Tanks

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
paul.mercer
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Tanks

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:42 am

Gentlemen,
I regret that i am going to pick your brains again.
I was watching a program called 'Combat Dealers' where a chap and his team buy and restore WW2 arms and vehicles. During one foray in France he went to a museum which has one of the last working 'King Tiger' tanks - all 70 tons of it! Although I believe that the engines in this and the 'Tiger' could be very unreliable and used a huge amount of fuel, so I was wondering about the performance of both the Tiger and King Tiger, when compared with any other allied tank including the T34 as it would seem from what has been said that they were almost invincible in a straight tank on tank battle?

OpanaPointer
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Re: Tanks

Post by OpanaPointer » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:53 am

I saw an interview with one panzertruppen who said "Our tiger could kill five Shermans. But you always had six."

Byron Angel
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Re: Tanks

Post by Byron Angel » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:21 pm

Hi Paul,
Wait until the legions of Sherman tank 'fan-bois' get wind of this thread; countless terabytes of debate and dispute have circulated around the topic of German heavy tanks and their true battlefield value. From my perspective, there is no question that the Tigers were very powerful in the anti-tank role. In any one-on-one frontal engagement > 2-300 yards, barring a miracle, the Sherman was almost a certain loser regardless of its main armament. It is however fair to say that, in an era when practical experience had demonstrated that the priority of desired qualities in a good tank was: gun-power/mobility/protection, the Tigers were not optimal as general purpose main battle tank designs.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

B

paul.mercer
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Re: Tanks

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:07 pm

Thanks Byron,
I presume this would also apply to the King Tiger?
My other question is abut the usefulness of tanks today, of course in WW1 they scared the hell out of the Germans and in WW2 at the start the Germans scared the hell out of everyone else, but later on both sides the tanks were susceptible to Basookas, Panzafausts and anti tank guns like the British 18 pounder and the German 88. I just wonder whether today with hand held missiles and other missiles that can be fired from a long distance away by aircraft and helicopters if the tank has had its day and is merely a death trap for its crew like we saw happen to the Iraq tanks in the Gulf wars?
Ps It's nice to get away from Denmark Strait for a change!

Byron Angel
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Tanks

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:57 pm

paul.mercer wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:07 pm
Thanks Byron,
I presume this would also apply to the King Tiger?
My other question is abut the usefulness of tanks today, of course in WW1 they scared the hell out of the Germans and in WW2 at the start the Germans scared the hell out of everyone else, but later on both sides the tanks were susceptible to Basookas, Panzafausts and anti tank guns like the British 18 pounder and the German 88. I just wonder whether today with hand held missiles and other missiles that can be fired from a long distance away by aircraft and helicopters if the tank has had its day and is merely a death trap for its crew like we saw happen to the Iraq tanks in the Gulf wars?
Ps It's nice to get away from Denmark Strait for a change!

Hi Paul,
My comments indeed referred to both models of the Tiger heavy tank series. IMO, the Tiger II ("King Tiger") represented an even more extreme deviation from conventional main battle tank "wisdom" (compare the vital statistics of the two versions). Of course, to be fair, the Tigers were not designed for conventional main battle tank roles, but (once again, IMO) as specialist "breakthrough" (in counter-attack) and long range anti-tank (in defense) weapons.

British (and later French) employment of tanks on the Western Front in WW1 no doubt came as a great initial shock to the Germans and represented a fundamental change in battle tactics. But the British arguably did themselves a considerable disservice by their premature commitment of the tank on the Somme front in small numbers inadequate to deliver a powerful result. As a result, by the time a sufficiently large number of tanks had been accumulated, the element of real surprise had been lost; the Germans, now aware of the threat, were in process of implementing counter-measures by the time Cambrai rolled around. Something on the order of four hundred tanks were committed by the British to the surprise 1917 attack against Cambrai, delivered without the customary massive pre-assault bombardment that would normally fore-warn the defender. The Germans were able to absorb the initial British thrust and, by the end of the battle, their counter-attacks not only recovered all the initially lost ground but had also drove the British back behind their original start line (a big contributor to the failure of this offensive was the poor mechanical reliability of the British tanks on the battlefield). Please note that I'm not attempting to argue that the tank was inconsequential, only that it might have been more effectively exploited.

What does the future hold? Who knows? But, from my perspective, the tank of today, within the context of a combined arms battle force, remains a dangerous weapon of war.

Ditto re your closing remark above, BTW.

B

OpanaPointer
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: Tanks

Post by OpanaPointer » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:46 am

Unmanned drone tanks, AFVs, etc. are being considered. Not macho enough for the old school, I think.

paul.mercer
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Tanks

Post by paul.mercer » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:16 pm

OpanaPointer wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:46 am
Unmanned drone tanks, AFVs, etc. are being considered. Not macho enough for the old school, I think.
No doubt!
When submarines were first introduced they were apparently described as 'a thoroughly Un English weapon!

Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 838
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Tanks

Post by Byron Angel » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:47 pm

OpanaPointer wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:46 am
Unmanned drone tanks, AFVs, etc. are being considered. Not macho enough for the old school, I think.
Hmmm ..... remotely guided/operated drones of all types are undeniably here to stay. I am however troubled by the potentially dangerous unintended consequences of the inevitable next technological step - AI controlled drone weapons - something which IMO cannot be far off.

B

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