Germany Overview

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German Strength

Despite their eventual loss of the war, the armed forces of Germany were armed with many highly advanced tools. The more famous tools in their possessions were undoubtedly their tanks and jet aircraft, both of which the Allies were never really able to fully counter during the conflict.

Germany is able to field more heavily armed and armoured fighting vehicles than their enemies; the Tiger, Panther and Tiger II have no real battlefield counterparts and are extremely dangerous, a fact Allied forces learned quickly during and after the Normandy landings and the liberation of France. For the Tiger and Tiger II inparticular, the only consistent way to deal with their presence during a battle was air support in the form of rocket-firing Mustangs and Typhoons that could attack the heavy tanks from the relative safety of the air. On the ground, British and American tanks were woefully undergunned and underprotected, and suffered huge losses in direct confrontations with heavy German tanks.

Germany's aircraft can also be quite spectacular. Particularly, the Fw 190A-8 superiority fighter is the most heavily armed combat aircraft available, armed with four 20mm cannons and two 15mm cannons, its damage projection far outweighs its main rivals. The Me 262, the first jet aircraft to see widespread service, is even more heavily armed, with four 30mm cannons and racks of air-to-air unguided rockets and speeds that no Allied aircraft can match.

German Weakness

For all of its strength however, German forces have several underlying weaknesses that are easily exploited by its enemies. By 1944, Germany was ruined economically -- most of its industry by this time was utterly destroyed by round-the-clock bombing from Britain and France. Perhaps worst of all, it suffered catastrophic fuel shortages that grounded many of its planes and impeded deployment of many of its tanks. Almost as bad were its manpower shortages; after 5 years of constant warfare much of Germany's available manpower, specifically men between the ages of 16-45, were heavily depleted -- a popular example of the hardships this placed on the German war machine is the fact that production of aircraft and tanks was its highest during 1944, but Germany simply did not have the fuel or the manpower to use them.

This affected the fighting capabilities of the Wehrmacht's frontline units as well. By 1944 much of Wehrmacht combat units were composed of foreign conscripts, POWs, the very young and the very old, a stark contrast to years earlier when the Wehrmacht embodied the idea of the most professional and well-trained army.

Below, each section of Germany's available forces are described.

Infantry

Germany's infantry in Spring: 1944 could be described as "better than average". Compared to American infantry and especially Soviet infantry, they can be considered superior, with better health and accuracy, but are also more expensive and slower to recruit. Against British infantry, however, they are decidedly inferior (but also cheaper).

German rifle infantry rely on the bolt-action Mauser 98K. While providing for a relatively slower rate of fire than the American M1 Carbine, it has better accuracy and power. The MP40 is a powerful weapon, superior to and often more reliable than the submachineguns available to the Western Allies. The Panzerfaust is an excellent anti-tank weapon, with excellent armour penetrating capabilities, while the Panzerschreck is the longest-ranged of the anti-tank infantry weapons. The real hallmark of German infantry however is the prevalence of the fast-firing MG42 machine gun; unlike British and Russian heavy machine guns it can be fired by a soldier on the move and it has a faster rate of fire than the American .30-caliber and the light, clip-fed machine guns of the US, Britain, and Russia. In addition to dedicated machine gun sections every German rifle squad includes one MG42, which offsets the slightly smaller size of the German squad.

Vehicles

German vehicles are somewhat lacking compared to their counterparts. The primary German transport halftrack, the Sd.Kfz. 251, is more lightly armed with a 7.62mm MG42 machinegun compared to the .50 caliber machineguns of the other factions' halftracks. Their light combat vehicle, the Sd.Kfz. 250/9, is lightly armed with a 20mm cannon and ill-suited to direct combat roles due to its thin armour, making it in many ways inferior to the 37mm-40mm cannon armed British and American armoured cars and the fully-enclosed and tracked T-60 light tank of the Soviet Union.

Tanks

Germany's tank forces on the other hand are clearly superior in many ways to their counterparts. They are generally slower but more heavily armed and armoured then tank forces of other factions, though available in fewer numbers. To make up for this, Germany can field several "interim" vehicle designs such as the Marder, StuG III and Jagdpanzers, which have excellent offensive properties but suffer the limitations of being turretless vehicles. Overall German tanks are best at killing other armored vehicles; if protected from air attack and used wisely they are often the linchpin of German strategy.

Aircraft

German air forces are varied but not as flexible as other factions. Their interceptor aircraft -- the Bf 109K -- is underpowered compared to the British and American superiority aircraft, but being an interceptor, is able to be deployed much quicker. The Fw 190A, with its heavy armament, can bring down even the heaviest aircraft but finds itself lacking in the maneuverability and speed department. The Ju-87G, Germany's ground attack aircraft, is not nearly as powerful or quick as aircraft of other factions; its 37mm underwing cannons armed only with armour-piercing ammunition are not nearly as effective as the large high-explosive rockets used by the Typhoon, Mustang and Sturmovik. Germany also lacks any specialized air assets such as paratroopers, glider forces or the like. Germany has a specialized air asset very different to their British and American counterparts, the Fi 103. It is a cheap and power alternative to bombers, yet innacurate and open to interception.

Artillery

German Artillery units are comprised of a range of units, with short range, cheap and not very powerful man cannons which do not need to deploy, medium range towed rocket platforms, deployable light howitzers, and self propelled howitzers.

Bunkers

One major advantage Germany has over its enemies is its ability to produce bunkers -- heavily-fortified structures that can withstand heavy punishment. The German Headquarters building is a bunker, giving it much better defense than British and American Headquarters; Germany can also produce Barracks Bunkers and Storage Bunkers, to ensure continued recruitment of infantry and protected supplies.