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The Tiger/Sherman Ratio [Assistance Request]

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Otto, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I had a conversation with a couple friends recently about what I call the Tiger/Sherman Ratio (aka the Tiger ratio). This is the premise where it took X number of Sherman tanks to successfully destroy a single tiger. In general the value of X hovers between 3 and 5, but I've heard as much as 10 down to as little as 2.

    Anyone with a nuanced thought about warfare is realizes that this premise is ridiculous. The concept that a Tiger tank is sitting on one side of a giant scale and we keep adding Shermans to the other side until the scale tips the other direction isn't even suited for the most simplistic wargame.

    What I found interesting is that as much as this is discussed, I'm finding a serious lack of actual published references for it, and I'd like to find some.

    So if you are willing I'd love to get some assistance from the good Rogues of the WW2 Forums in finding actual published statements of the Tiger/Sherman Ratio. Your mission (should you choose to accept it), is to supply any and all references to this. Anything mentioned in any publication, major or minor, is welcome. As long as it is published somewhere, it's relevant to the research.

    My thesis is that this is a poorly researched piece of pop history, and I suspect that most references will be of a pop history nature; TV, movies, fictional books, comic books and the like. If there are direct historical accounts of this they are more than likely anecdotal. I will be compiling a list of the references in post #2 of this thread. I like specifics, so please provide full reference info, scans of the statements are also fantastic.

    :panzerattack: :afv_sherman: :afv_sherman: :afv_sherman: :afv_sherman: :afv_sherman:
     
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  2. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    *saved for later*
     
  3. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    I know I saw one documentary on the Bocage with some Tanker Vets talking about how they had to utilize their Shermans in a guerrilla style (Quantrill's) attack to come at a Tiger from three directions (at least) and use their agility to take each one out. I will have to look for it and hopefully get a concrete reference. RK
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The guy in my sig has some info. He was a Tiger commander, IIRC, on one of the TV shows.

    The British received 78% of lend-lease Shermans, 17,184. That would leave 27,000 or so for the US and other allies. SWAG this to 50% of the Shermans being used in ETO and we get 22,000 Shermans against at total production of ~1800 Tiger I and II. That's 12 to 1 if my maffs ain't wonky.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm certainly not well versed in this, but I find it interesting in doing some online searching that most of the articles I can find are nothing more than a variety of fora similar to this one, where someone makes an unsupported claim, and others try to refute it, but with little or no factual support. I just wonder if there are reputable printed and researched sources for this. I'm curious to follow it to see.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    This would be a good starting point: Online Bookshelves - CMH Series and Collections
     
  7. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Chris Foss's : World War ll Tanks and Fighting Vehicles says about the Tiger l " So effective was it that the Allies had to evolve special tactics to cope with it". No other mention of what the tactics were. No mention regarding the Tiger ll. However regarding the Panther: "The US Army reckoned that it took five Shermans to knock out one Panther and over 5000 Panthers had been built by the end of the war.".
     
  8. Jadgermeister

    Jadgermeister Member

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    It depends on the theater. In general there were 2.4 Allied tanks for every German tank, but in Normandy it was a good deal higher. During the time of operation Goodwood there were about 175 German tanks in Normandy, all of which were Panzer IV and Stug except for about 24, which were a combo of Tiger I and Jagerpanther. The Allies had one Firefly and one Cromwell for every German tank in total, as well as five 75mm Shermans. They had very few 76mm Shermans at the time, but the combo of Sherman 76 and other M10 was about double the German force. The German tanks were pretty much annihilated. So much for all these people saying Normandy was hard for the Allies, nearly all the Germans died.
    On D-day itself, there were only somewhere between 15-20 Stugs available, and they generally followed the erroneous order to not engage the enemy.

    I cannot answer in specific detail about any other period in France, but the Germans really were outnumbered early on. The real Tiger to Sherman ratio was quite high at certain times in Normandy, as many at 60:1 during operation Goodwood, which was one of the largest tank battles. Like I said before, most tanks were IV or Stug.
     
  9. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    You need to do more research.
    At the time of Goodwood would be July 18th and on that date there were 100+ Tigers alone in Normandy.
    All your figures are way off beam.

    60:1?

    As sPzAbt 503 was present at dawn with 44 Tigers (leave aside sSS Pz Abt 101 who turned up later with 20+) you are saying that there were 2640 Sherman attacking that day?



    The 5:1 'ratio' is a much loved statistic that is often mentioned but never referenced. You would be better employed looking for Bigfoot!
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Most of those were on the Ostfront, ja?
     
  11. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Don't follow you OP. Ostfront - the sortie into the Arctic Ocean by the Scharnhorst? I don't get it.....
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    One thing to remember is that the Shermans weren't alone, of course. The Tank Destroyers, AT guns, and the mudfeet with the bazookas helped thin out the herd.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Eastern Front, fighting the Sovs.
     
  14. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    I'm blonde...The US army reckoned it took 5 Sherman's to knock out 1 Panther- on the Eastern Front?.. Trying to understand... Or that the tactics evolved occurred on the Eastern Front?
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Okay, expanding my thought here.

    There were about 5,000 Panthers built. Most of those Panthers were used on the Eastern Front, if I remember correctly. I don't have the numbers for Panthers on the West Front, but my memory is that they were used more heavily on the other side.

    That is just to clarify in case anybody got the impression that the Shermans had to fight 5,000 Mark V panzers.
     
  16. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    This is exactly the kind of robust debate I thought this topic would generate, and while respect the relevant discussion, I didn't start this thread for discussion, it was a request for citations. :) I suspect the sources for direct tiger vs sherman combat ratios will be largely anecdotal, but I'm open to data indicating the opposite.

    Mind you I'm not attempting to say that the sherman was a better tank than the Tiger. In an open field, one vs one I think I'd chose a Tiger over the M4, but I think this direct comparison in terminally flawed by the complexity of battle.
     
  17. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Gotcha. Good point. Could you dumb it down a tad when dealing with me?
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    One Sherman with a decent crew could manage it. Given the Sherman's generally faster engagement rate it is first on target and plops a WP round into the front of the Tiger. This detonates, envelopes the Tiger in an acrid, blinding smoke that stings the crews eyes and lungs as it is sucked into the ventilation. If the Sherman crew is lucky, enough is sucked into the engine to stall the tank.
    This is followed by several APC and HE rounds that even if non-penetrating only terrify and confuse the Tiger crew further. The Sherman keeps it up until it takes off a track, shoots of the gun, or gets other damaging hits that finish the German tank....
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I don't mind expanding when asked. I'm terse from years of writing "reports" that need to be short and sharp. I file an average of 5,000 "reports" a year right now.
     
  20. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    One of the arguments I came across claimed that the Sherman was a better offensive weapon, with faster speed and better turret. The Tiger, it claimed, was more akin to a moving pill box. More heavily armored, but slower and with a weaker turret. Since I know little, if anything, about the technology of war, can someone comment on this?
     

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