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Those poor old Shermans - It took 5 to kill a Tiger

Discussion in 'Sacred Cows and Dead Horses' started by T. A. Gardner, Jul 9, 2004.

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  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The M4 was inferior to the Tiger and Panther in some ways in general it was probably supperior although not by much to the MK-IV. In Normandy and indeed across France the Germans had the advantage of being on the defencive as well. In any case M-4's caught fire when penetrated at about the same rate the German tanks did (indeed less than some while a bit more than others although it's not clear that any of the differences are statistically significant).

    It's not at all clear that those are the two most important aspects by any means. If you are talking a 1 on 1 tank duel then you can make a pretty good case for it. If you are talking an armored division vs another armored division then it's simply not the case.

    Is there? Certainly not from what I've read.

    Not really.

    Or not. A fact that is worth remembering in this regards is that more tank crewmen became casualties outside their tanks than inside. Artillery and small arms killed more tankers than AT guns did (whether vehicle mounted or not).

    That would explain why they ended up scattered across that same countryside in allied hands now wouldn't it.
     
  2. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    The Tiger transaxels caught fire without being penetrated :)
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Panthers were also known to self immolate at least in the period shortly after their introduction.
     
  4. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    The Tiger was a heavy tank. Designed to outclass every other tank of its time. Its like sending a battleship to deal with destroyers and then claiming the only reason you won is because your battleship crew were better trained than the destroyers crew.

    Tiger crews were nor 'elite' nor were they specialy trained. If you were a 18 year old German conscript you went to a Tiger Unit if your name was at the top of the list when they asked for replacements. Tiger crews suffered just as many crew casualties as Allied tankers. I have found no difference at all in crew loss rates in Sherman and Tiger Units. Indeed at Villers Bocage (so often claimed the pinnacle of Tiger success) 4th CLY had 12 killed and SS 101 lost 10 men. Per tank lost the German figure is much higher that 4th CLY. As for the Tiger with 'XXX hits and still running' stories well leaving aside the vast majority of hits were infantry rifle AT hits how about a Churchill version?

     

    23rd October 1942. Churchill tank in North Africa. Tank commanded by 2nd Lt Appleby advances over a ridge towards the Germans. Soon it is seen reversing back over the ridge. Suddenly it stopped, smoke appeared and it burst into flames.
    Examination of the wreck found 38 x 50mm frontal strikes of which one had penetrated. 7 x 75mm strikes of which one had penetrated. 1 HE strike. There were 8 x 57mm strikes in the rear of the tank of which at least 4 penetrated.
    Conclusion: German fire struck the tank 46 times but only managed 2 penetrations. Whilst reversing the tank was mistakenly fired on by a 6pdr battery which finaly knocked it out.
    The Tiger had 14 x 45mm and 11 x 76.2 hits (25) but the Churchill received 38 x 50mm and 7 x 75mm hits (45).

    Detail rehashed from info on page 106 of Mr Churchill's Tank .

    Wittmann's kill claims in Russia are highly supect and from being a complete unknown he rockets to super-tanker in a matter of weeks. When he gets transfered to Normandy has one bit of luck at Villers and makes no othe impact before getting killed by a rookie Sherman gunner with his first (and only) live fire in action.

    His Normandy kill claim of 20+ tanks is complete fiction. He may have got perhaps 8 of which 2 were Stuarts and 2 were Artillery observation tanks
     
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Not borne out by the facts

    5th RTR

    June- Aug 31: lost 29 tanks with 41 KIA 108 WIA 14 MIA




    12th SS



    June lost 31 Tanks with 48 KIA 79 WIA 16 MIA



    Goodwood 18-20 July 1944 413 UK tank casualties with 117 KIA 281 WIA 51 MIA
     
  6. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    lj, the thread relevance is that it took many vehicles to kill a tiger no matter what battlefront you were on.

    no they were not "elite" crews, I never said anything of the kind. You were not allowed to drive, shoot or command a tiger without extensive experience in other vehicles. If you were a replacement, most likely your new job would be loader or radio op.

    No other tank of any side has a psychological malaise associated with it. there was no "T-34 fever", for instnce. There was a brief period of shock, but the Germans always dealt wwith heavier tanks by changing their approach, not simply throwing more machines at them. They were outnumbered, and could not afford such extravagance.

    And Von Poop, if you are going to rebutt, for Gods sake come up with some figures. I'm trying to stimulate genuine debate, not just prove how clever i am compared to other members. If you disagree, show me why. I think thats a reasonable request
     
  7. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    And furthermore, I am on record as saying on this very forum that "A tank is only a weapons system. It's the crew quality and the way they use that wepons system that turns it into a success or failure." This was in response to s debate about which tank was 'better", Sherman or Pershing, T-34 or KV, and it went round and round, with specifications flying back and forth; my post was the only one that even considered the delicate protoplasm that ran the machine.

    look, I don't sit on this website to expand my ego. I sit here to get a better understanding of conflict, mostly WW2, sometimes others. Lots of people here are far more intelligent than I'll ever be. But that doesn't mean that, sometimes, I may come up with something that all the oversized brains did not think of, or in this case, run across a source as a wargamer that most have not seen. I like this site, even when I go down in a debate.
     
  8. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Where is the evidence for your claim?
    The trouble with Russian examples is that they are uncheckable. Give an example from Normandy where we can see both sides of the story.
     
  9. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Theres another dimension to this.

    When 'command" released this game, designed by one of their sub editors and developed in house, the audience for it was just like you fellas, except that they played the games. The expectations of Desch and co were therefore much higher. Some subscribers used to send long letters, detailing spec and info, in an attempt to rebutt assumptions made by game designers. The gamers themselves would test their theories on the gameboard, hit the books again, and then fire off a reply. There was a lot of ego involved, but th basic premise is that thes subscribers wanted ACCURACEY over everything else. The wanted their games designed by people who had a VERY good grasp of the situation they were designing. It wasn't on the level of "Axis & Allies", (a die rolling contest). the gamrs wanted the DECISIONS made in the course of the game to determine the winner, not the luck factor or the sheer number of pieces on the board.

    This unique bio-feedback process gave a level of understanding all round that was superior to books and raw data. They were making it happen. The hobby even dervived a terminology for this type of expert gamer/historian, the GROGNARD. The term meant "complainer", and its what napolean's grizzled veterans were referred to. Grognards strove for historical accuracy above ALL. Some of the games that came out of that period have still not been equalled for an all round package of as much accuracy as possible, playability and excitement, replay value, and as educational tools. The staffers of company's, (particularly SPI before it shut its doors), they were people just like the ones I meet on this forum. Heck, people still play ASL here, and there are more than likely a few subscribers as well.

    So, when someone like John Desch tells me through the auspicies of "Command" magazine that "THERE WERE ONLY 12 TIGERS AT PROKHOROVKA", I believe it.

    Because if it weren't so, some grognard would have told him......a long time ago....in a society far far away....
     
  10. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Sources are the loss figure themselves....the disparity of numbers between German write offs, (approx. 70), and Russian write off, (anywhere between 240 and 400 machines). Soviet losses would not include tanks they svaenged from the field after the Germans retired, if that is how the soviet system worked, which i doubt.

    I have no figures for Normandy. I'll leave that up to you intelligent fellows!

    Oh, tiger figures for Prokhorovka? 12 working Tigers present on the mornng of July 12. By the end of the day, 7 knocked out. I have no idea how many were salvagable, but as described above, one vehicle had 80 hits, but was back in service after three days.

    Extropolate that. Those tigers were having a battlefield effect way out of proportion to their numbers. the soviets couldn't bring themselves to admit that, not with their losses, so they bandy about this 100 figure, and in their unique style, they keep repeating it until they believe it themselves.

    yes yes, the germans can also lie about the GPW, but, they were the strategic losers on the day. Their unit returns for vehicle servicability are a better indicator of losses than eyewiness testimony, as soviet figures rely on.

    It's that simple.
     
  11. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    If the Tiger was such a big killer then it must have been able to replicated this in Normandy. For sure it did not and that is not because vastly inflated claims are made for it just that they can be checked and shown to be false. In Russia no checking is possible and the silly kill claims survive to sustain the believers.
    I suspect you steer clear of 'Normandy' kill claims for just that reason-because you know they can be proved to be false.
     
  12. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Oh, for Lwd, I repeat what was at the first paragraph of Desch's work.

    The most significant factor in a a 'Killer' tank is the length of time the crew has been together.

    This factor is ENHANCED by protection and lethality of main armament.

    All other considerations are secondary. If a crew has inferior protection and a puny main gun, most likely they will not survive, either individually or as a team, to become a "Killer Tank"

    And the Tiger had more "Killer Crews" than any other type of tank.

    straght line logic.
     
  13. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    No kenny. I am stearing clear of the normandy stuff because I HAVE NO DAMNED BOOKS OR GAMES on the subject.

    So rather than trying to sound as if I've got it all, I would rather you check youselves, and come to your own conclusions.

    No sinister motive.

    Of course, if I was trying to inflate my ego, I would be making all sorts of claims....as some here do.
     
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  14. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    You have made a lot of claims. Claims that seemed to be based on nothing more than what you 'expect' to be true. You have made a number of statements that just are not true and when presented with actual dead crew numbers and actual tank losses you completely igonore it. The figures show individual units where 'expert' Tiger crews had higher losses than Sherman crews.
     
  15. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Ok....John Desch's sources, as listed at the conclusion of the historical article, (page 34 of the magazine)

    BBC Television, "Mother of all Battles", Timewatch, 1993
    Erickson, John, The Road to Berlin, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975.
    Glantz, D.M. From the Don to the Dnepr. Frank Class, 1991.
    Healy, M. Kursk, 1943, Osprey Campaign series, no.16, 1992.
    Hoog, Ian, ed. German Order of Battle, 1944. Greenhill, 1994.
    Jukes, Geoffrey, Kursk, Ballentine books, 1968.
    Lehmann, R. The Liebstandarte, vol.III, Fedorowicz, 1990.
    Macksey, Kenneth, Tank Facts and Feats, Two continents, n.d.
    Orgill, Douglas, German Armour, Ballantine Books, 1974.
    Scnieder, Wolfgang, Elefant-Jagdtiger-Sturmtiger, Schiffer, 1990.
    Stadler S, Die Offensive gegen Kursk, 1943: II SS Panzerkorps als Stosskeil im Grosskampf, Munin Verlag, 1980.
    Syndor, C.W. Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division 1933-1945, Princeton, 1977.
    Thatch, Joeseph E., The Battle of Kursk, July 1943, Univ. Microfilms International, 1985.
    Ornstein, Dr. Harold S., trans. "Tank Forces in Defense of the Kursk Bridgehead." Collection of Materials in the Study of War Experience, no.11, March-April 1944. Reprinted in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, vol.7 no.1, 1994.
    Ziemke, E.F. Stalingrad to Berlin, U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1968.
     
  16. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    All I'm saying Kenny is that, in the interest of validating the subject of this thread, the evidence i have is that conditions in russia validate the claim.

    That is, if the same conditions of terrain were in normandy, the same should hold true.

    but, normandy was different, as you stateed, and as we all know.

    But, a lot of similarities existed. German crew experience was definately better. So, when the situation was favourable, the same result must have occurred more often than not, that is, that it took multiple vehicles to get rid of a tiger. which is what we were trying to prove/debunk.

    And under optimum conditions...IT DID.
     
  17. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Also Kenny, your figures failed to take into account the air support. How many of those SS tanks were lost to air strikes? or Artillery? Just the raw figures will not tell us the truth there. So, unless you have losses for individual days, and can pick out which tank was lost where and by whom, those figures are a little spurious, and not really relevant to what we are attemptig to discover.

    Why do you think scholars keep going back to Wittmann at Villier-Bocage? Because we can talk to both sides, it's about a single tank on one side, and the Staffordshire Yeomanry are a whole lot more concerned with the TRUTH than they are about keeping up appearences of Soviet motherland. Patriotism ALWAYS seems to get in the way when you read Soviet sources. Westerners are not so choked up about the image of the 'Motherland", or what the "West" will think of "Staunch Soviet soldiers" based on this report, etc etc.
     
  18. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    So why is it not possible to produce multiple kill examples in Normandy? The nost famous ones (Wittmann/Fey/Barkmann) have long since been shown to be grossly inflated if not outright invention
    The most striking thing about the references you posted is the 'age' of them and frankly some are not worthy of inclusion. They are all from the time when the 5:1 Sherman/Tiger myth was believed to be true. It isn't.
     
  19. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Ah the excuse used to explain the failure of the panzers-.most were killed by aircraft/ no fuel/blown up by crew. This is true of the pursuit phase in August but only August. Any broken and fleeing army is going to be throwing its equipment away and if you check BEF losses in 1940 the bulk of their tanks were also abandoned. Is this used to claim that this means the cruiser was invulnerable and could not be knocked out in a fair fight? The very idea is risable.
    This is going nowhere and the anti-Soviet slights are not to my liking. I see no point in making any more replies. I suggest you visit AHF and do a search on Tank Losses and you will get a idea of how views have changed in the last decade or so.

    .
    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewforum.php?f=47


    I.E.

    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=130334&hilit=TANK+LOSSES+IN+NORMANDY



    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=1077683


    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=43724




    There are dozens of good threads that will open your eyes.
     
  20. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Ok, Kenny ol'son, You've now made the statement, so, it's now up to you to state the sources. Do we have anything to debunk Deschs Russian claims? I'm far more willing to believe what was going on in Russia, simply because the operating conditions for the German army were far more favourable. In Normandy, there were over ten thousand aircraft available for sorties, and no German comeback for it. In Normandy, also, the amount of allied artillery was substantial, esp. american. The Germans wer short on logistics, their morale was not so hot.

    So why weren't Allied vehicular forces simply brushing their German opponents aside?

    If the Germans are such big liars all round, why did the GPW last as long as it did, and why did it take over a year for Allied forces to reach into Germany?

    If German tanks were so inferior, why were the Soviets themselves claiming large totals of write-offs? Or the Western Allies, for that matter?

    Having regarded my posting on the subject as trash, lets hear some hard data from everyone else now, and SOURCE IT. I'm not much interested in opinions. And so far, with a couple of exceptions, opinions are all that have rebutted, so lets see it.
     
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