Tag Archives: Germany

The Ferdinand/Elephant is today’s annoyingly named failure

So before I relentless mock another stupid tank, I’ll just have to briefly explain how the Nazis handle military contracts, which always makes me feel ever so delightful, nothing like explain the contractual competition of the Third Reich to make one feel ever so snugly.

But I digress, the Nazis being giant horrible fans of Social Darwinism, a failed ideology only the mad, deranged and awful still believe in, actually did something that pretty much everyone else also did, put up a couple of companies, give them an objective, let’s say “A super-heavy tank that could kill Metal Gear”, wait, wrong franchise, “A REALLY BIG FUCKING TANK”, and then let them vomit out some prototypes.

The prototypes would compete against each other, Porsche would lose due to their drive train and transmission being goddamn stupid as fuck, and everyone else would generally win.

Porsche had this thing about gasoline-electric drive, which is essentially what modern hybrid cars have today, a gasoline engine driving an electric generator, which then drives electric motors, just without anything even vaguely looking like modern batteries.

Henschel & Son was the company who actually got the orders for the Tiger and the Tiger II, because their transmission wasn’t idiotic as fuck in the 1940’s, even if both of those tanks were notoriously under-powered and had reliability issues out the nose, those problems could be easily placed on the shoulders of Adolf “I like big tanks and I can’t lie” Hitler.

So the Ferdinand, which was it’s initial common name, the official name was Panzerjäger Tiger (P) and the ordnance designation was Sd.Kfz. 184, was basically the leftovers from Porsche’s failed big for the Tiger I.

One of two surviving Elephants, one held by the USA and one by the Russian Federation.

For some hilariously optimistic reason, Porsche had produced a hundred chassis for their version of the Tiger, both proposals used a Krupp turret you see, which with the vastly superior Henschel design being selected, were now just redundant junk.

But Hitler really like Ferdinand Porsche, so somebody decided to use the chassis for a really big Tank Destroyer instead, mounting the Tiger II’s nice big 88 gun (8.8 cm Pak 43 for you massive nerds).

He looks so harmless doesn’t he? He was Adolf Hitler’s favorite big dumb tank designer.

In a remarkable stroke of luck, the hybrid drive system was actually really easy to relocated the front of the chassis, seeing as it’s just a bunch of electrical cables, not a great big stonking drive shaft that needs moving, so the chassis could fairly easily be used for the Tank Destroyer Role.

Ninety-One were made, with an additional three being converted into recovery vehicles, and eighty-nine of them were baptized in fire and failure at the Battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle of World War Two.

Now, to be fair, the Ferdinand’s gun was really amazing, at range, with support, however, the Ferdinand was slow as piss and kept breaking down and the repairs could only really be done from outside of the tank itself, it also had no machine gun for close defense.

So Soviet Infantry could take them out from the side, it also didn’t help that the Soviets had so many tank it didn’t really matter what the Ferdinand’s Kill/Death Ratio was.

Especially seeing as the massive weight (65 tonnes) required FIVE recovery tanks to pull it and the Germans never had enough of those.

Kurst was a failure and the fifty surviving Ferdinand would be recalled for reworks a few months later, 43 of them being refitted with a better commanders Cupola, a machine gun in a ball mount, improved grates on the exhaust and Zimmerit anti-mine paste (More than a few Ferdinand’s were lost to mines).

Hmm? What? Oh Italy.

The now renamed Elephant would continue to serve poorly to the end of the war, for some awful reason several were shipped off to the Italian theater, nobody bothering to check the freaking bridges and roads if they could handle a 65 tonnes heavy monster of a tank, surprise, they couldn’t, so the Elephants mostly just got stuck somewhere and were used as static defenses for a while.

The Elephant Tank Destroyer, great gun, shit everything else. The story of Nazi Germany in a nutshell. The Elephant I’d argue was an even worse tank than the Maus, mostly because more of them existed.

The Panzer VIII Maus was a big sodding failure

The Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus, Mouse on English, was an abomination of a tank, a Super-Heavy tank and one of the few who ever left the drawing table.

Super-Heavy tanks tend to share something in common, they really weren’t that terribly viable as weapons of true mass warfare, expensive and inflexible, most of them were cancelled before they ever reached anything that even vaguely resemble a prototype, most only ever appear on paper.

The Maus was basically a project assembled by piece of technological marvel that Ferdinand Porsche had developed for his proposed version of what would later become the Tiger II heavy tank.

The Tiger II was fairly silly on the grander scale, the Maus was outright fucking stupid on even a smaller scale, 188 tons of massive monstrous weight, ten meters long, three point seven wide and three point six high.

Designed as a breakthrough tank, for a period when Nazi Germany had long ago stopped doing any sort of breakthroughs beyond pointless wonder weapons.

The thing is, the Maus was by no means the biggest tank ever planned by the Nazi, the Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte (Rat) was so large it would have required a shipyard to build, the Ratte would have clocked in at well over a thousand tons, utterly beyond dumb, however, if it had been build, the sheer amount of resources spent on it, would probably had ended World War Two much earlier.

The Maus’ true failure lies in the fact that it actually reached the Prototyping stages, two prototype hulls were constructed, the second of the two were destroyed in the final stages of the war, with it’s turret intact.

The first hull had been dispatched as a support vehicle, but never reach anything important, the Soviet’s mated the intact turret and the first hull together, using 18 cranes to achieve it, mostly for test purposes.

After testing, the only surviving Maus was transferred to the Kubinka Tank Museum, were it remains to this very day.

Don’t stick to your ideas, when it becomes painfully obvious how dumb they are, also when Adolf Hitler think’s it’s a good idea, run the fuck away.

There are holes in the front, from various tests of “How the hell do we fuck this thing up?”

The Twelve Battles of the Isonzo River is today’s staggeringly massive utterly wasteful failure.

It’s the 23rd of June 1915, the glorious Kingdom of Italy have just joined the Entente in the war against the Central Powers, they were promised territory, they didn’t get as much as they wanted, this failure was one of the reasons why.

It’s the end of June, 225.000 Italian soldiers attacked the Austro-Hungarian army across the valley of the river Isonzo, today called by its Slovenian name Soča, thousands of poor young boys flooded across the valley, under the fire of artillery and towards entrenched enemies on the opposing side, fourteen thousand dead for the Italians, ten thousand for the Austro-Hungarians, the Italians actually outnumbered their enemy 1:2.

The result? Two hills captured by the Italians, tactical victory to the Austrians, thus the first Battle ends.

The second? The Italians actually had some successes, it helped when they’ve got a quarter of a million men and the enemy has 78.000, unfortunately, the Italians also had Luigi Cadorna, an incompetent idiot if ever you ran into one, the very personification of Italian military prowess, brave soldiers, awful officers and absolutely staggeringly, incomprehensible, reprehensible and stupefying idiotic Leaders.

Luigi Cadorna, incompetent twit

The battle ended when the RAN OUT OF BULLETS. Tactical victory to the Italians, the only lost 41.800 compared to 46.600, that’s a victory in World War One.

And then the Third Battle of the Isonzo, now Cadorna have actually learned something, after using the blood, sweat and fucking tears of some sixty thousand Italian boys, artillery is really awesome and frontal attacks WILL CONTINUE!

Hey, a step forwards, artillery is important, he’s learning. Not enough, the Italians would keep attack on limited fronts and through terrains that negated their massive numerical advantage, even if this was the first battle were, they actually had helmets.

Another Sixty thousand plus casualties for the Italians, some forty for the Austrians, failure for the Italians, even if loses were proportionally roughly the same.

The fourth, to damn cold, more casualties for the Italians, in the end December and the winter brought everything to standstill, why anyone would fight this kind of war in the middle of the winter is beyond anyone sane, but sanity isn’t a requirement for Generals after all.

The fifth was even more pointless than usual, basically a bit of sabre-rattling from the Italians, mainly just to keep the French at bay. The Italians took a mountain, huzza.

The Sixth Battle? Was a Victory for the Italians, this time to actually managed to get an entire city, paid fifty thousand casualties for it, that’s what frontal assaults do to an army.

The Seventh Battle? Inconclusive as they say, basically everyone died in roughly the same amount, pure attrition warfare.

The Eight battle, much the same, just more dead, fifty-sixty thousand on the Italian side, 38.000 on the Austrian side, the biggest splash was the death of Antonio Sant’Elia, of the leading lights of Futurist architecture (One of the predecessors to the later Art Deco movement), the battles become shorter and shorter, the armies are getting tired at this point.

The Ninth, the Austro-Hungarians are starting to lose the War of Attrition at this point and the Italians manage to advance, slowly, but an advance is an advance.

The Tenth had a change of plans, most of the previous attempts were narrow breakthroughs, this one was a forty kilometre massed assault against the Austrians, the Italians had a 1:2 advantage again, 400k against 200k, the result? Little territory was really gained, 150,000 Italians casualties, 125,000 Austrian, the war of Attrition was taking its toll on everyone at this point.

The Eleventh? 200,000 plus casualties spread across both sides, the Italians managed to move forward a little, the Austro-Hungarian armies were actually at their breaking point at this stage, one more assault would have broken them, too bad the Italians couldn’t attack again even if they wanted to.

But hey, the Royal Bavarian Infantry Lifeguards Regiment got a march out of it, it isn’t all bad.

And now for the final one: The Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, which also have its very own name, the Battle of Caporetto, because guess what? The Germans have arrived, with all the cool tricks and clever tactics they’ve learned at the Western front and against the Russians, assault troopers, infiltration tactics and poison gas.

The Italians were absolutely fucking destroyed here, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND casualties, the Second Army basically gone, the Italians had 800,000 soldiers against 350,000 Germans and Austro-Hungarians and they absolutely lost.

Unfortunately, the rest of the war being as it was, there really were no further opportunity or resources to carry on and knock the Italians out of the War, the Germans were starving at this point, literally.

Luigi Cardorna would later be promoted to Marshall of Italy by Mussolini, in a blatant attempt to pretend Italy won great Victories in the Great War and deserves much more. He’s son would actually do much better in World War Two, changing sides in the end and fighting against the Germans in Northern Italy.

This guy was made a Baron and a Marshall, the only Marshall the south Slavs had produced so far.

Svetozar Boroević, the primary commander for the Austro-Hungarians, would be promoted to Marshall and ennobled during the war, sadly, his fellow Croats and south Slavs weren’t very welcoming, he was buried in Austria. The result? Italy’s poor performance during the war, resulting in them not really getting anything good, which was one of the issues exploited by the Fascist as they took over.

The many kinds of Healthcare


So yeah, there are more than one alternative to handle Healthcare in a country, and most of them have a bunch of hybrid solution that blends elements of them all.

So let’s run through the three “pure” ways of handling healthcare in a nation:

Universal government owned healthcare:

This is the one the American Republicans would call “Socialist”, it’s fairly straightforward, the state has every citizen in a giant database, you show up at your local hospital through either a doctor, an accident or the emergency room.

You get treated, it costs you absolutely nothing, it’s paid collectively through the taxes everyone pays. Fairly straightforward, this is the basic model used in the Scandinavian countries and to a degree Great Britain through the NHS.

It does carry a fairly large bill and depending on the nature of the system, a potential waiting list and inefficiency.

But people don’t die in the streets, or at home, generally.

Government owned, mandated or heavily legislated Healthcare insurance.

This is the method used in German and Japan, among others, it’s also fairly simple. It’s a system based on private or public hospitals, who get paid through either government run health insurance companies or private companies that often operate in a sort of cooperative method, i.e. mostly non-profit or mandated not to produce larger profits than some legislative limit.

It generally works, in Germany your job actually pays to private non-profit companies, and if you lose your job? Off to the government subsidy, so people, you know, don’t die in the gutter and other such uncivilized stuff.

I gave an example on the Japanese system in yesterdays update, it does seem to have some problems actually paying enough to the healthcare companies and doctors.

The anarchy model, no control, limited or no government intervention.

Note, that I refrain from using laissez faire, because this model sucks. This is the model most commonly used in dirt poor African and Asian nations, it’s absolutely horrible and mandates that the poor have to make use of local clinics, often funded by who knows what, and old traditional methods.

It’s also the American model, just with an actual healthcare system present, completely run through the medium of private for-profit virtually unregulated healthcare insurance companies, which is why the most common reason for bankruptcy in America, is medical bills.

It, as we have seen in the US, doesn’t work at all, even with the American patchwork programs of Medicare and Medicaid, who are only directed towards those below or just above some Federal Poverty limit, which is a problem when lots of people lose their jobs, and thus their healthcare insurance, and for when the profiteering companies decided to go “Ha ha, fuck you” and dump you for the old insurance “Act of God” bullshit.


Shit, there’s tons of hybrid solutions, the Universal Government Healthcare often has possibilities for the rich and resource wealthy to simply skip the entire public waiting list and emergency room and just check into one of the many private hospitals and recently, in Denmark at least, some companies hand out private insurance as a little additional to their crucial employees, insures that they get them back to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also often used to just everyone, to draw people to the company.

Not in these days with crisis of course.

The second option is really a hybrid already.

Now for the American/Dirt poor country method? Perhaps some sort of Government Non-profit Health Insurance company to provide some proper competition to large Insurance companies who really only benefit people with a job or their shareholders or their CEOs.

Or perhaps a shift into the second model, and regulated the shit out of an area that always should have been heavily legislated.