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Ardennes : Peiper's Tigers could bite.....

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Martin Bull, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    When discussing armour, I sometimes seem to get a little lost in armour thicknesses, calibres, barrel lengths, how many Shermans/Cromwells to knock out a Panther, and so on. And then sometimes I read something that makes it seem a little more 'real'.

    One such is KG Peiper at La Gleize. Yes, the King Tigers were relegated to the rear of Peiper's column, were unreliable, just 'mobile pill boxes'. But at around 17:30 on 19th December 1944, as light was fading fast, a Combat team of Shermans from 1st Platoon, Co. A, 743rd Tank Bn arrived above the village of La Gleize from Spa. They took up position among the houses of a hamlet called Roanne, and started to fire on La Gleize in the valley below.

    A number of Tiger IIs were spotted out of range approaching La Gleize on the road far below. A shot was suddenly fired, missing the Shermans completely. Moments later, another shot hit the roof of a nearby farm building.

    Sergeant Goodridge and his gunner had just left their Sherman to reconnoitre the ground when the third shot struck.....

    [​IMG]

    The three other crewmembers were killed instantly.

    The Tiger II was firing from a place called Hassoumont, and after the battle the distance was calculated to be just under 2,200 yards. Whatever may be said 'on paper', a shot like that, uphill in poor visibility late on a Winters' afternoon, seems quite impressive to me.

    ( Incidentally, this is the sort of detail available in the book 'Duel In The Mist'..... )
     
  2. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    that's not a bad shot even today
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    This is a selfish *bump* because it's taken me ages to find it ! I referred to it in the 'effective range' thread and then couldn't locate my original posting. It's still interesting to see what a KwK43 could do in battlefield conditions.
     
  4. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    ....tbh I'm surprised the Sherman would even have been visible under those conditions..it's not as if it is out in the open either....( and to go from 'roof of nearby building' to 'dead centre hull' in one shot.. :eek: )
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's simply a correction. It doesn't say where that first shot went, but the second shot hit a roof and was visible, so the shooter knew how much "Kentucky windage" to use for the next shot. Black powder shooters do that with only a half or third of the velocity of an 88, at much smaller targets and with a much simpler set of sights. In the vid below they are shooting at a 48 inch target at one mile - 1,750 yards. In these matches, the shooters look for the dust of their first shot and then correct for succeeding shots.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmSHobmGDew
     
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    That's a good point.
     
  7. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    APPENDIX 'D'
    to 21 Army Group RAC
    Liaison letter No 2



    1. Above are detail of hy tks destroyed by A Squadron in fighting round ETERVILLE.

    2. Three TIGERS engaged at 991630 at 2000 yds with 17pdr APCBC were seen to be hit repeatedly, mostly on turret
    but the rds bounced off. One of these picked us up and fired back, the other two continued firing at ETERVILLE


    Long range shots were not limited to the Germans.

    I presume you have all seen or heard the booklet 'US V German Equipment " which is a staple of the fanbois. I love it where they quote:

    "We (USA) engaged the German TII/Panther/Tiger 1 (never a PzIV or an SP) at 2500 mtrs and hit them but were not able to knock them all out. This proves our sight were inferior to the Germans who never missed at that range"

    Now correct me if I am wrong but if the return fire hits the Germans does that not mean that Allied sights were just as good? There are plenty of other such contradictions in the book and I love pointing them out to the faithful.
     
    pistol likes this.
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    You know what they say - it's different when the target can shoot back ! :XD:
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    At 2000 yards I don't think those Shermans could shoot back, or at least do any damage at that range.
     
  10. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    the following Chart contains the preliminary recommended (calculated) distances of the 8,8 cm KWK 36 for perforation of Sherman armor as per 02-1943
    (the 8,8 cm kwk 43 [v0=1000m/s] penetrates about 80 mm more armour at 2000 m as the 8,8cm KWK 36 does)
    View attachment 21791
     

    Attached Files:

  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I believe the German culture of discipline is a key factor...my Uncle didn't say much about the war, but he said the Germans could really put their mortars on target...now I come from German ancestry, I'm super punctual/orderly/etc.....I was one of the best shooters in my company in the USMC...why??? because it takes discipline...the theory of [ rifle ] shooting is so easy!!! line up the rear and front sight, and HOLD!! ....an idiot [such as myself ]can understand the theory..but it takes super discipline to hold that...and let me tell you, a lot of men didn't care,/couldn't hold/lazy to shoot straight...
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Sorry - my bad. Let's be precise ( and even a little pedantic ). This was not a firing range. The person firing the gun hadn't maybe slept too well beforehand, enjoyed a nice warm meal, and wasn't too concerned about other unseen hostile forces in the area, or possibly several other factors that may not prey on the mind of someone using a peacetime rifle range. The shot was, undoubtedly, taken under combat conditions.

    According to test figures obtained by Doyle and Jentz ( 'King Tiger Heavy Tank 1942-1945', Osprey 1993 ) accuracy of the King Tiger KwK43 was 85% at 2000m, reducing to only 43% under combat conditions. At this range, the shell could penetrate 132mm armour at 30 degrees.

    I still reckon - it wasn't a bad shot in the context of the time and circumstances.
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It was a terrific shot! I think I was more trying to point out how it was done, with corrections, and to show how the principles don't change no matter the "rifle" used. The key, I think, with that shot was the hit on the roof. The shooter had one good ranging shot to make corrections. Most shots are not observed at that distance, especially in such marginal weather. So, he got the roof hit and then it was down 4 meters and left 6 meters (whatever it was) and was able to start making hits now knowing the exact range and wind drift to account for.

    I used to do buffalo rifle shoots, though I was not talented enough to participate in matches like the one in the video. It's an interesting discipline. You of course have to account for wind, but when you get out to 1000 yards even air pressure will change your trajectory. You can be perfectly zeroed on a sunny (high pressure) day, but the following day with gloomy weather will give you fits trying to get back on target. All of that still applies with big shells like the 88, though certainly to a lesser degree. The extra velocity and mass will counter those factors to some degree, but they had one problem that long range rifle shooters don't have - they don't know the range!
     
  14. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Most Allied crewmen who got to look through German tank sights commented on the brightness and clarity of the image. In conditions such as MB posted here those sights and their light-gathering ability would be worth the extra care and expense of making them. Of course, at the time Germany was the world leader in optics. May still be for all I know.
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    We missed a turn and ended up in Roanne back in September. We had the time that day, I'll bet we could have found the general locations had I seen this thread before going.
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    yes, were the optics so much better, that the German kill ratio was ''better''?or was it?
     
  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    I don't want to get into the "kill ratio" debate. I'll just say this: If the German tigers could get the Allied tanks in a long-range duel they probably won. Also, attacking tanks are more vulnerable than defending tanks and thus had higher losses usually than the defending tanks. So, in much of NW Europe in '44-45 the German armor probably held that advantage except in the Ardennes they would be attacking in wooded areas ideal for defense.
     
  18. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Not quite. What he says is that where the range has been determined correctly and under controlled range conditions to determine dispersion accuracy is 85% and 43% is the range figure expected allowing for an average gunner and normal variations in guns and ammo. In fact 43% is the norm on a range. Jentz clearly warns that the tables do not reflect actual probability of hits under battlefield conditions The claim that the 8.8cm is 43% accurate at 2000 mtrs in combat is not made by Jentz. . Ammunition expenditure figures for the 8.8cm Flak in the desert found 10 shots per claimed kill at medium ranges and 20+ at 'long range'.
     
  19. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    There is not a single techical report to be had that shows this to be true. In fact the small number that did touch the subject found no practical difference in the optics used by both sides. Note the word 'practical'. Fine tuning your optics have a chance of a 3500 mtr kill is not worth the extra effort.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    mkenny: please quote the technical report(s) you mentioned or give a website. Until I can read those reports, I'm going to stand on what I said. German optics, from binos to gunsights were of the highest quality and where that quality is best seen is in low-light conditions. (The other place quality counts is in the coating on lenses that prevent "blooming" when one is looking through the glass toward the sun. German lens coatings were considered the best in the world at that time.)
     

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