar by itself, oblivious to the fact that virtually any centerfire rifle ammo will penetrate soft body armor)

Dark Voice: World War II troops would get utterly annihilated at night when they cannot see or move or even communicate without being found. Thanks to the advent of SIGINT, any and all radio transmissions made by antique World War II radios would be instantly pulled out of the air and read by whatever military commander is in charge of this massacre; the modern day army would know the commands probably before the actual recipients do.

WW2 armys would be at a real disadvantage in night combat, but whether or not that applys to SIGINT as well isn't clear. [3] Any information gained through that route will have reduced impact, because it must pass through headquarters that are larger and slower than the downtimers HQ (who can act on intelligence faster, and issue orders to subordinates with less delay). They were not encumbered with a planning cycle which required staff members to filter through information, confer with a planning officer, and then present it to the commander. In WW2, a german divisional HQ could respond to a counterattack in an average of 10 minutes. Today, a british divisional staff needs ten times as long (!) to respond to a counterattack. And before you start bloviating about the effect that jamming would have, remember that armys back then were less reliant on radio communications, especially at lower levels: It was just as likely that they would use telephone lines, messengers, signal lamps, flares, or smoke.

Dark Voice: I highly, highly, highly, highly doubt a 75mm cannon would penetrate the frontal or even side armor of an M1A1. A single tank column would be utterly unstoppable except to airstrikes, and that’s what we have F-16s for.

No one claimed that 75mm rounds could pierce an M1A1 abrams from the front, so calm your ass down. In the european theater of war, allied tanks were knocked out from the sides more often than the front, so lets give some attention where it is due. Unofficially, the abrams has armor rated at 240-350mm on the turret side, and 90-160mm on the hull side. [4] This is quite difficult for a WW2 era tank to deal with, but not impossible. In fact, because of the huge arms race and short development cycles back then, tank crews were often forced to do battle with superior vehicles. The british and americans were frequently behind the curve with their tanks, which inspired them to use fire and maneuver in order to gain a tactical advantage. In theory, a 75mm gun could pierce the abrams hull side from medium range. An 88-90mm gun can penetrate it from long range, and could also pierce the abrams turret side from short range. One shot kills are a possibility.

Dark Voice: There is absolutely no way in hell anything from World War II on the ground is busting open a modern day MBT with the exception of heavy artillery; and this heavy artillery would be subject to immediate counter-battery fire and controlled airstrikes.

Really, you don't think stacked land mines could cripple or destroy an MBT? How about satchel charges, thermite grenades, anti-tank grenades, or a flame thrower over the radiator grill? In any case, you are suffering from tunnel vision: The main role of a tank isn't merely to destroy other armored vehicles. According to george patton: “The tanks purpose is to bring machine-guns to bear on the enemys unprotected rear, using speed and surprise.” Their whole raison d'etre is to punch through the enemys front lines, wreak havoc among their rear echelons, and riddle everything in sight with cannon fire. Thing is, the M1A1 abrams has just 40 rounds of ammo for the main gun, and these are only APFSDS and HEAT rounds, which are useless against infantry and buildings. These MBTs are no examplar of combined arms tactics: In fact, they are one trick ponys which don't present much of a threat to anything other than a tank. This means that M2 bradleys and M1126 strykers are going to be doing most of the grunt work, and they can be easily destroyed on a battlefield filled with anti-tank guns. Its quite possible that the abrams could have their infantry and engineer support peeled away by cannon fire, and end up isolated from their reserves until they run out of ammo or fuel.

Dark Voice: Another key component is mobility: World War II-era tanks frequently got stuck and had a far inferior center of weight compared to modern day MBTs. An Abrams would be able to travel where a Sherman would get stuck and do it faster.

The mobility of the abrams is probably the most over hyped feature of this massively over hyped vehicle. The armys own studies indicate that at speeds greater than about 25 mph, tank crews basically move faster than they can see whats in front of them, especially in closed terrain. The abrams 10 mph speed advantage over other MBTs was rarely used in combat, and had the disadvantage of consuming enormous amounts of fuel. It has no high explosive rounds, no multi-channel radio, no tank-infantry telephone, a poor field of view, and a scaldingly hot engine exhaust, making it a poor choice for combined arms operations. Also, there is a difference between tactical and strategic mobility. German tanks excelled at the former, while american and russian tanks excelled at the latter. The panther and tiger 1-2 had broad tracks, torsion bar suspension, neutral steering, and an excellent length to width ratio. But on the other hand, the sherman and T-34 were mechanically reliable, easy to repair, had excellent range, and were light enough to cross most bridges.

Dark Voice: There is also range. Most World War II tank battles occurred at visual range. In modern-day tank combat, everything happens at 4-6 or even 8 kilometers away, where the first one to see the enemy wins. The computer takes care of the targeting and the commander picks off targets like a sniper. In a hypothetical modern vs WW2 scenario, the World War II force would get devastated by a foe that can hit them from beyond visual range while backtracking at far greater speed than they are capable of. In other words, they would get wiped out before even seeing their enemy.

Actually, the longest range that an MBT has ever scored a kill from was 5.1 km: This was made by a challenger tank during the gulf war, at a time when most kills were made from a distance of 3 km or under. Moreover, you neglect to mention that unless they are fighting in the desert or the steppes (where lines of sight are always long), MBTs may not have the option of simply picking off enemy tanks from standoff range: They might find themselves involved in meeting engagements or battles of maneuver. [5] In the european theater of war, allied tanks were knocked out at an average distance of under 800 yards. The terrain is congested enough that a sherman or panzer 4 (led by a skilled crew) could creep up on an abrams and take a shot at the sides and rear. Short engagement ranges would be much preferred by the WW2 force, since it would give them a better chance at piercing an MBTs incredible armor. Also, one should not forget that modern tanks are full of shot traps, or that old style AP rounds had a tendancy to deflect off armored surfaces at weird angles, sometimes causing them to jam into the turret ring or roof of the hull.

 Blue is the modern force, red is the WW2 force. Red has 
7 million men in a line, and blue has 750,000 men in four
isolated pockets. How does blue avoid getting outflanked?

Nuts!: But hey, let's assume that two military formations are dumped into the Fulda Gap a couple-hundred miles of each other and told to wipe out the other if they want to go home. The modern military force will have a pretty good idea of what their enemies are do long before they get close, because drones are practically ubiquitous in modernized military forces from the squad level up. The Mark I eyeball coupled to the Mark II spotlight has only a tiny chance of seeing a Reaper buzzing around at night, and hell, a Reaper can literally fly higher than WWII fighters could even reach.

It sounds like you are looking at this from a more strategic viewpoint. While this creates opportunitys for theater missiles and JSTARS craft (to observe and bombard concentration points), it also means some really unpleasant things can happen when the two sides actually close with each other. Because of the quantitative and qualitative differences between them, they don't deploy into combat the same. As pointed out by sven ortmann: “Fortified, static front lines as in much of WWI and WWII are impossible in almost all modern warfare scenarios, though. The German, French and Soviet armies of WW2 consisted of a few highly mobile divisions and about 85-95% foot-mobile infantry divisions. The latter formed the static front lines while the mobile forces prepared for the next mobile warfare phase. Todays armies are smaller versions of the mobile forces, with no bulk of slow infantry divisions.” Because the modern force cannot maintain a continuous front line, they would be outflanked by the WW2 army as soon as they move to contact, which would leave them at constant risk of encirclement. Do you understand why its in the moderns best interests to avoid strategic level engagements? There would be salients so large, it would make kursk look miniscule by comparison!

Nuts!: The modern force will see what their enemies are doing. They'll form a plan and disseminate it rapidly, because they've got a much more robust communications net and operators who've trained for years specifically to handle information transfer. They'll be able to move at a pace the WWII forces won't be able to believe, not just because of how much faster their vehicles are, but how much more reliable they are. The Sherman was a powerful tank in the 1940s because a unit of Shermans could expect to have 3/4ths of them running on any given day, and that's the best of the lot!

Your making the assumption that the modern forces HQ staff are omniscient. In reality, they depend on dedicated reconnaissance assets just as the WW2 forces did. Your infatuation with passive recce (reapers, JSTARS, etc) is typical of military morons. [6] To reconnoiter an enemy force through observation alone is an uncertain and time consuming process, regardless of whether it is done from the ground or air. In a highly mobile theater of war, the scouts generally aren't able to provide intelligence in a relevant time frame. And even when they do pass on usable intel, it goes straight to corps or divisional HQs and circulates there, rarely being transmitted to brigade leaders and their subordinates. This organisational failure nearly caused a crisis at the battle of karbala gap, when three iraqi brigades moved across the desert virtually undetected to repel an american battalion, which was trying to cross the euphrates river and capture saddam international airport. Also, a formations agility is determined less by the speed of individual vehicles and more by the size of the formation itself. Coordinating the march of thousands of different vehicles both on and off road (while navigating traffic jams, and stopping for fuel and maintenance) is an inherantly slow process. The german 2nd panzer division advanced from sedan to the english channel in may 1940 at about 45 km per day. The american 3rd infantry division advanced from an najaf to baghdad in march 2003 at about 50 km per day. Eerily similar.

Nuts!: A modern force can see their enemy with impunity, can communicate in ways a WWII-era force literally cannot duplicate, ("Targeting datalinks? Around here, that means 'I yell at the guys with the 105mm cannons to hit the same gridsquare on the map as us.'") and can move at a pace they can't even hope to match. While the WWII forces are still stumbling around trying to make contact, a modern force is already on the move with a plan to carry out.

The modern forces great superiority in communications are hampered by large and complex headquarters. Since the beginning of the cold war, when the preference for thorough intelligence and meticulous planning became popular, HQs have grown in size and been run by higher ranking officers. They collect enormous amounts of information and take hours to sift through it all, deliberate, and come to a decision. Theres no indication that any of this extra information helps them make better judgements: Because of cognitive bias, commanders will only latch onto a few pieces of information and ignore all the rest. Also, these HQ protocols greatly increase manpower requirements. In WW2, a british divisional HQ was comprised of 51 officers (german HQs had 38 officers, while american HQs had 79 officers). Today, a british divisional HQ is comprised of 160 officers. Thats a growth of over three fold. At best, this increases the amount of overhead and paperwork to be done. At worst, this makes them completely unable to keep up with the pace of battle, and powerless to issue timely orders to their subordinates.
NUTS!: They'll blast a hole in enemy lines with tube and rocket artillery firing at ranges which prevent the enemy from firing back, (assuming they even could) then fill that gaping gap in the enemy's lines with a horde of tanks and IFVs. They'll have MBTs running around shooting up supply convoys and rearguard units while the enemy command is still trying to figure out WTH just happened to a half-mile stretch of their forces.

Both sides are going to be doing this to each other, because one sides advantage in quantity will be balanced out by the other sides advantage in quality. This conflict won't be some one sided curbstomp on either end. While the modern forces will undoubtedly have a better loss-exchange ratio, they won't be as able to weather attrition since they are so much smaller to begin with. This matter is also influenced by organisation and morale, as the german army of WW2 had so amply demonstrated. Statistically, most divisions would break after experiencing 5-15% losses, but some of the waffen SS divisions managed to keep fighting after 40% losses (!). And even when formations were shattered, they were not pulled out of the line and slowly reformed: Instead, the personnel were drafted together with other survivors into improvised battlegroups called alarmeinheiten for immediate action, which helped to alleviate manpower shortages.

Mjolnir66: This is so wrong its unbelievable. At night, I can operate and engage out to 400m due to night vision. The WW2 soldier can't engage past maybe 100m on a really clear night. I can operate like its day at 100m on a low light, overcast night. This is a battle winning advantage. This is before we even go to thermal.

No one denys the transformative effect of night vision devices. They drastically increase a soldiers vision regardless of light conditions, allowing them to better navigate the terrain and effectively fire at targets. Its not much of an exaggeration to say that night combat hasn't been the same since their introduction. So how did WW2 armys operate without it? They relied on search lights, flare guns, and starshell. The number and location of illumination posts prior to a battle were important factors. [7] Tanks and artillery also used gunsights with illuminated reticles, which gave some improvement at observing and acquiring targets at night. The modern force would definitely have an advantage on the defense, since their night vision devices allow them to penetrate the cover of darkness and bring accurate fire onto the enemy. But if they go onto the attack, it could be a different story. They can still be exposed by starshell and blinded by smoke screens. In closed terrain, the enemy doesn't need NVGs to take a heavy toll on the modern force. This much was proven in the battle of dak to, when american attacks on hill 823 and hill 875 were stalled by viet cong ambushs and night infiltration.

Mjolnir66: Lightweight equipment is a major game changer, it means I can take more ammo, while also taking more food and water to survive longer without being resupplied. Imagine it this way, a full days food for me weighs 1kg. That a 4000cal, nutritionally balanced day too, and that in itself helps endurance. You have a soldier who can survive with no resupply for 3 days with just the kit he's carrying on him.
Thats all well and good, but like the saying goes, 100 lbs of lightweight equipment still weighs 100 lbs. Its not humanly possible to carry that much gear without negatively impacting ones agility and endurance. According to phil west: “Soldiers are now carrying far more weight than the men of the 1940s and 50s. Equipment such as body armour and NBC gear are partially responsible, but the main reason is that troops are carrying everything they might need rather what they are most likely to need.” The overloading of foot soldiers that we see today is an acute leadership failure... As for the bit about rations, try to remember that back in the 1930s, the germans were using dextrose, the swiss were using high fat chocolate, while the japanese used ordinary rice. You cannot pack caloric value much denser than that, even for astronaut food.

Mjolnir66: Then you have the body armour. 90% of the areas that would mean death before a medic can see you are now covered and relatively safe from both shrapnel and bullets. A hit to the plates is not just survivable, but is an "injury" you can continue to fight with. I have a friend who took a 2 round burst from 7.62R at something like 10 to 20m range to the same spot on his plate and apart from being knocked to the ground, was none the worse for wear. I know 2 people who's helmets saved them from being shot in the head. Modern protective equipement drops casualties something like 90% over an unarmoured soldier.

Your right. Body armor is much more relevant from the strategic viewpoint than anything else. When widely issued to soldiers, it allows an army to better resist attrition and sustain its manpower over the course of a long campaign. Body armor wasn't created so that troops could run around with reckless abandon and gun sling with the enemy: Its purpose is to prevent a soldier from becoming a write off whenever he gets hit, and give him a chance to recover and fight another day. Too many people equate body armor with invulnerability to bullets, forgetting the fact that there are no guarantees in a fight.

Mjolnir66: Armour penetration is something 5.56 has a massive advantage over older rounds in. And 7.62 is basically .30 06 updated anyway, except as a better designed round. Its not some OCP for the modern troops. And we don't need flame throwers and infantry guns. A Carl Gustav, or RPO is a much better option than either, while being much easier to move around.

This is obviously untrue, 5.56x45mm has no advantage in armor penetration over 7.62x63mm. Even the M995 round cannot out penetrate the venerable M2, despite the benefit of a tungsten (rather than steel) core. A flamethrower has the advantage of burning everything along its trajectory, whereas incendiary projectors like the RPO and FLASH detonate at a preset distance, with a small burst radius. And thats not even taking into account the psychological effects: The suppressive firepower of a flamethrower is simply enormous (even when used in short bursts), and their discharges can create large clouds of smoke and blind the enemy. Its a weapon of terror that has no equal. RPO and FLASH may be lighter, and have a longer range, but there are some features of a flamethrower they are just not capable of duplicating.

Mjolnir66: A single 1000 man armoured battlegroup would easily chew through a WW2 division. When even your IFVs can kill the heaviest tanks your opponent has, then things are a little one sided. The biggest limitation on the modern forces is how fast they can resupply ammunition.

Like your friends, you refuse to acknowledge that modern forces have no dedicated anti-tank formations. What they have instead are an assortment of anti-armor weapons, scattered throughout the brigade at various levels: They aren't grouped into a relevant command structure which provides area denial capability. Therefore, a WW2 army would still be able to overun them with a column of tanks, especially if they approach from the flanks. Because of their tooth to tail ratio and dependency on major weapon systems (as opposed to masses of infantrymen), modern forces have poor all-round security: They rely on MBTs and artillery munitions for defense. Both the M198 and M777 howitzers have a traverse of just 800 mils, equal to 45 degrees. What if the battery gets an out-of-arc fire call? If the howitzer is resting on blacktop, it can take 3 minutes to turn the M777 on its wheels and face it in another direction. If its resting on uneven soil, this procedure can take more than 10 minutes. That limits it ability to respond to emergent threats on the battlefield.

 At brigade level and above, this is where
the modern forces are truly vulnerable
So that pretty much destroys the main arguments put forward by the lolcows. There were other claims that I did not even bother responding to, as they were obviously false and refuted by other forum goers. The biggest example would be Dark Voices absurd claim that it would take no more than twenty F-16 fighters to annihilate a thousand bomber raid, or that field howitzers could be used to effectively engage propeller aircraft (seriously, WTF?). It was stupidity on top of dishonesty. But there were some highlights.
One of the debunkers (a guy by the name of Apocal) had some very good insights about the difference in artillery capabilitys, and conducted himself in a much more professional manner than his peers. His points are well taken, and I would be happy to see more comments in this vein. Interestingly enough, there were numerous people who suggested that my original article had been inspired by the worldwar series. That was a good guess, but wrong: My motivation came from the axis of time trilogy.

A note to the spacebattles.com babies: The next time you think you can tear into an article as well researched as mine was, do an online search to see who the author is. Instead of bayoneting a scarecrow, find out whether it was copied from somewhere else. You might save yourself some embarrassment. And if any of you have a problem with the things I said here, then step up to the plate: My comments section is open to anyone!
P.S: In case theres any doubt about the source of the original article, just check the time stamps: I published it on my blog on May 18 2012, and began receiving comments on July 17, 2012. The thread on spacebattles.com did not start until November 11, 2014, more than 2 1/2 years after my work was published. I'd say thats pretty much a closed case.


[1] Theres some confusion on this subject, one source indicates that 88mm flak battalions were normally attached to armies or corps (and not to divisions).
[2] Military tests require three rounds to be fired in a tight grouping from 10 to 15 meters, and these conditions were fairly represented in the trials.

[3] If you focus solely on the ability to decode their radio messages, then modern forces are on no better footing than the allys during WW2. ULTRA was cracking the enigma code on a daily basis, so the main difference would simply be the speed at which the information is distributed down the chain of command.

[4] Another set of estimates come from forums.bistudio.com, which conclude with measurements posted at steelbeasts.com. They rate its LOS armor thickness as so: 300mm for the turret sides, 200mm on the hull sides, and 75mm on the rear.

[5] Anyone who thinks this conflict will be a repeat of the gulf war is laughably delusional. The iraqi army of 1991 was greatly inferior to the german army of 1944 in every regard except technology. They had poor initiative, poor command staffs, poor training, no inter-branch cooperation, etc.

[6] He also makes the error of assuming that these recon planes can loiter anywhere they want without being seen. Even if you take radar out of the equation, there were numerous types of infrared systems like adlergerat that could detect bombers at night.
[7] The WW2 force would need to have continuous illumination to successfully defend against a modern force. Listening posts, trip flares, and mines could provide advance warning of an attack, but without illumination from parachute flares, they won't be able to accurately engage.