Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

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.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    Kenny, youll have to be more specific. These are all forums, and if you think I'm going to sit there typing away for hours.

    So far, youve proven nothing with those forums as sources. Its basically you saying, "I dont believe you, and I dont want to tell you any specifics, and I'm too disintterested in being specific, so go away christopher, you uninformed little fellow, and stop bothering us intellectuals."

    Yeah, right. I expected better from this forum. Instead, what do I get? no intellectual cut and thrust? No specific point that can prove you case? Just a 'feeling' from the current crop of people writing books and seeking to make a name for themselves. Its far easier to do that by debunking someone elses work than coming up with anything original yourself.

    At least you tried, Kenny, so I thank you for that.
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    1,743
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    This is all actually rather pleasant.
    I thought the thread had wandered off the original debunking of the old 5:1 bit of frippery; but in fact, Chris, you've helpfully come along and re-stated just about every cliche, listed some funny old sources (secondhand from a magazine), and stated a somewhat simplistic view apparently whistled up from some light reading and the internet, leaving someone who it could be said rather specialises in these particular myths to counter quite solidly with a few short posts.

    Seriously, Chris. There's a lot of nonsense talked in Panzerworld. read MK's thread recommendations, chap - some good stuff in there.
    This ain't an attack really - perhaps more a suggestion that the truth is far more interesting than the long-accepted & expounded 'wisdom' - just 'cos something is repeated a lot, really doesn't make it so.

    'More Killer crews'? Really?
    Goebbels was bloody good at his job, and decades of repetition has continued his work.
    The real world was apparently a rather different place...

    [​IMG] >>>> [​IMG]
     
  3. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    Adam, these are not 'my' sources. they are sources from the article I quoted from.

    So whats the truth then? What are the critical factors in a successful tank crew? Is the crew the only issue, that is, can you put a bunch of practiced experts in an inferior machine and have them come out with multiple kills? Or, is it all about the hardware, where you can fit total greenhorns in the latest all singing and dancing machine, and have them claim many kills with no experience necessary?

    None of ou have provided me with any specifics. Just airy poins in the direction of other forums. After taking time myself to state my case, I think Ive been treated pretty dismissivly.

    I don't care if i'm proven incorrect. Its just that none of you have HERE. Others might have elsewhere, but nothing HERE.

    And I dont think thats too much to ask. I didn't come here with brownie points in mind. If I'm incorrect, stop beating around the bush and give me some specific. Its not difficult. Some of you are conveying the impression that its beneath your dignity.
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    I don't know when the first penetration of the German border occurred, but the US 30th Division was in Germany by mid September, 3 months after D-Day.

    As for the tanks, well, you're opening one of those cans of worms that have been discussed to death in many threads. We have some people here who are very expert on armor of all kinds. I'm not one of them. I will say this, in North Africa the British judged the Sherman as very much superior to the Mark IV. The guns and armor were about the same, but the Sherman had a faster traverse and was far, far more mechanically reliable than the Mark IV. Reliability counts.

    By 44, the Mark IV had a higher velocity gun, and the balance changed. Now, the Mark IV might be considered superior, but only when it engaged at a range where its armor couldn't be penetrated by the Sherman gun. And in western Europe, one usually can't engage at long ranges because of the terrain, brush, buildings, etc. Even here, the British Firefly and the 76mm Sherman gun were coming on line and taking away any perceived advantage.

    When all is said and done (and I'm just regurgitating what I've learned from people here who are far more knowledgeable than I), it was the mechanical reliability of the Sherman and various British tanks that made the real difference. Even the Mark IV, with years of development, couldn't be kept on line without frequent breakdowns and maintenance. When you look at the Tiger (I & II) and the Panther, those maintenance issues become even more of a handicap. If your Panzer is on teh side of the road forty miles from the battle, it's not of much use.

    At any rate, I wouldn't get too didactic on a forum like this. You'll soon learn that there are some very expert people here on a variety of subjects. Take advantage of that and absorb what you can from these people.
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235



    1)Who said that the German tanks were inferior ?

    2)Some hard data from every one else ? Maybe also from you ? BTW : a gamer is not a source

    Maybe you could begin with basics,as : German tanks employed in Normandy and,:causes of Tiger I losses in Normandy .
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    Some day in june 1944 ,Fritz and Heinrich were going to school : Fritz : Heinrich:you heard the news ? Witmann killed 2 more Ami tanks.Heinrich : a country that has heroes as Witmann can't lose the war .And,licking their lips, they were pursuing their way . An officer,who heard the conversation,was shaking his head: he knew that a country that was losing,was inventing heroes to restore moral(of course,Fritz and Heinrich who in may were reading about the adventures of Ivanhoe,were an easy prey for Dr Goebbels) and generously distributed medals (the Knight's Cross was in the sales).

    There are a lot of Fritz and Heinrich in 2014,the difference is that now they are called Christopher .

    At the end,people are getting sick and tired of the ramblings by the fanbois .
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235

    Totally irrelevant for the claim that the Tigers were superior,unless you can prove that these 600 vehicles were destroyed by Tigers .
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    As I suspected : a lot of old s..t and German propaganda ,something that one can expect from a war gamer general .
     
  10. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    Glantz, Ornstein, Ziemke,Thatch, Jukes, Hoog, Erickson....these are all Brit and americans. Two or three of his sources are German, the others are Western.
     
  11. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    German crew experience in normandy .....

    Show me one American or British armoured division that had not spent the last two years training in England. Most of the eighth Army went to Italy, and II Corps suffered too many losses after Kasserine, Sicily etc to have more than a handful of experienced crews that had been together from the very beginning.

    I have no Nazi worship inside of me at all. And i certainly dont appreciate the Soviets either. I do not feel that the SS were simply 'following orders", nor do I feel that the German Army had much of a chance of even getting the soviets to a compromise peace, short of developing their own Nukes and blasting them to the conference table.

    So with all this in mind, I am actually quite offended to be categorized as a supporter of the German National socialist Workers Partei, simply because of my attitude to armourd warfare.

    If the Germans were so ineffective in russia, the numbers of Soviet vehicles destroyed would have been a lot smaller. The Nazi's were outnumbered from the beginning, and had to run their affairs with a measure of stinginess. they could not really afford to do anything else. Their imcompetance is also well known, but I'm fairly sure their tank officers performed quite respectably. People like Balcke, Hoth, Guderian...these are not names that we associate with fumbling mass charges of armoured vehicles at full speed, ramming tanks into one another, then charging away again. These are things we associate with Rodmistrov and Kursk on the Soviet side.

    As a war goes on, the number of experienced people dwindles, but if you do enough fighting, you get a hard core of very good personnel. And you put these persons in the best you have available.

    THIS is why I'm rating German crews in normandy as superior. They were survivors, and had been in constant fighting for four years. Can't buy experience like that.

    Just because you acknowledge this in an historical way, it doesn't mean you are taking on the belief system for what they fought for.

    Now, if you want to disagree, do so. But don't just tell me I'm incorrect, sneer at the sources, (sources Ive seen used here as well).

    Just because the source wasn't published yesterday, and titled Panzer operations in WW2 for Months with the letter J in four volumes, that does not mean they are of any less value. This is a technique used here to discredit...attack the sources with sweeping generalizations.

    So as ive said, I'll pose the questions then, and you provide the sirect answers.

    1/ How many Soviet tanks were credited as destroyed by German tank force up to 1945.
    2/ How mant German vehicles went down in the same period.
    3/ How many Soviets were victims of Tigers?
    4How many Tigers went down to Soviets?
    5/ All of the above, for Normandy
    6/ What do you fellas believe are the attributes that make a 'killer' crew, if the lenghth of time the crew has been together has been poo pooed?
    6/ Can you put a bunch of greenhorns in the latest and best tank and get good results?
    7/ Can you put a very experienced crew intoa turkey and have them still harvest the kills? (both the above questions are for those that don't believe that crew length of service together is the number one factor to make an productive crew.
    8/ How many Tigers were at Prokhorovka? (you've all poo pooed thaat figure of twelve as well, even though the source is the maintenance returns of all three divisions present?
    9/ What were the relative soviet and German stengths at Prokhorovka, and how many machines on either side were written off?
    10/ And lastly, how many of the revised soviet total can be attributed to the 12 Tigers on the field? Be careful here, because the known case of "Tiger Fever" may mean that all those tanks had to do was show up. even if they didn't fire a shot, they were still contributing psychologically to every kill on the field.

    So there are my ten questions. Now if you use a source that is the same age or older than the sources I provided, It will be time for me to poo poo something without any counterproof needed.
     
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    443
    Location:
    London UK
    David Glantz and John Erickson are about as close to the soviet mindset as any westerner could get. I had the privilege of sitting next to John Erickson at dinner once. A fascinating man. He was an independent military consultant employed by Kruschev and used this as an opportunity to interview Zhukov, who was an un-person at the time. He told the story for the fiorst time from the Red Army point of view. David Glantz was a sovietologist and his presentations on the Red Army were some of the first to challenge the cliches of incompetent soviets. her backed this up with a transcript of a intercept of radio transmissions between Red army tanks form 1944. Until then we had mainly read of the Eastern front from German apologia, Soviet propaganda -or Sven Hasselll

    However , as with the Dorothy Parker quote about horticulture,(#2 on this list) a long list of books quoted by a wargamer may not mean anything other than due diligence by a serious rules lawyer.... ;)
     
    Christopher47 likes this.
  13. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    As I said, I am more than happy to defr to those more intelligent than myself. That would include a large number of people on this forum.

    I am also more than happy to be shown the error of my ways by those that know more about the subject. That would be quite a few people on the forum as well.

    But, I do not and will not subscribe to the theory that Soviet sources for the GPW are all of a sudden more creditable, simply because we wish to be more freindly. This is the Glantz school all over.

    The soviets cannot even provide us with anything accurate or honest about the number of their citizens that died during the GPW. So, why in hell should I believe them now, after all this time? We tried to debate this very thing on the forum not so long ago, and had to stop for lak of reliable data. I pointed out that the unoccupied portions of the SU should have been in famine conditions, based on certain factors that we know full well to be the case. Given that, their revised figure of 28 million deaths is more than likely poppycock. The true figure could be as much as 50 million people of all types.

    How can you trust history from a country that cannot even give us an honest appraisal of their own losses?

    Consult most german sources, and they are more than happy to give complete breakdowns of all the catagories, down to the last amn in some cases. THEY don't mind admitting that the GPW cost them far more than it should have, far more than their country could swallow.

    It's only the Neo-Nazi idiots that carry on as if the war could have been won, and look for excuses to fudge the story, like "If we'd only had more U-Boats, or If we'd built more tanks, etc etc. Im not trying to win the war for Gemany on paper.

    I'm trying to find out answers to basic questions, like the ten I've asked above.

    Thanks.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    1) No one knows

    2)No one knows

    3)No one knows

    4) No one knows

    5) No one knows

    6) What is a killer crew? And : proofs that such crews existed ?

    7) Proofs that kills were harvested /proofs that crews remained together

    8) between 4 and 15

    10) no one knows
     
    von Poop likes this.
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    You pointed out without giving proofs.

    Germany also is unable to give an honest appraisal of their losses.
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    On point 10:

    German strength at Prochorovka : (LSS and DR ):117 tanks,37 StuG,32 Panzerjäger

    Soviet strength at Prochorovka: 672 tanks .
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    The questions asked in post 91 prove that the author has no notion of tank warfare:the mission of tanks was not to destroy other tanks,but to SUPPORT the infantry/artillery ,thus if a Tiger destroyed more enemy tanks than a Panther (or the opposite),this proves nothing ..
     
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    443
    Location:
    London UK
    I'll bite and try not to be flippant - thought your questions are a tempting target :).

    Re A. Within 21 AG only the 4th & 8th British Armoured Brigades and 7th Armoured Division had fought in the Mediterranean. I don't think any US Armour was redeployed. the 1 US AD served in Italy. Training in the UK did not prepared the commanders for the realities of war and the psychological stresses. The new formations all suffered some initial shocks and weeded out commanders who could not cope. This also affected units which had been in combat too long - The British 7th AD did not do well until after the Divisional and Corps commander were replaced.and the old and tired replaced by more young and eager.

    Re B. Up to a point, but you cannot generalise. It is true that the German training system meant that their junior commanders (officers and NCOs) were better prepared to fight in a mobile chaotic battle. However, German formations were not all alike. Read the report made for the US Army by General Geyr v Schweppenberg. Its on Fold 3 and in the Defending D Day collection by David Isby. The Pz lehr, 2nd Pz Div, 9SS and 12 SS were all class A. well trained good commanders etc. The 21 Pz Div was Cl;ass B had good equipment and well trained, but no amount of training could compensate for the fact that it was reorganised with undesirable personnel from a large number of diviisons. The 1SS was class D. Reconstituted after the Korsumn pocket, Its Officer and NCO corps diluted by frequent drafts to form new formations e.g. 12 SS. It is notoriously ill discipined with weak NCOs. It fails in almost every task in Normandy. Even in Op Goiodwood a Battlegroup from 11 Armd Div from 3RTR and a coy from 8 RB kick one of its units out of the village of Ifs. The 10SS was also classed as class D "unlucky in its assignment of divisional commanders..."

    .
    Re C
    .
    1/ How many Soviet tanks were credited as destroyed by German tank force up to 1945.

    - No one can be certain. This was war not a war game. There was no umpire or computer analysed score. Do we know how many the Germans actually claimed and how many were claimed by panzer rather than sturm artillery or panzer jaeger? Do we know how accurate were German claims compared to actual soviet losses?

    2/ How mant German vehicles went down in the same period.

    Hm the obvious answer is "All of them, mostly on the Eastern front" ;) but even though your question is ill framed, you are probably after how many were put of action by the Red army, Or are you after how many were lost mano mano agiants a Red tank, and there for losses to atk guns, mines, close assualt or aircraft not relavent?. The source material is not easy to find or be certain of its accuracy.

    3/ How many Soviets were victims of Tigers?

    No one will ever know. The Soviets did not inspect every tank for what knocked it out. It was common for losses to be attributed to bogey weapons this all anto tank guns are 88s and all tanks Tigers.


    4How many Tigers went down to Soviets?

    All of them deployed on the Eastern Front None escaped to Brazil. ;) .. The Jentz books on the German armour does have loss figures but I can't be bothered to fetch the book from the shelf .

    5/ All of the above, for Normandy.

    Try 21 AG OR Reports (held by Mcgill univeristy Canada) studies for some estimates. I refer you to my answers above for the East front.

    6/ What do you fellas believe are the attributes that make a 'killer' crew, if the lenghth of time the crew has been together has been poo pooed?

    Aha -one of the most stimulating things you have written. (I knew it wasn't a waste of time to read your post) Small unit effectiveness is a fascinating subject and and one which deserves a separate thread all of it own. Not happy with the terms "killer crew". I can think of several AFV crews which when I was a solider I thought positively lethal, but that was because I would not want to be anywhere near an AFV driven by X , or trust gunner Y with a water pistol or commander Z to find his own backside with both hands, ;let alone the RV .) .There were good solders and excellent armoured units in several armies. There are character studies of Jake Wardop of the RTR and Ken Tout's Tank! includes a killer of Killers as one of theirs killed four out of five in Wittman's last charge. I can list the DCM citations of MM of commanders of tanks, SP guns and Atk guns. Sgt Down of Ashingtom Northumberland commanded a 6 pdr (57mm) atk gun at the battle of st Peirre 9 Juen 1944.and was awarded the DCM for hsi gallantry in action. this battle has a setting not unlike the last half hour of Saving Prvate Ryan.

    There is lost of stuff in most army's military doctrine about the levels of training, motivation and leadership.

    Richard Simkins wriote about this stuff in his works on mechanised warfare in the 1980s.
    6/ Can you put a bunch of greenhorns in the latest and best tank and get good results?

    Hmm . One military saying is that ""There are no good or bad soldiers only good or bad officers". A bunch of greenhorns might do well as long as they are given a simple task, in accordance with their training and are well led. Some British Greenhorn armour did jolly well at Alam Halfa dug in on the ridge in 1942. Many tanks full of greenhorns performed very well on D Day. None of the Assaulting armour had been in action before or since 1940. If you want to see where thic can go wrong, check otu the battle of Arracourt. in 1944 where a brand new panther equipped german Panzer brigade (built around the cadre of a PG division) was savaged by a combat team of the US 4 Amd div which included Brice C Clarke Creigthton Abrams in key commands.

    7/ Can you put a very experienced crew intoa turkey and have them still harvest the kills? (both the above questions are for those that don't believe that crew length of service together is the number one factor to make an productive crew.

    I dislike the term "harvest the kills" unhelpful. The purpose of a tank crew is not to maximise their own score fo enemy tnaks nocked out. It is to carry out their part in the unit's objectives, which may or may not be the elimination of the enemy. The battle of Arracourt in 1944 showed how a well led US armoured force of M4 tanks M10 and M36 TDs and M7 Sp guns could defeat a larger number of ill trained inexperienced ill led germans in Panther tanks. In op Barbarossa the german panzer arm was frequently fighting better armed and armoured Red tanks. The Pz38T and Pz IIIE are turklesy compared with the T34 and KV1.


    8/ How many Tigers were at Prokhorovka? (you've all poo pooed thaat figure of twelve as well, even though the source is the maintenance returns of all three divisions present?

    How many on the unit establishments? How many on stength? How many servicable? I suspect that only a minority of troops in any battle are able to engage an enemy. Otherwise wars would be as bloody as wargames, and they are not.
    9/ What were the relative soviet and German stengths at Prokhorovka, and how many machines on either side were written off?

    No Idea. Ask me one about Op Epsom or Villers Bocage
    .
    10/ And lastly, how many of the revised soviet total can be attributed to the 12 Tigers on the field? Be careful here, because the known case of "Tiger Fever" may mean that all those tanks had to do was show up. even if they didn't fire a shot, they were still contributing psychologically to every kill on the field.

    No idea. Far fewer than the Soviets claimed were KO by Tigers.


    Seriously, even though I question yoru obsession with tank v tank you have asked some interesting questions. There is probably a PhD for anyone who answers them ;)
     
    Christopher47 likes this.
  19. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    13
    I have found the solution to this thread....

    Ok, after the horns and fifes have settled down, I got this little piece off a website called TIGER BATTALIONS

    The mythical "5 to 1" ratio comes from the figures they gave for number of Tigers lost, verses numbers of 'kills' claimed.

    The weakest performing unit in terms of numbers was Abteilung 508, with 78 Tigers lost, compared to 100 tanks claimed.

    Total number of Tigers lost in attle....1715

    Total number of 'Kills' claimed.........9850

    Giving a magic ratio of 5.74 'Kills' for every one tiger lost...

    HENCE.....the magical 5 to 1 ratio at last. People researching must have looked at thia figure, and come up with statements like, "It took 5 Shermans to kill one tiger." Looking at the raw data, this could be said to be true. Furthermore, Wittmann's last fight featured his tank cornered and run down by 5 shermans. They must have needed every one of them, a couple for maneuver, a couple for decoys, and one tank for the 'kill' shot.

    DAdaaaaa! dO i GET A GOLD STAR?
     
  20. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2014
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    4
    re number of kills claimed

    ther is one serious problem with the number of kills(claimed).

    on several occasions the Germans lost significant parts of the available fighting stock of tanks. A sample from El Alamain comes to mind if memory serves . "A division had 95 tanks available on a day during this day they lost approximately half of their stock. But at night repair commandos were able to repair most of the casualities only 9 tanks were unusable. So they appear with about 80 tanks the next day." If this is repeated you got a strong drift of claimed and real losses.

    Cooked off tanks were usually total losses and remain in situ, all other found ther way to an repairing facility. This may explain why ex ante analysis from tank losses in a certain area say ten days after the battle, show very high figures of cooked off tanks.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page