Military Might: 1941 Germany vs 2003 Iraq

Military Might: 1941 Germany vs 2003 Iraq

That pretty much covers it. How do I find the relevant info to make this comparison? Does anyone know of internet sites I can use for cites?

Germany would be toast. Saddam’s military is equipped with fairly mordern equipment. WWII Panzer’s wouldn’t stand a chance against any battle tank of today. They outrange, out power, out speed, out armor, out target anything the Germans had.

Airforce likewise. A modern jet with onboard radar (which WWII planes did not have) would sweep the skies clean.

Artillery again the Germans are done for. Modern artillery is far mroe accurate today with computers aiding trajectory calculations and such (beyond that I don’t think artillery is very different today than in WWII).

Helicopters…weren’t even invented till after WWII.

About the only thing the Germans would likely overmatch the Iraqis is on man-to-man fighting and that they had far better generals. Still, with the technical advantages the Iraqis have I don’t think that’d make enough of a difference.

I think he is trying to compare on how 1941 German stood in the world scheme in 1941 vs. How 2003 Iraq stands in miltary scheme to rest of world in 2003

You may need to go to an actual book for the information on 1941 Germany. There are sites that provide information, but it tends to either be schematic (showing ideal organization rather than what was in the field) or particular (focussing either on a specific front or on a specific type of force such as panzers or infantry).

A few decent sites include:
Achtung Panzer!

Third Reich Factbook

(From these sites, look for linked sites or web rings that will let you seek out further information.

For Iraq, try

Iraq Watch

Jane’s is the best general source on all contemporary military forces, but they require subscription to get into many of their more exhaustive reports.

Now, if you want to compare Germany’s 1941 military might relative to the rest of the world in 1941, and Iraq’s 2003 military might relative to the rest of the world in 2003, Germany was far better prepared to put up a good fight. Iraq today is weaker than it was during the Gulf War, and would essentially be steamrollered over by the U.S. About all they can hope to achieve is to generate ill will towards any attackers by putting civilians next to their significant targets.


In that case Germany was far better off. I don’t have cites for numbers but to me the really important piece is that Germany manufactured all of its own weapons and its weapons were among the most advanced in the world at the time. Iraq has to buy everything (I don’t even know that they manufacture theri own pistols/rifles).

If you want to go on a world conquering jaunt it’s probably best if you can supply yourself with what you need.

Another important point would be supplies, Germany was pretty well off as far as food goes at the start of WW2. My understanding Iraq’s food situation isn’t what one would call favorable.

Didn’t germany have a hell of a lot more tanks/guns/troops than Iraq does right now? I’m still comparing both countries fighting btw.

A Pazer tank still has a pretty decent main gun. It might not stop a modern M1A2 (with one shot) but Iraq, AFAIK, as T-55s and T-80s doesnt it? And 4 to 1 odds are still 4 to 1 odds (against the Iraqis).

If Germany has some decent tactician and a little surprise I think they’d win.

My guess is that the OP was asking the question Whack-a-mole answered in the first response, simply because I can’t imagine anyone seriously wondering if 1941 Germany was a more powerful military might in 1941 than Iraq is in 2003.

Even given that, judging by their last mass surrender… err… I mean skirmish, I think a group of school girls armed with sligshot would be able to defeat the Iraqi army of today. They simply don’t have a will to fight.

and so, my answer would be Germany simply because they were pumped and primed for hardcore combat.

Well, the OP specified 1941. The Panther did not enter production until January, 1943. The Mark IV panzers that were the common German weapon of 1941 were only good in comparison to the majority of the tanks they met, then. The American Sherman was designed to destroy Mark IVs with impunity (which proved a serious disadvantage to allied tank crews when they actually came up against Panthers). Similarly, the Tiger was not even designed until 1942. The short-barrelled 75mm gun on the Mark IV was improved to a higher-velocity long gun–but not until February of 1942–and it would still have been seriously under-armored compared to Iraqs Soviet-built tanks.

A 1941 German panzer army would, on paper, be utterly unprepared for the current Iraqi arsenal. (If you throw in the quality of the leadership and crews, you might need to re-examine the situation, but the Iraqis were not pushovers when attacking Iran.)

Air power
Germany 1941 had aircraft that were the best in the world, and possessed them in vast quantities relative to other countries. Against their early targets, even the lowly Stuka was a devastating state-of-the-art weapon that supported armor and infantry on the ground. Furthermore, Germany had factories, engineers and scientists who designed these craft. As a result, they could adapt and improve them. Germany certainly didn’t buy its aircraft from the French, or something.

Iraq has modern aircraft, but much was destroyed in the last war. They don’t have an industry to improvise the production of new weapons on a massive scale. There is no comparison.

Sea power or other strategic interdiction technology
Germany had the U-boat, and for years the Allies had virtually no defence. In retrospect, the U-boats were very effective and could have starved Britain if the German fleet had been willing to take bigger losses early in the war.
Iraq can’t use sea power, but it also has no equivalent means to deprive the enemy of resupply and logistical support. No contest. Germany wins again.

Iraq, however, could still put up a devastating fight against its immediate neighbours with its current forces. But if a major power opposed them (i.e. US, UK), there is no way that Iraq could hold onto its victories for the years that Germany did. Can you imagine what would happen if Iraq invaded Russia in winter?

Iraq does have the possibility of using “terrorist war”, covertly supplying anti-Western suicide bombers with weapons of mass destruction for use on American or European soil. There is no equivalent in Germany’s 1941 scenario. With Iraq under such close scrutiny, it’s hard for me to say whether it CAN do this without being detected.

One other possibility is if Pakistan has a fundamentalist Islamic revolution, then all bets are off. If Iraq wasn’t already being invaded, then it could ally with Pakistan and the terrorist war would have nuclear weapons. That would cause a strategic shift in a war, and probably history itself. I doubt the Wahabi sect and Saddam have much love for each other, but they would have a common enemy. Mind you, India would be on hair-trigger alert with its nuclear forces. What a mess.

I would disagree with Whack-a-mole’s preliminary assessment.

  • Saddam’s military is equipped with fairly mordern equipment. WWII Panzer’s wouldn’t stand a chance against any battle tank of today. They outrange, out power, out speed, out armor, out target anything the Germans had.

That may be true, but Germany’s strategists were one for scacrificing men needlessly. They were brilliant in strategy and tatctics and brute force alone doesnt always win the day. If that were true, germany couldve easily taken the advantage back from the puny sherman tanks. Manufacturing is the key. Once germany got a hold of any captured T-72s, modifications to the Tiger could easily overcome any initial disparity in technology.

Airforce likewise. A modern jet with onboard radar (which WWII planes did not have) would sweep the skies clean.

This is a very big disadvantage. One must have total air superiority to win any modern battle and ME-109s are no match for migs. But then Russia is right next to Germany. Iraq doesnt have exclusive rights to import russian military equipment.

as fas as helicopters, I dont believe Iraq have helicopter gunships and whatever advantage they can get from troop carriers doesnt seem to be in the iraqi military repertoire. I think the German fighting spirit, esprit de corp, battle cohesiveness, military strategy and tactics can eventually overcome any disadvantage modern tecnolgy can bring to the battlefield.

Remember, If it was just about technology, then Vietnam shouldve been a cakewalk.

The German Panzer Mks I-IV would have a hard time holding their own against an Iraqi BMP-1 fighting vehicle, much less a post-WWII tank.

The disparity becomes even worse when one compares the order of battle of the 1941 Panzerguppe Afrika–the only German (and Italian) units which were realistically prepared for desert combat–against today’s Iraqi order of battle.

please re-state your question. We’re not sure what your asking. :confused:

The Shermans ultimately ‘won’ the day because they outnumbered the German tanks (in total number produced) something like 4-1. Good thing too because the Allies themselves estimated it’d take about 4 Shermans to kill one Panzer (three dead Shermans and the fourth Sherman would get the Panzer).

However, I think the technical disparity between a WWII era Panzer and a modern Russian T-72 is FAR greater than the difference between a Panzer and a Sherman. The German tanks wouldn’t stand a chance.

Remember WWII tanks had to stop to shoot. Ok…they didn’t have to stop but any chances for scoring a hit on another moving tank while moving at any decent speed were slim to none. Modern tanks have gun stabilization systems and laser range finders and all sorts of other goodies. They can fire quite well while tearing about the battlefield. I also wonder if a Panzer’s gun could even seriously damage a modern tank. I think the best they could reliably hope for would be to cause a modern tank to slip a tread.

Add air supremacy into the mix, with or without helicopters, and Iraq would own nearly any German force pitted against it…certainly in the open terrain of Iraq. Germans had far superior generals but Iraq’s generals aren’t complete buffoons and I’m sure they’d manage well enough with their technical superiority.

Vietnam wasn’t a cakewalk for the US because the terrain severly limited the advantages of the US. On an open field where you can see for miles the US is going to kick-ass. When in a jungle and you have to use foot soldiers who can’t start to fight till their nearly on top of their enemy then the playing field is levelled. A really good rifle/machine gun versus a mediocre rifle/machine gun is only going to net you a marginal advantage in those conditions.

Further, Vietnam was lost for lots fo other reasons. I believe the US actually won every set-piece battle it went into against the Vietnamese. Didn’t matter in the end…we won the battles more often than not but still lost the war.

But why couldn’t the advantages the Vietnamese had over the US apply to the Germans over the Iraqis? Sure, both are dictatorships, but compare German military morale vs Iraqi military morale. Iraq may have fearsome tanks and aircraft on paper, but they could barely keep them running during the Iran-Iraq war. The Iran-Iraq war, despite the V-2 like Scud missile city attacks was primarily a war of infantry, machine guns and barbed wire. A reprise of WWI.

Another salient point - is the war taking place in Iraq or Germany? Or somewhere else?

Iraq’s airpower advantage wouldn’t do much good in a war to take place in Germany - they have a handful of fighters which may or may not be capable of making the roundtrip to Germany, and AFAIK, no bombers.

Ok…I guess you need to define the goal of the war. IS Iraq attacking Germany and hopes to occupy the country? If so then Iraq will have a tough time of it as the Germany goes guerilla. However, Germany attacking Iraq the Iraqis would not need to go guerrilla as they could probably stop the Germans in a straight-up fight.

Of course, you also have to consider the people behind the scenes running the show. The US values its soldiers and the populace at home get real cranky and will vote out the politicians continuing the war if it isn’t popular. Saddam on the other hand doesn’t give a crap about anyone else’s life and doesn’t give a crap about public opinion at home (not that they are really allowed an opinion of their own). So, if Saddam wanted to pour troops at guerilla fighting Germans endlessly then he probably would and keep the war going on indefinitely.