German tanks

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

German tanks

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:42 pm

Gentlemen,
What was the difference between the German 'Tiger' tank and their 'King Tiger' tank, were they better than the Russian T34 - and any other Allied tank?

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby Bgile » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:32 pm

There are long threads debating this issue. In a nutshell:

The Tiger I had a much more powerful gun than the T-34 and was harder to kill. It was slower and less maneuverable and harder to maintain.

The Tiger II was larger and more powerful than the Tiger I. Thicker armor with better sloping, more powerful gun, etc. Tiger I on steroids.

The T-34 was smaller and lighter with a less powerful gun, but there were much larger numbers of them and they had better cross country mobility than Tigers.

Tigers made up a small percentage of German armor by numbers fielded, although they are the most famous German tanks.

I'm staying out of the "better" issue. It's not that simple.

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1526
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby tommy303 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:01 pm

One is also trying to compare apples to oranges in my opinion. The T-34 was a medium tank, while the Tiger I and II were heavy tanks, so a direct comparison is out of the question. Even the Panther, though considered a medium tank by the Germans, was by Soviet standards a heavy tank. Perhaps a better comparison might be made comparing the Tigers with Soviet heavy tanks like the KV or IS series, or with the US Pershing.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun May 01, 2011 9:16 pm

Any profesional and serious account on WWII tanks, like the one offered by Thorsten a while ago ( http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-b...n=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf ) is very clear that in their mission of destroying enemy tanks the Tiger I reigned supreme over any other armoured vehicle. In the worst of cases they performed in a 1:2 kill ratio in their favor, at the very least. No other tank had that kill ratio. Given building "simplicity", or driving easiness or less complicated maintenance of other armoured cars, when a Tiger was fully operational no other tank could match it. The most "efficient" tank could be regarded as the T 34 but it will work only in superior advantage against the Tigers.

Also these could be interesting:


http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/tigers-02.htm

http://www.alanhamby.com/tiger.html
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby lwd » Mon May 02, 2011 12:01 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:... is very clear that in their mission of destroying enemy tanks the Tiger I reigned supreme over any other armoured vehicle. In the worst of cases they performed in a 1:2 kill ratio in their favor, at the very least. No other tank had that kill ratio.

Not quite. You forget that the combat results have a number of confounding factors. For instance Tigers were usually crewed by veteran and often veterans who had distinguished themselves, then it was fighting on the defensive for a good part of the war. It's not at all clear for instance if the Soviets had had Tigers and the Germans IS2s & IS3s that the Germans might have done as well.
Given building "simplicity", or driving easiness or less complicated maintenance of other armoured cars, when a Tiger was fully operational no other tank could match it. The most "efficient" tank could be regarded as the T 34 but it will work only in superior advantage against the Tigers.
...

Well I wouldn't refer to other tanks as "armored cars" and I've read a number of accounts when fully operational Tigers were defeated by other tanks so it's clear that other tanks could "match it". While it's clear that an operational Tiger in a one on one match had an edge over most other tanks that wasn't enough to guarantee it a win nor is it IMO a particularly good yard stick to use in evaluating tanks.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 02, 2011 12:10 am

lwd,

Please read US Army major Christopher Willbeck's essay and then the Tiger battalion kill ratios. That's has to be sufficient answer.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby lwd » Mon May 02, 2011 1:14 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd,
Please read US Army major Christopher Willbeck's essay

Was that one of the links above?
and then the Tiger battalion kill ratios. That's has to be sufficient answer.

I'm aware of their kill ratios what you seem to be missing is that the kill ratios are not purely a function or even primarily a function of the quality of the vehicle.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 02, 2011 1:22 am

Because of a promise I made this is the last post on this behalf. All the previous ones made a case by themselves.

I'm aware of their kill ratios what you seem to be missing is that the kill ratios are not purely a function or even primarily a function of the quality of the vehicle.


Of course, we already know that the german tank crews, and german soldiers in general, were better than whatever the western allies put together in numerical superiority in order to beat them. It was the combination. Anyway it will do you good to read Maj. Willbeck's thesis and the links posted above.

Good bye.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby Bgile » Mon May 02, 2011 3:33 am

It would be interesting to know the kill ratio of Tiger I vs Sherman Firefly.

Or Tiger I vs Pershing.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby lwd » Mon May 02, 2011 3:48 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Because of a promise I made this is the last post on this behalf.

Sorry to hear that.
All the previous ones made a case by themselves.

Not really.
I'm aware of their kill ratios what you seem to be missing is that the kill ratios are not purely a function or even primarily a function of the quality of the vehicle.


Of course, we already know that the german tank crews, and german soldiers in general, were better than whatever the western allies put together in numerical superiority in order to beat them.

Do we? That's not as clear as you seem to thing.
Anyway it will do you good to read Maj. Willbeck's thesis and the links posted above.
....

Which one? The one I thought most likely lead nowhere.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 10, 2011 12:46 pm

I missed this nonsense:

It would be interesting to know the kill ratio of Tiger I vs Sherman Firefly.

Or Tiger I vs Pershing.



This has been already been answered in the following kill ratio list, because it is a kill ratio of EVERYTHING the Tigers dealth with, specially the T 34 as with Shermans, Cromwells, Churchills, Pershings or Fireflies (this last which could have been MODIFIED to have a better gun but still lack of the armor the TIger had).

UNITm Losses Kills Kill Ratio
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 120 450 3.75
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 107 1,400 13.08
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 252 1,700 6.75
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504 109 250 2.29
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 126 900 7.14
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 506 179 400 2.23
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507 104 600 5.77
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 508 78 100 1.28
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 509 120 500 4.17
schwere Panzer-Abteilung 510 65 200 3.08
13./Panzer-Regiment Grossdeutschland 6 100 16.67 Of course this was the best non Waffen SS division of WWII
III./Panzer-Regiment Grossdeutschland 98 500 5.10
13./SS-Panzerregiment 1 42 400 9.52
8./SS-Panzerregiment 2 31 250 8.06
9./SS-Panzerregiment 3 56 500 8.93
schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 (501) 107 500 4.67
schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 (502) 76 600 7.89
schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 103 (503) 39 500 12.82

Total 1,715 9,850 5.74


As a comparison, this chart shows AFV losses, all causes, by year on the Eastern Front:


Year German Losses Russian Losses Kill/Loss Ratio
1941 2,758 20,500 7.43
1942 2,648 15,000 5.66
1943 6,362 22,400 3.52
1944 6,434 16,900 2.63
1945 7,382 8,700 1.18
Total 25,584 83,500 3.26
Last edited by Karl Heidenreich on Tue May 10, 2011 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: German tanks

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 10, 2011 12:55 pm


... for example, a casual reading of Allied accounts during the Battle of the Bulge would indicate that at least half of the German tanks employed there were Tigers. Actually no more than 136 Tigers were involved...

... For example the Soviet propaganda claimed that 700 Tigers were destroyed during the Battle of Kursk. This number is five times more than the actual number engaged in the fighting...


- USA Army Major Christopher Willbeck, BS University of Nebraska, NBA Webster Univesity

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby lwd » Wed May 11, 2011 3:12 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I missed this nonsense:
It would be interesting to know the kill ratio of Tiger I vs Sherman Firefly.
Or Tiger I vs Pershing.

This has been already been answered in the following kill ratio list, because it is a kill ratio of EVERYTHING the Tigers dealth with, specially the T 34 as with Shermans, Cromwells, Churchills, Pershings or Fireflies (this last which could have been MODIFIED to have a better gun but still lack of the armor the TIger had).

But of course it hasn't. There is a huge difference bettween the kill ratios of two specific tanks and a tank and all opposing tanks. And it's hardly nonsense to say that it would be interesting to know.

Now I will agree in the case of the Tiger 1 vs Pershing the numbers are going to be so low that they will be statistically of little import.
As for the Firefly's vs Tigers that one is likely to be very confounded as in many cases it will not be clear what killed Firefly's.

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby Bgile » Wed May 11, 2011 3:20 pm

lwd wrote:Now I will agree in the case of the Tiger 1 vs Pershing the numbers are going to be so low that they will be statistically of little import.
As for the Firefly's vs Tigers that one is likely to be very confounded as in many cases it will not be clear what killed Firefly's.


Why would it be more confounded than what killed Tiger Is?

I may be wrong, but can't the 17 pounder kill Tiger Is at any practical range?

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: German tanks

Postby lwd » Wed May 11, 2011 6:02 pm

Bgile wrote:
lwd wrote:.... As for the Firefly's vs Tigers that one is likely to be very confounded as in many cases it will not be clear what killed Firefly's.

Why would it be more confounded than what killed Tiger Is?

For a number of reasons.
1) There are a lot of 88's that aren't on Tigers that can kill Fireflies.
2) It's not clear to me that very good records were kept on exactly what killed British (or US tanks). I.e. they might say "tank or anti tank gun" but often wouldn't even have a calliber associated with it.
3) A fair number of killed Tigers were examined in some detail to see if it could be determined exactly what killed them. Not sure how easy it is to tell the difference between a 17lber and other guns though.
4) I suspect that Tigers recieved multiple hits more often that Fireflies which further confuses exactly what killed the tank. Indeed if an abandoned tank is hit does that count as a kill?
I may be wrong, but can't the 17 pounder kill Tiger Is at any practical range?

At longer ranges the accuracy of the 17lber seems to have fallen off rather sharply. Depending on ammo type I think you are correct but it also depends on what you consider practical range. In the East I've read of kills at over 2 km where in the west the average engagement range was well under 1 km. Apples and oranges I know but we probably need to be a bit more precise to answer that question well.


Return to “World War II”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest