Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 Hide
25 Posts

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Confession Friday: Mechanized or Armoured Infantry? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
Would some kind soul explain the difference between mechanized and armoured infantry as it relates to WWII German panzergrenadier regiments attached to panzer divisions? I am clueless.

(I hope that question makes at least a bit of sense!)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Barnett-Lewis
United States
Hayward
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I always thought it was simply a naming issue. I refer to it as mechanized infantry because that's what the US Army calls it. I earned my crossed rifles so I tend to think that way whistle
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordon Blizzard
United States
Winfield
West Virginia
flag msg tools
I mean, Armored Infantry generally refers to the mechanized infantry attached to US Armored divisions.

There were two kinds of Panzergrenadier regiments, those with halftracks, and those with trucks.

I'm not sure what the question is, really.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mechanized : infantry that moves around on something else than their own 2 feet - this could be bikes or trucks
Armoured : infantry that moves around in Armoured Personel Carriers - like the SdKfz 251

Didn't make a lot of difference on the sharp end of the battlefield because both types usually went in on foot anyway, but the armoured guys were a bit better protected during the move-up to the combat area.
14 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
My confusion stems, I think, from a chart of NATO symbols I've been studying. There seems to be different symbols for mech. inf. and arm. inf. (One is the infantry X with "wheels" and the other is the armoured oval superimposed on the X.) Maybe it's just a matter of nationality?

EDIT: I think Eddy has explained it. Many thanks to all!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wlewisiii wrote:
I always thought it was simply a naming issue. I refer to it as mechanized infantry because that's what the US Army calls it. I earned my crossed rifles so I tend to think that way whistle


If in reference to the Wehrmacht:

There were Panzergreandiere Bataillone (gepanzert) which were armoured infantry, equipped with schützenpanzerwagen (SPW) or armoured halftracks.

There were also Panzergrenadiere Bataillone (motoriziert) which were motorized infantry, equipped with trucks.

I don't believe any regiments were ever fully gep. (armoured), usually at most a battalion, often just a company of a battalion. This included elite units like Panzer Lehr and Grossdeutschland. Put another way, all panzergrenadier regiments were a mixture of armoured and mechanized infantry elements, excepting those which had no troop-carrying halftracks at all.

By the way, the Panzergrenadier term was not granted until 1942, as an honorific. Before this, the term for the infantry component of panzer divisions was Schützen.

(As an aside, there were also motorized and light infantry divisions, which I believe got rolled into special Panzergrenadier divisions at about the same time as the renaming in 1942.)

As always, the more you start to study things about the German Army, the more complicated you realize it was. I haven't touched on the branch of service colours, which could be white, rosa (rose pink) or weißengrunwiesengrün (meadow green - thank you Andreas) depending on which category you are discussing...
17 
 Thumb up
0.27
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Kluvon wrote:
My confusion stems, I think, from a chart of NATO symbols I've been studying. There seems to be different symbols for mech. inf. and arm. inf. (One is the infantry X with "wheels" and the other is the armoured oval superimposed on the X.) Maybe it's just a matter of nationality?


With the wheels its motorized infantry
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
billyboy wrote:
Kluvon wrote:
My confusion stems, I think, from a chart of NATO symbols I've been studying. There seems to be different symbols for mech. inf. and arm. inf. (One is the infantry X with "wheels" and the other is the armoured oval superimposed on the X.) Maybe it's just a matter of nationality?


With the wheels its motorized infantry


My head just exploded.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
As always, the more you start to study things about the German Army, the more complicated you realize it was.


Amen. I've been comparing various orders of battles I've found for Anzio and am finding it a very difficult job. Most interesting/exasperating is the goofy stuff I found in Nafziger!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Dorosh
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Tactical Wargamer's Journal
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Kluvon wrote:
billyboy wrote:
Kluvon wrote:
My confusion stems, I think, from a chart of NATO symbols I've been studying. There seems to be different symbols for mech. inf. and arm. inf. (One is the infantry X with "wheels" and the other is the armoured oval superimposed on the X.) Maybe it's just a matter of nationality?


With the wheels its motorized infantry


My head just exploded.


In 1944, a typical panzergrenadier regiment would have two battalions, and be designated as either "gep" or "mot". It's actual equipment state, however, would almost always be such that it actually contained mostly trucks. The symbols would be - symbolic, in other words, but not necessarily representative of actual equipment states.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
billyboy wrote:
Kluvon wrote:
My confusion stems, I think, from a chart of NATO symbols I've been studying. There seems to be different symbols for mech. inf. and arm. inf. (One is the infantry X with "wheels" and the other is the armoured oval superimposed on the X.) Maybe it's just a matter of nationality?


With the wheels its motorized infantry


Correct. The confusion in wargaming, I think, occurs in the designation decisions by designers and graphics folks. For example, does one apply a symbol based on a unit's name, or based on its capability?

For example, in most games, late-war German parachute divisions and regiments tend to sport the 'gull wings' in their symbols, despite that fact that they were no longer trained to jump. They might more accurately be designated as straight-leg or motorized (if they had trucks.

As Michael explained, the infantry assigned to panzer divisions was a mix of mechanized (half-tracks) and motorized (trucks) infantry, and mostly the latter. When represented by battalion-size counters, most recent games I've seen make a distinction between mech and motorized on the unit symbol. Back in the '60s, the tendancy was to mark all infantry that didn't walk as 'mechanized."
8 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Isaac Citrom
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
wlewisiii wrote:
I always thought it was simply a naming issue. I refer to it as mechanized infantry because that's what the US Army calls it. I earned my crossed rifles so I tend to think that way whistle


If in reference to the Wehrmacht:

There were Panzergreandiere Bataillone (gepanzert) which were armoured infantry, equipped with schützenpanzerwagen (SPW) or armoured halftracks.

There were also Panzergrenadiere Bataillone (motoriziert) which were motorized infantry, equipped with trucks.

I don't believe any regiments were ever fully gep. (armoured), usually at most a battalion, often just a company of a battalion. This included elite units like Panzer Lehr and Grossdeutschland. Put another way, all panzergrenadier regiments were a mixture of armoured and mechanized infantry elements, excepting those which had no troop-carrying halftracks at all.

By the way, the Panzergrenadier term was not granted until 1942, as an honorific. Before this, the term for the infantry component of panzer divisions was Schützen. There were also motorized and light infantry units, which I believe got rolled into special Panzergrenadier divisions at about the same time as the renaming in 1942.

As always, the more you start to study things about the German Army, the more complicated you realize it was. I haven't touched on the branch of service colours, which could be white, rosa (rose pink) or weißengrun (meadown green) depending on which category you are discussing...


As Michael says above...

Looking through my copy of the US War Department's Handbook on German Military Forces, I can find no mention of the word mechanized.

Infantry were either foot-bound, motorized (trucked) or armoured (half-tracks).

If I recall correctly, mechanized is a latter NATO distinction between motorized infantry and what used to be called armoured in WWII. It is infantry that is equipped with APCs, IFVs, trucks, whatever that will allow it to move along at a non-marching pace.

Don't forget that in WWII, American forces differed from German forces in that US forces used truck parks and assigned trucks to temporarily motorize infantry on an ad hoc basis. German units had organic truck assets if and when part of their TO&E and if physically available.

That is to say, from an American view, later on, the notion of a mechanized infantry unit is a relevant distinction; an infantry unit with organic vehicles.
.
11 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
isaacc wrote:
If I recall correctly, mechanized is a latter NATO distinction between motorized infantry and what used to be called armoured in WWII. It is infantry that is equipped with APCs, IFVs, trucks, whatever that will allow it to move along at a non-marching pace.


I can't speak for the current US Army applications, but back in the Cold War, mechanized was applied as low down the scale as company-level to indicate infantry that had intrinsic APC/IFVs. So, for example, when I served in the 1st Armored Division, the company I was assigned to officially was Company C (mechanized), 1st Battalion 46th Infantry. The 'mechanized' designation was rarely used in correspondence, however.

Entire divisions carried the 'mechanized' designation, as in 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), to distinguish it from straight-leg outifts. In the mid-'70s, the 3d ID had 4 armor battalions, 6 mech infantry battalions, and 1 cavalry squadron, as compared to the 1st AD which had 6 armor battalions, 5 mech infantry battalions, and 1 cavalry squadron. (It had more tanks than a WW2 armored division.)

isaacc wrote:
Don't forget that in WWII, American forces differed from German forces in that US forces used truck parks and assigned trucks to temporarily motorize infantry on an ad hoc basis.


That's true for the US infantry divisions. They relied on transportation units assigned at the corps- and army-levels to augment them for motorized transport. Independent tank and tank destroyer battalions were also attached this way.

All the armored infantry in the US armored divisions had their own halftracks. Like most all army units, they also had trucks, but not to move the infantry; they were used for logistics.

isaacc wrote:
That is to say, from an American view, later on, the notion of a mechanized infantry unit is a relevant distinction; an infantry unit with organic vehicles.
.


Agreed.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andreas Krüger
Germany
Krefeld
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Michael Dorosh wrote:
weißengrun (meadown green)


(Should be "wiesengrün", just in case anyone wants to google the proper Games Workshop paint equivalent.)
5 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Michael Dorosh wrote:
weißengrun (meadown green)


(Should be "wiesengrün", just in case anyone wants to google the proper Games Workshop paint equivalent.)


My father had a pair of trousers that color! (What was he thinking?)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Cawley
United States
Anthem
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The Germans didn't have either. They had schutzen, who later became Panzergrenadiers. As it sounds, the former just means "shooters". The later means "armored grenadiers", which has nothing to do with grenades. And it also didn't mean they were armored - it meant that they were the grenadier infantry of an armored *division*.

In the early war, the panzer divisions also had kradschutzen, which means "bike shooters" and were motorcycle mounted infantry - though they also had trucks and some armored cars. (It doesn't mean they shot at bikes...)

The US in WW II did not have mechanized infantry - it had armored infantry. Which was the infantry of an armored division, and were all mounted in armored halftracks. The US *did* have mechanized *cavalry*, who rode in jeeps supported by armored cars (wheeled, not tracked, whether half or full). The "mechanized" there distinguished the modern form from older horse cavalry and meant they moved by motor, not muscle.

The Germans also had "light" divisions, which had fewer tanks than panzer divisions, and motorized rifle divisions. It was the motorized rifle divisions that become panzergrenadier *divisions* later - while the light divisions mostly became panzer divisions, and the infantry component of panzer divisions all became panzergrenadiers, losing their designations as schutzen or kradschutzen. They also had panzer aufklarung, which means "armored reconnaissance" (technically it means "armored enlightenment", since that is what Germans think of recon as providing - personally I have always liked the idea of "armored enlightenment", like a buddhist knight).

A German armored enlighentment battalion had 1-2 companies of panzerspahwagen, "armored scout wagons" (PSW), and 2-3 companies of infantry, and one of heavy weapons. The infantry might be on motorcycles, in trucks (motorized), or mostly in trucks with one company in panzerschutzenwagen (SPW), "armored shooting wagons", or some mix of those.

In the panzergrenadier battalions, it was normal for one battalion in the whole division to have panzerschutzenwagens and the rest to all be in trucks - the most common being the "Blitz" truck made by Opel, which incidentally was just the German branch of US based General Motors. Blitz means "lightning", and to the Germans was the name of a truck, like the Corolla in "Toyota Corolla" - it was English journalists who invented the term "blitzkrieg" - "lightning war" - and pretended that the Germans had invented that concept. It would be like CNN calling the war in Libya "Corolla war" and pretending the Libyans invented it.

Why are they "grenadiers" anyway? And why are those guys in Dumas who are always fighting with rapiers called "musketeers"? It all goes back to early modern times, when...

Oh hell, you get the idea. Military nomenclature is history soaked in convention double basted in silly. Just learn it and know it, don't try to pretend it makes sense...
14 
 Thumb up
0.75
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
JasonC wrote:
. . . The US *did* have mechanized *cavalry*, who rode in jeeps supported by armored cars (wheeled, not tracked, whether half or full). The "mechanized" there distinguished the modern form from older horse cavalry and meant they moved by motor, not muscle.


Right. In the pre-WW2 US Army, the 7th Mechanized Cavalry Brigade was established primarily to exercise developing mobile doctrine and figure out how to best apply tanks -- which first appeared in WW1 -- on the battlefield. I'm sure the Army selected 'cavalry' because of the tank's similar mobility capability, and 'mechanized' because tanks and other motor vehicles were mechanical.

The US Army's experience with cavalry probably played a role in as much as at least as far back as the Civil War, cavalry was employed more in the recon, raid, and dragoon (mounted infantry) role than the traditional mounted charge role. Before WW2, the tanks were still lightly armored and armed, and so even for those who had the vision to realize that tanks would replace horses, the mech cav mission was still considered to be much that of horse cavalry.

As tank warfare developed during WW2, it became evident that the firepower and speed of armor supported by mech/motorized infantry and a capability to sustain exploitation and contact, transcended what may have been envisioned as a cavalry mission.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This unit counts as armor in Afrika (second edition) in terms of combined arms bonus. So the terms mechanized and armored can often be used rather loosely in wargaming.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
mrbeankc wrote:
This unit counts as armor in Afrika (second edition) in terms of combined arms bonus. So the terms mechanized and armored can often be used rather loosely in wargaming.



Which ties back to my point about design decisions. In this case, the designer wanted the unit to have the capability of combined arms -- whether it was or was not is not really the issue.

I seem to recall the US OB from Leyte in Island War: Four Pacific Battles. The regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division (Dismounted) were naturally included, and they resembled the other US infantry units in factors. Yet, the unit symbol was the box-and-slash symbol of horse cavalry, reflecting their unit names.

The division never got its horses back, fighting as infantry in Korea before being deactivated.

It re-emerged in 1965 when the Army's first airmobile division -- the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) -- was redesigated as 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and deployed to Vietnam, where is was most often referred to as the 1st Air Cav.

After Vietnam, it was reconfigured as an armored division for war in Europe.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Lucid
United States
Mountain House
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The kind of Infantry corresponds to how they arrive at the battle, how they are transported. I'm an Infantryman who was branch detailed to Transportation Corps so I'm an expert damnit.

Mechanized = APC track transported Infantry
Motorized = APC with wheels
Light = LPC (Leather Personnel Carrier) or truck or bus...
Airborne = obvious
Air Assault = helo
Ranger = special ops
Marine = Naval Infantry (limited use, detailed instructions required when using for all but the simplest of tasks)

Armored Infantry sounds Sci Fi like Starship Troopers, they were Mobile Infantry weren't they? MI. Then there's GW Space Marines which I'm guessing are fictional but prone to be legally dangerous to users.

The Infantry Bible was FM 7-8 and I'll admit I'm a time capsule, so some whipper snapper will probably school me and that's OK because "Nothing happens until something moves!"
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K G
United States
Delafield
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Movember
Avatar
mb
mrbeankc wrote:
This unit counts as armor in Afrika (second edition) in terms of combined arms bonus.


I can understand this. Have you ever been spat upon by a camel?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
zaphod b wrote:
Marine = Naval Infantry (limited use, detailed instructions required when using for all but the simplest of tasks)


And the Marine Response Clock begins . . . .NOW! zombie
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Lucid
United States
Mountain House
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I figured I'd bait a Marine and eagerly await my comeuppance if any of them notice. whistle
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Daglish
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mrbeankc wrote:
This unit counts as armor in Afrika (second edition) in terms of combined arms bonus.


probably because its one of a very few Italian units that fielded armour in combat.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Obsolete Man
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
zaphod b wrote:

Marine = Naval Infantry (limited use, detailed instructions required when using for all but the simplest of tasks)


Also distinguished by being trained to shoot back when under fire?

whistle
1 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.