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Post Info TOPIC: So... the Assault Gun article on Wikipedia...


Major

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So... the Assault Gun article on Wikipedia...
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_gun

It claims that the first purpose-built assault guns were StuG III.

It defines assault gun as:

"An assault gun is a gun or howitzer mounted on a motor vehicle or armored chassis, designed for use in the direct fire role in support of infantry when attacking other infantry or fortified positions."

I think that assault guns aren't a new thing basically the continuation of the WWI-style tank. Even if Mark I-VIII wouldn't count due to having two guns, French heavy tanks were basically assault guns and even started out in the artillery branch. AV7V would also count as assault guns.



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Brigadier

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Well, if we define tank as a tracked AFV with rotating turret, then only WWI tanks were Renault FT and Fiat 2000. All other were in reality assault guns!

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Legend

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Don't forget the British Gun Carrier Mk 1. It was intended as a prime mover, but capable of functioning as an assault gun, and apparently used in that capacity at least once.

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Legend

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The Renault FT 75 BS was designed to fulfil the role described in the definition. The 75 BS was a Schneider 75mm Blockhaus gun mounted in a fixed superstructure

which replaced the turret on a Renault FT tank - the STuG III was the same if you substitute Panzer III/75mm L/24 gun for Renault FT/75mm Schneider BS.

The Wikipedia definition has more holes in it than the proverbial Swiss cheese - there were a number of vehicles which were designed in the so-called assault gun

role before the STuG III - for example the Russian T-26 was also developed in the 1930s into the AT-1 and SU-5 artillery tanks carrying various guns, the Russian KV-2 was

designed specifically to attack fortifications with its 152mm howitzer.

Regards,

Charlie



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Legend

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I can't help but feel this conversation should be taking place on wikipedia rather than here. Perhapsthedifference between an assault gun and a self-propelled guncould be debated there, as well.

But while we're here, the British tanks were called "Tanks" so they can't be assault guns. I think it's actually where the name "tank" comes from.



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Major

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CharlieC wrote:

The Renault FT 75 BS was designed to fulfil the role described in the definition. The 75 BS was a Schneider 75mm Blockhaus gun mounted in a fixed superstructure

which replaced the turret on a Renault FT tank - the STuG III was the same if you substitute Panzer III/75mm L/24 gun for Renault FT/75mm Schneider BS.


Even before FT 75 BS, there was Schneider CA and Saint-Charmond - both of these were pure assault guns both in concept and execution - they were organised into Special Artillery units which were organised like artillery - in batteries, groups and groupments.

Renault FT was the first modern tank and was the first French tank organised in the typical "tank way" - in platoons, battalions and regiments. If I understand correctly it was conceived as "armoured infantry" and in the end, remaining Schneiders and Saint-Charmonds were used as "assault guns" accompanying the "armoured infantry" of Renaults FT.

PDA wrote:

I can't help but feel this conversation should be taking place on wikipedia rather than here. Perhapsthedifference between an assault gun and a self-propelled guncould be debated there, as well.


Well, from what I've seen in one of the Renault FT discussions, some of members here are active wikipedia editors.

PDA wrote:
But while we're here, the British tanks were called "Tanks" so they can't be assault guns. I think it's actually where the name "tank" comes from.

Well, the thing is that modern name "tanks" means something else and the first tank in that sense is Renault FT. I'm not sure how the original British tanks should be classified because they had two guns that can fire in different direction and they were under heavy influence of marine design, so it's quite possible that they aren't assault guns. I think that the original name - Landships fits them the best.

If we'd want to be consistent, Mark I-VIII, K-Wagen and A7V/U would be Landships, Schneider CA, Saint-Charmond, A7V, Renault FT 75 BS and Flying Elephant would be Assault Guns while Renault FT, Fiat 3000, Char 2C, LKII and Oberschlesien would be Tanks in modern sense.

Though, the point is that the article is wrong and that Assault Guns weren't new things invented by Germans in 30s but were some of the very first tracked AFVs which began with two branches:

Landships (the British approach) and Assault Guns (the French approach).

Landships have died out (though various muti-turetted tank designs of the interwar period could be called their spiritual successors) but Assault Guns continued their development after the war - Char B1 was a hybrid of an Assault Gun and a tank and was originally supposed to have a machine gun turret instead of a gun turret and they made a grand return during WWII.

Germans were aping the French Special Artillery - they made Sturmartillerie which was organised in artillery style - in 18 gun battalion of 3 6 gun batteries and had Assault Guns similar to the French WWI "tanks" - a armoured boxes on tracks with a single forward-firing 75mm gun.



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Legend

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And then theres Christie.... or Pliny E Holt whos 1918Armoured Tractor PATENT seems remarkably close to the definition of Assault Gun... in factI wouldnt be suprised if it had some influence on the German variety....

Cheerswink



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Major

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I'm reading the new A7V book by Witold J. Ławrynowicz and it clearly states that A7V was developed with transporting an assault unit as a requirement and it was one of its design "limitations" (forcing larger size). Also, the crews were trained stormtroopers and would often dismount to clear enemy positions. They'd also carry dedicated assault detachments on board.

This sounds like A7V wasn't a "tank", or even an assault gun but an IFV!

Some tanks would even carry two small flamethrowers on board for the assault detachment!

The conventional view is that the French and German vehicles (except for Renault FT) were somehow failed tanks. A closer examination reveals that, instead of failed tanks, they were pioneering AFVs of other types that would be wildly successful in more technically advanced versions,
Even A7Vs themselves looked quite successful to me.

Instead the only type of the WWI tracked AFV that died out would be the British rhomboid landship.

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Brigadier

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Morgoth, I read the book, wrote a review which the author read and after that we met twice while he was in Poland in September (he lives in the US). Great guy!

Yes, A7V crews were trained as stormtroopers and thanks to numbers (around 20 men) they were able to achieve something outside the tank. No tank in history had more numerous crew.

Flamethrowers were to be used probably only by "female" A7V crews to "compensate" for lack of gun. In practice, there was only one "female" A7V (501 "Gretchen") and it was a "female" only during first two actions (St. Quentin 21 March 1918, Villers-Bretonneux 24 April 1918), later gun was added. Crew of "Gretchen" indeed used flamethrower(s) at least once.

I'm not entirely convinced though that Witold is right about A7V being designed as an armored personnel carrier. Maybe our expert mad zeppelin can help us in this matter.



-- Edited by Albert on Sunday 11th of December 2016 11:49:48 PM

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Legend

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I really doubt whether there was any intent to make the A7V a personnel carrier. For all its apparent bulk the A7V really has very limited space inside - I've seen inside the front compartment of Mephisto and thought most modern men would have trouble getting into the thing never mind using the weapons. I think the only guy who could stand (just about) upright was the mechanic with his feet in the wells beside the engines - everyone else squatted or had seats. It's true the A7V crews were trained as stormtroopers - the idea was that the tank crew could act as a useful fighting unit if the vehicle was knocked out. The MGs were easily demountable and rifles were carried for the crew who weren't MG crews.

Personally I think the article on Wikipedia should be expunged. The article exemplifies the shallow thinking which beggars much of Wikipedia. It really doesn't matter how we define or redefine WW1 armoured vehicles from a modern perspective. It seems to me that an appreciation of the vehicles and their use can only come from understanding the context in which they were created and used. Aside from the physical conditions on the Western front the perceptions of the military and technologists are equally important. For example the French obsession in 1915 about barbed wire entanglements lead to some quite bizarre and totally useless vehicles. 

Regards,

Charlie

 



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Commander in Chief

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No, the A7V was not designed as APC. It was designed as tank, all crew membes were planned to either serve the machinery or the weapons. - However, the troops in the field did not stick to bureaucratic regulations and were cramming more weapons and personnel into the vehicles than the TOE stipulated. So, in case a vehicle got stuck, you had about 25  folks dismounting, armed with 7 - 8 machine guns, some rifles, hand grenades, pistols and trench daggers. That, with Abt. 1, which had a very long training period together with SturmBtl 5, created the procedure that A7V crews (and tank crews in general) should act as assault parties, once their vehicle became unserviceable.

But: only Abt. 1 was able to profit from a long sojourn with an assault battalion. All other detachments had no - or only very cursory - storm trooper training. Hence, the practise to form assault parties was soon (already after Villers-Bretonneux, 24th April 1918) discontinued, because the minimal support provided (if at all) to the attacking infantry was considered not worth the casualties incurred.    



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Thank you, Charlie & MZ smile



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