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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. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Of course, you guys might not be aware of all this, because you are not an ASL player like I used to be, (i don't have the time, now, being a Daddy).


    Arrogance and incompetence are the 2 sides of the same coin .
     
  2. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Hijacking a thread???

    I was using the example of TIGERS at Prokhorovka, looking at their performance there, (just 12 of them, BIG battlefield effect and affect).

    If it took the Soviets many vehicles to knock out one, (turns out it did), then the same MIGHT be able to be said for their performance in normandy.

    Not hard to work out.

    You also told me that standard proceedure was that a tank should support infantry, not kill other tanks.

    I said horseshit to that, and told you about the French and their doctrine, and how the Germans used their tanks independantly rather then tieing them to their footsloggers. Result? biggest victory for German arms, an entire country occupied, British force back to england with tail between legs. Tanks should NOT be tied to infantry, as you so believe.

    And OK. Using the word SUCCESS when describing German feats of arms might not be correct for the end result, but no-one can tell me their use of armour wasn't a success. It was certainly more efficient than their Soviet counterparts, and the loss figures show this for the Western allies. But no, you have to launch into a lecture concerning how unsucessful Germany was IN TOTO, which was not the point.

    And, Im afraid if tanks had a loss rate to mechanical failure of one vehicle per kilometer, its time to sack the guy charged with maintaining them and put someone else in that can do the job. The U.S Army used to complain about tracked vehicles throwing their tracks at high speed. Tank drivers were ticked off all the time by superiors for this habit.

    As for arrogance, you've said it all in that depatment in this thread alone.

    Incompetance? When was the last time YOU were controlling tracked vehicles Lj. I am willing to accept that you are intelligent enough to do so, but unless you actually have done so, you know as much as I do about the subject. I don't know your record, so I'll not make fun of it.

    To my mind, if you were in the US Army, you sound very much like an infantryman to me. This could be why you seem to believe that the expensive monsters that governments still pour money should be tied to the infantry, throwing out many decades of innovation from people like Liddel Hart, guderian and Patton.
     
  3. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Lj, I would like to bury the hatchet, and apologise for annoying you.

    There. No problems.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    And you exist on both sides of that coin.
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I think you may be missing the point in your haste to reply. .

    Guderian in Achhtung Panzer! published in 1937 explained that armour worked as part of an all arms armoured force -a Panzer Division. . Tanks, with their combination of mobility protection and fire power were at the heart of the panzer formation, but buit needed to work in combination with other arms. Panzers were not a panacea. They needed to be deployed in terrain suitable for armour and concentrated rather than dispersed. Sure the French got it wrong to relegate tanks to the role of infantry support. But the Britsh also got it very wrong to assume that the purpose of tanks was to hunt other tanks and lost heavily in the Western Desert braking their armoured units against anti tank guns, . This was an operational level effect rather than a tactical one. If you do nto get this try reading his books "Achtung Panzer!" and "Panzer leader" or the works of Richard Simpkin "Tank warfare" "mechanised warfare"

    In another thread you posed the question of what Normandy would look like without tanks. the answer is the Somme. Pershing had lots of tanks in the Argonne and some even commanded by Patton. but he did not have operational level movility because He did not have panzer divisions - all arms forces capable of moving through the battle zone to exploit a breakthrough. The difference is not the tank, but 1940s engine technology, mobile radio communications and the deuce and a half truck;) .

    The awesome effectiveness of armour in WW2 was when it was rolling around ion the enemy;'s rear area, shooting up artillery, transport and HQs, moving faster than the defender could respond. A Sherman or a T34 was far superior to a Tiger in this role.

    Tiger tanks never led a Blitzkreig. They were heavy "breakthrough tanks," intended to be the tip of the Panzer force in the attack on an enemy position. The Germans sacrificed mobility and reliability to build a well protected breakthrough tank. The Tiger's usefulness as a heavily armoured tank destroyer was secondary. In doing so they used the respources that they could no spare but the allies could. One tiger cost the Germans much more than five Shermans or T34s.

    In this respect the Tigers failed at Pokhorovka. They were not there as heavy anti tank guns (schwehr Panzer jaeger,) but as Heavy Tanks (Schwehr Panzer). The Tigers Failed at Kursk and were never in a position in Normandy to attempt an organised attack on the beachhead.. There was no breakthrough. The Soviets won the defensive battle. Casualties were irrelevant to that outcome and the Soviets are right to praise the courage of their tank forces for their sacrifice.

    The Germans deployed three battalions of Tiger tanks, including one of Tiger II to Normandy, as part of a mass of armour that they hoped would throw the allies into the sea. . Thanks to the pressure put on the Germans on the Caen front by repeated allied attacks the Germans were never in a position to mount a concerted attack on the beachhead. The numerous Shermans lost achieved their aim and frustrated the Germans.best efforts.
     
    pistol likes this.
  6. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Thankyou Mr Sheldrake. I did press the like button, but I'm still over quota.

    I really appreciate a reply of this nature. I'm no ignoramus when it comes to armoured warfare, but different opinions can often mean better understanding, and I think you've achieved that here, and managed to keep your cool at the same time.

    Well done, ol'boy!
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not an expert here by any means but hadn't the German offensive on the North Flank at Kursk already failed when the battle of Pokhorovka took place? If that's the case then handn't Kursk already failed? Of course the Tigers still failed to break through but in a larger context what import did that have? Or am I totally off base here ... or off topic?
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Here we go a-bleedin-gain. It's as if years of history never happened.
    I can imagine David Willey wincing at some of the statements in here, but I guess the huge lump of film cash helps ease the pain. ;)
    Simplistic nonsense about 1:40 ish.
    Does look like an entertaining fillum though.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deX5GNS0YTM
     
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Been reading through the thread : Healthy discussion is encouraged, but direct personal attacks, off-color language and unsubstantiated comments (to prove ones point) are not.

    If asked for a source let's put it on here. If you say it, own up to it. Don't get you're knickers in a knot cause' someone doesn't believe you.

    Remember we're not just a bunch of old guys showing an interest in WW2, there are thousands reading who never join. Hopefully many are school age youngsters looking for and maybe even learning a little, about one of the most important parts of history of our Country.
     
  11. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Heres what Professor Norman Stone has to say, from his 2013 book, "WW2; A Short History.", (Penguin, 2013). Notes in brackets and blue by me.

    Page 147...

    "On the southern side, Manstein used all his tanks including 100 Tigers and 200 Panthers (35 available to 2nd SS Panzer Corps), which did indeed turn out to be greatly superior to Russian tanks, but testing on them had not been complete, and a quarter dropped out even before action, and some caught fire from defective pump systems. Twenty five were victims of an un-cleared minefield, the sappers having to work under artillery fire. The attack on the right, towards Prokhorovka, went faster, for the Russians panicked before the Tigers and Panthers, (Tiger fever?), which were invulnerable frontally and could knock out a T-34 from 6,500 feet with a high velocity gun.
    On July 6, Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin of the Voronezh Army Group was given the strategic reserve; he was supposed to start the counter offensive and had 2,924 tanks (by 20 July), but ordered most of them dug in.
    Even on 8 July, when a mass Soviet attack on a logistical centre occurred, a single Tiger, under repair but usable, took on fifty tanks, knocking out 22 T-34s, while the others fled. Prokhorovka became famous as the scene of an immense tank clash on 12 July, but was a clever confection, thought up by a Soviet general to obscure his own misdeeds- the Germans here lost only three dozen tanks, whereas the Red Army very clumsily threw in a thousand and let them be fired on from a vulnerable side, in a German ambush, when they fell into an anti-tank ditch that had been forgotten about. The facts were not revealed until 1990, almost fifty years later...(you don't wonder why German claims for Prokhorovka have always been loud and long! And this is from a Soviet Red Army that was supposed to have been 're-born' when it came to it's handling of the tactical offensive! No wonder the Germans were incredulous!)
    In fact, Hitler called off Kursk partly because the aircraft were diverted south and more particularly because the Allies had landed in Sicily on 10 July. Manstein protested that he should go on, that the Russians had lost 1,800 tanks, that he had not used his reserve, and he did indeed prepare a lesser operation, but Hitler halted it on the 16th. Russian losses at Kursk were enormous- 319,000 men (to 55,000), 2,000 tanks,(250), and 2,000 aircraft, (159)., but as Manstein said, the Red Army was a hydra, two heads grew for every one lopped off....(end)


    The German Army has always claimed that Kursk was a bungled Soviet operation from the get-go. All the things that supposedly make sucess for a modern army were present on the Soviet side. The numbers, the positioning, the intelligence, the morale....with all these factors in their favour, they still bungled badly.

    And so much for Stalin's pathetic whine about a lack of a Second Front. You can see, plainly, that the Allied movements were having a direct effect on the battlefield in the SU.

    Interestingly, the forward notes feature a late life interview between the author and Albert Speer. Professor Stone claims that Speer..."also rather suprised me- I should not have been- in that he defended the British bombing of Germany's cities, on the grounds that it diverted much of the German effort away from the fighting fronts and for the defense of the homeland." This makes Stalin's constant bleating about a second front so much Soviet noise. It was a cover of their own for the dreadful manner in which they were managing their own war effort.

    Of course somebody other than the Soviet Union HAD to be to blame for this.
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Stone's a dodgy one to nail your colours to, mate.
    The broad mass of current historians take quite a bit of issue with him on detail - him being perhaps more of a political polemicist who happens to also do history.
    His books are very much his 'personal' view, and I'm not sure he ever made any secret of that.
    That 'Short History' book was savaged on release, and can't really give a detailed enough view of Kursk etc. to allow anyone to go 'HA!' like you're doing.
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Russian losses mattered not. The German Juggernaut was halted, and the Soviets still had the manpower to unleash a counterstroke. It is clear therefore, the Germans failed. In order to not fail, they needed a breakthrough. Or rather, to not fight the obvious fight, which Kursk clearly was.
     
  14. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Poop.....is there any source other than a soviet one that you'll not rubbish?

    So, in your book, if i'm not using soviet sources, its complete and utter tripe then?

    Ok....I'll change my tune. "The glorius soviet military managed not only to win the GPW totally unassited, but managed to Create a mythology of patrioticly inspired soviet soldiers, moving forward on a few crumbs and propaganda of the Army of workers and Peasants, they liberated europe and managed to convice German Beast of the error of their ways. they need not bread, only bullets and poetry from their glorius maximum Leader.

    Ther, Poop, you made a convert of me. Now which one do we execute first?
     
  15. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    There has to be a middle ground. And if the only thing that mattered was who advanced or retreated and why, then we can credit the victory to the ALLIES....not the clumsy SU.
     
  16. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Don't forget, Norman stone won many kudos for his Great War work. Why should his views on WW2 be rubbished, simply because he doesn't agree with all the more august ones?. And who exactly are they, Adam? Of course Im willing to take your word for it, but a few names might be very nice!

    I am smiling, you know.This is entertaining!
     
  17. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Adam, did you actually, read Mr. Stone's book? Or did you just read a bunch of reviews?

    I'm only asking because history isn't about just taking everyone elses word for it. You have to go out and cross check for yourself.

    Not lecturing. I am well aware that you have a formidable knowledge bank to draw from. I have seen you on other forums, and I have nothing personal to grind.

    But is it REALLY all down to what everyone else is saying? Aren't these academics sometimes more than a little afraid to fly in the face of convention? Aren't some papers simply published for the sake of another degree? You can't get a doctorate in history without someone agreeing that your paper is worthy, a whole panel of people in fact. So, when it's doctorate time, the last thing you want to be is controversial, or fly in the face of accepted line.

    Have you ever heard of a Roman historian, a German, called Aloys Winterling? This fellow, in 2011, came up with a view of the Roman Emperor Caligula that flew in the face of every Roman writer, and every modern writer, right up until 2010. Basically, his premise was, that Caligula's maladies were well known by the Senate, and that the victims of Caligula were in fact nearly all from that same senatorial class. He questioned Caligula as a money manager, stating that Rome was not broke when Claudius came to power, far from it. He made a great case for theorising that the way we think about Caligula was the product of the attitude of the senators, whom Caligula publically made fools of. The ordinary people were untouched, and the army loved the only surviving child of Germanicus.

    In short, this one scholar reversed nearly 2000 years of history, all flying in the face of convention, of other academics, and of Roman writers themselves. Scholars look at Caligula VERY differently, and the senators, and the whole Early Empire period.

    It can be done...and it will be done for events like WW2. We just have to wait for all the veterans to die before we get a REAL look at what happened. Not just the vets, everybody that was alive at the time. We can be sure no-one is writing simply for political correctness, to plese vets and civilians alive at the time, as Roman writers like suetonius, Dio Cassius, and Philo were demonstrably doing.
     
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'll do the multiquote thing, even though it's a sign of madness.
    You're doing it again, Chris - not so much jumping to conclusions as flying at them and giving them a snog.
    Show me where I've claimed Soviet sources are unimpeachable.
    You can't, because I haven't. Nor would I.
    My entire thrust on this thread and that other odd one is that you must appraise ALL sources for what they are - each is selected and used in context, by it's individual merits.
    Only a fool would say all sources from totalitarian regimes are unusable, but most would concede they often have their ideological pollutions.
    One draws conclusions from an informed basis, rather than always dismissing a particular source by virtue of it's origin - education is understanding the connections between things as much as grasping the things themselves.

    The clumsy SU?
    Again, demonstrating very thin and dated understanding of the Red Army.
    Yes, they had a special 'character' and even ability that only a Totalitarian regime could have achieved. There was tremendous military brutality, both of a 'means justifies the ends' nature, and the less explainable forms, but the Armies themselves were far more modern in equipment/tactics/strategy by later-war than they are often given credit for.
    Glantz is sometimes seen as an apologist, which I'd reject, but he really is worth a read on the SU and it's military. I don't think anyone has quite grasped that nettle so strongly.

    It can't be repeated often enough that the historiographical picture of the Red Army as a military force was painted for 45 years by German generals and a series of postwar interviews by US strategists.
    Their views were taken with almost no contrary pinch of salt, the Ost being something of a closed book to the other allies. The context was a cold war, and the former Generals fighting for their own reputations.
    Only with the fall of the wall did we start seeing some chinks of light between that view and the rather stylised image of a brutalist poster the SU preferred.

    Again, jumping.
    What I said was that Stone is dodgy. I have read a few of his. Slurped up his recent Short History as I wanted to compare it to Hastings's also recent 'General' book (All Hell let Loose? Think that was the name) as part of my refreshing of my wider view of the war. Doesn't compare that well. Rushed. Sketchy.
    He isn't what you might call a conventional Historian - something else in many ways, with his own axe to grind.
    I believe Richard Overy was one of his students, but gives very cautionary reviews of his work.
    If you're going to make a strong statement of controversial fact, you need a little more than one slightly off-the-wall slim book to base it on.

    But even then, when talking about historians specific work, you're often mired in the world of Secondary, and even tertiary sources.
    Which is why I find those that really do focus on the Primary, if sometimes dry, rather fascinating.


    You personalise all this too much, Chris.
    You always have
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sorry, just fully read your last post.
    The irony of what you write there, is that you appear to look forward to some quality revisionism, while in fact positing the polar opposite in many of your views here.
    Your view of the sovs as clumsy, and 'elite' german crews, etc., are the conventional viewpoints - they are what is being challenged & overturned by more detailed and well-sourced work.
    You're arguing with people who are indeed keeping up with the latest historiographical themes re. this stuff.
     
  20. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    no military service can claim any amount of professionalism with a casualty list like the red Army.

    5 million prisoners? Most of the captured germans were captured inside their own borders, or close enough to it, when the situation becam untenable.

    Stop accusing me of seeing EVERY German soldier as ELITE. I rarely use the word....check for yourself.

    On the other hand I SNEER at the soviet military, and their version of events. They give figures for casualty returns when it's well known they spent long periods of time doing everything but counting their own uniforms. They were seriously into wastage of human resources.

    their officers speak of 'stabilizing' a front, when in reality, your shooting your own people. Now, any fool can stand up there with a pistol, backed by someone with a PPsh-41, and restore order by decimation, or worse. It takes real style to run a military service as the Americans and Brits did. The German soldier was fired by the strength of conviction, but the wheels fell off pretty quickley, so by the late period of 1941, there were a lot of pissed off people standing out on the Ukrainian steppe with their dicks in the wind. They had bought the party line, and the party and Army had failed them. So, they spent the rest of the war simply fighting to get home. Nothing heroic about that.

    Listen to the soviets, and it ALWAYS the same..."Our patriotic troops, existing on bullets and thin air, disdaining the cold, not needing anything but the love of their motherland..." and you hear that tripe in the midst of their greatest historical works. when are we going to here the truth? That these poor sods were conscripted robots, with nothing but peasant cunning and animal instincts to see then through. their Army was lucky to be able to give them the basics. They would steal blankets and boots from each other, not to mention the weekly vodka ration.

    I have always maintained that the one sure fire method of the Germans actually posting a win in Russia was to attack and destroy every Red army vodka distillery and factory distribution. The entire country of the SU would have thrown up it's hands.

    Adam, I resent being called 'conventional'. My view of the SU is NOT. Its a revisionist view after a steady diet of patriotically inspired nonsense from the 50s to the late 80s. The view that the soviets were simply a very large convental force is something they themselves have tried to propagate. My view is the revisionist one...and now your telling me your going back to some retroactive view, that the soviets "wern't so bad after all".

    If we, somehow, coud have restricted Stalin from incurring any more casualties, per day, than we did, do you honestly think they could have pulled it off? So, without Stalin's butchery, they were sunk? Yes?
     
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