Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/01/14

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Subject: [Leica] There's something about German design ...
From: marcsmall at (Marc James Small)
Date: Sun Jan 14 20:18:50 2007
References: <> <>

At 08:30 AM 1/14/2007, Bill Smith wrote:
 >Although I'm no authority on WWII weapons, it is legendary.........
 >and fortunate that overdesign of many of their arms and vehicles were
 >somewhat of a cause of their defeat too.

Yes and no.  The Germans really did try to make 
their military gear as user-repairable as 
possible.  The basic toolkit necessary to tune a 
Messerschmidt fighter, for instance, was around 
five pieces, something on the order of two 
wrenches, two gauges (metal pieces such as we use 
to adjust valves or ignition points, if anyone on 
the List remembers those!), and a special 
socket.  German engineers were generally required 
to go with their designs during the field tests 
and to perform the field maintenance, which made 
them very aware of the problems the poor sod who 
had to change the oil in pouring rain would have to handle.

German problems were deeper in that they simply 
lacked middle maintenance.  An end-item could be 
well handled by the using unit but even a minor 
blot would mandate that it be taken back to 
Germany for overhaul.  The US and UK had a rather 
sophisticated middle level which prevented this problem.

And then there was logistics awareness on the 
part of German planning staffs and 
commanders.  Essentially, German field commanders 
did not understand WHY fuel and ammo and food was 
unavailable:  Rommel is probably the worst 
exemplar of this and he would have been the King 
of the Orient had he given the sort of thought to 
this that was normal to Alexander or Patton or 
MacArthur or Slim.  And the German staff 
structure also ignored the loggies. The US/UK 
system mandated that all operational plans had to 
pass through the hands of the supply & 
maintenance guys to see what could realistically 
be supported.  The German system tended to work 
along the lines of the operations guys ORDERING 
the logisticians to handle things as ordered, and 
who cared if the supplies were simply not 
available?  Well, then, MAKE them available!  (I 
had a sobering discussion over Guiness about this 
in Lexington, Virginia, some months back with a 
rising German scholar in WWII:  he spluttered and 
denied and never did admit that the German staff 
system was all operations and no admin or log or 
intel, though such is the case.)

And understand why there is a splint #3 main 
bearing available for air-cooled VW 
engines.  This was mandated for operations in 
Norway (the same process which led to the KL 
Leica cameras) and proved useful on the Eastern 
Front so feared by Sergeant Schultze.  You can 
still buy these today from VW.  It is a shame 
that Leica no longer offers the double 
ball-bearing modification for LTM cameras.

Cha robh b?s fir gun ghr?s fir!

Replies: Reply from wrs111445 at (Bill Smith) ([Leica] There's something about German design ...)
In reply to: Message from at (Douglas Sharp) ([Leica] There's something about German design ...)
Message from wrs111445 at (Bill Smith) ([Leica] There's something about German design ...)