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Tiger Tank Tribute


abn deuce
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Whatever people say about the Tiger 1, and most of the negative talk is quite justified.... it has an un-nerving quality when viewed from the front profile, oddly I think the KingTiger doesn't have that, even though it was a more formidable machine. As I have said before we tend to look at data tables and forget the emotional aspect of armour, Tiger 1's just look nasty.... and you can't quantify that.

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Ajmac

Tiger 1's just look nasty.... and you can't quantify that.

Good point- possibly the blunt force of the shape of Tiger as opposed to KTs and panthers- a similar perspective has been recorded about the Churchill- I know the first time I saw the Churchill Merlin on OTA it had that effect, being positioned near the road turning the corner to be confronted by the -not huge but brutal lump- even though it was gunless.

 

However it's not necessarily the sloped lines of other tanks that make them lack "presence" the JS3 certainly has it although JS2 doesn't to the same extent and surprisingly Covenanter (which is about as rubish as a tank can be) can have presence especially in movie/photos showing it advancing with the turret at the mandatory 10 o clock position (necessary to allow the driver to use his hatch for driving head up.

 

Steve

Edited by steveo578
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i think the tigers gargantuan gun says everything about the tank and it's ability to kill other tanks, the armour was certainly no better than a churchill's, but the gun was in another league to the 6 pdr or 75mm. why it took the allies so long to try and reach parity with the germans i'll never know but whatever the reason it cost the lives of 1000's of allied tankies.

i must admit though that i do like the tiger infact all the later german tanks looked very business like, it just makes me angry to think that we as a nation couldn't come up with anything to equal it sooner.

 

eddy

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eddy8men

i think the tigers gargantuan gun says everything about the tank and it's ability to kill other tanks, the armour was certainly no better than a churchill's, but the gun was in another league to the 6 pdr or 75mm....... it just makes me angry to think that we as a nation couldn't come up with anything to equal it sooner.

Hi Eddy

Profound post but you are looking at tank technology from a Cold War -dare I say BAOR perspective.

 

In 1939 the British Army regarded tanks as the modern steed to the point that officers tended to call tanks mounts. Their usage in warfare was little changed in concept from the days of the Crimean war, which in turn was taught in concepts of elan dating back to Alexander the Great at Issus in the Persian War.

 

The purpose of armour was recce/expoitation for Light tanks and Cruiser and fixing the enemy in breakthough for the Infantry Tank. Where the British tank was deficient in firepower was in that it lacked a good dual purpose weapon- no doubt as a result of muddled thinking -and dare I say an almost Crimean idea of a clash of cavalry ( now armour) - the weapon -2pdr - was in effect a superb tank killer (long lance) until 1941 when another superb tank killer the 6pdr was introduced- neither weapon could in effect attack the "guns" either cannon in the Crimean persective or the HMG of the WW1 period. The Americans understood the concept better in that a tank was really there to take on every target but armour hence the great HE capability of the M3 gun- they however went too far in actually discouraging tanks from taking on armour - so by 1944 the British concept of having a mixed armament 75mm and 17pdrs to deal with distinct targets was probably better. As it was the 17pdr which was again a superb tank killer lacked a decent HE round until Post War.

 

The Germans had a similar concept to the British in early WW2, but had actually read Basil Liddle Hart, J.F.C Fuller and had absorbed the conclusions of the British Firepower exercises of the early 1930s. Until well into the Russian campaign their weapons were less effective than the British weapons, but being a dictatorship Hitler was able to force his niave ideas of weaponry onto the Waffenamt which converted the Panzer 4 into a long rifled tank killer and forcing the development of the Tiger into a 8.8cm armed bemoth- no-one could argue with Adolf, who considered his concept of Splendid Cats to be a renewal of his Blitzkeig arm but these weapons were developed into a similar concept as the Centurion Conqueror and Cheftain were developed during the Cold War- they were there in defence to pick off the Bolshevik hoard.

 

It is significant that despite the superiority of Tigers/Panthers and long barreled Panzer 4 and Stugs from the moment these weapons were deployed the wehrmacht was on the back foot- they had no successful blitzkeig from Kursk, only the re-taking of Kharcov involved a few heavier weapons and that the successful blitzkreigs were fought with simple comparatively light armoured vehicles.

 

Probably not a wholy satisfactory answer (probably would need a thick book).

 

Steve

Edited by steveo578
clarification/addition in italiques underlined
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steve i agree with you on everything you've said, i just get really p#ssed off with the fact that we didn't come up with a decent tank til the sherman firefly even though we had the capability, infact we had the edge over the german armour early on, it was their tactics that allowed them to conquer europe so quickly with blitzkrieg, not the tanks.

 

eddy

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eddy8men

infact we had the edge over the german armour early on, it was their tactics that allowed them to conquer europe so quickly with blitzkrieg, not the tanks.

And that is exactly the point the Germans in 1940 with inferior tanks, often facing superior Britsh and French armour ran rings around us. The superior German tactics (learned from the British) were designed to avoid superior enemy armour (leaving it to be destroyed by artillery- or aircraft) or in the case of blunting a counter attack -both in France in 1940 and in the Desert War of 1941 -42 was to use tanks and other primary targets to lure the British armour onto the anti-tank guns (often the 8.8cm FlaK for which there is no answer).

 

By 1944 the British and Americans were doing much the same thing although many of the battles in the June to August period were bloody as the abilty to manouver could not be attained and it led to tanks being sacrificed -a prime example of this was Goodwood where the main brief of British forces was to fix the enemy while the Americans broke out/through in the West around St Lo. It wouldn't have made much difference if the majority of British Shermans were 17pdr equipped in these circumstances as the main enemy was A/T guns which the correct answer is a good HE shell.

 

Goodwood in particular was a terrible loss of the British tank forces manpower- but it is war -sometimes (but rarely) it can be blamed on bad equipment, sometimes it can blamed on bad leadership -and it must be remembered that WW2 generals were junior officers in WW1 and that shapes their behaviour. As often as not the main cause of high or low casulaty rate is dependant on the enemy, whether he fights or flees- at Goodwood, strategically he should have withdrawn to a new line conserving assets, to await the flanking move from the West, they didn't and it cost the Britsh dearly, but then it exhausted the Germans, making their flight and defeat in the Failase pocket inevitable.

 

On a tactical level an example of how a 17pdr armed tank force would be a liablity, the fairly rare 17pdr HE in WW2 was overpowered- the cartridge threw it like an AP shot over a long distance -only after the turn of the year in 1945 did the boffins decide a low charge HE round would do the job as well if not better- less velocity less barrel wear, but like the US 76mm shell it was alot less effective than the 75mm M48 HE shell.

 

In November 1944 the British cleared the Schelt esturary and the Island of Walcheren, during this operation where no enemy armour would be expected Sherman 75s were landed mostly DDs only 2 survived the landing -most being swallowed by the muddy conditions - during the next 2 days these tanks shot 1400 round of HE -and probably alot of smoke too- had they been 17pdrs the barrels would have worn out and it is unlikely the supply train could have supplied that number of 17pdr HE rounds never mind having REME effect a barrel change on a Firefly in a combat zone.

 

Steve

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On a tactical level an example of how a 17pdr armed tank force would be a liablity, the fairly rare 17pdr HE in WW2 was overpowered- the cartridge threw it like an AP shot over a long distance -only after the turn of the year in 1945 did the boffins decide a low charge HE round would do the job as well if not better- less velocity less barrel wear, but like the US 76mm shell it was alot less effective than the 75mm M48 HE shell.

 

 

Steve

 

The problem with the early 17 pr HE was, as you say, it's high velocity. The reason this was a problem was that the shell body had to be sufficiently thick to withstand the firing forces and thick walls means low explosive content. The later low velocity, high capacity shell was as good as M48 HE.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On a tactical level an example of how a 17pdr armed tank force would be a liablity, the fairly rare 17pdr HE in WW2 was overpowered-

 

Bear in mind too that a Firefly carried a lot fewer rounds than 75 tank, even after ditching the co-pilot to create more ammo stowage, so the Firefly needed the 75 tanks to cover it.

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AlienFTM

Bear in mind too that a Firefly carried a lot fewer rounds than 75 tank, even after ditching the co-pilot to create more ammo stowage, so the Firefly needed the 75 tanks to cover it.

 

exactly:-) there are other functions I did not mention -as I wanted to keep the script down to a reasonable length- a major problem with all 17pdr or even 77mm A34 Comet units would be lack of smoke capability so Sherman 75 were esential until the end of hostilities as were 95mm howitzer Cromwells in Comet equiped units -which of course you'll be aware being a 15/19th bod. :-)

 

Steve

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In November 1944 the British cleared the Schelt esturary and the Island of Walcheren, during this operation where no enemy armour would be expected Sherman 75s were landed mostly DDs only 2 survived the landing -most being swallowed by the muddy conditions - during the next 2 days these tanks shot 1400 round of HE -and probably alot of smoke too- had they been 17pdrs the barrels would have worn out and it is unlikely the supply train could have supplied that number of 17pdr HE rounds never mind having REME effect a barrel change on a Firefly in a combat zone.

 

Steve

 

Does that mean if we pop over with a metal detector we might find some sunken Sherman DDs???

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Yes most WW2 British Sherman books cover this try Sherman firefly by Mark Hayward or David Fletcher vanguard book.

 

The co-drivers stowage was very poor it was almost impossible to access the rounds in action, but note the turret basket also obstructs the 20rd bin under the turret at certain turret positions.

 

It was recommended that should Firefly production continue or vehicles be remanufactured then the co driver bin should removed and the BG be re-instated, this did not happen although there were at least 2 MkVc in Belgian service that had standard hull machine gun mounts -but whether it was deliberate in service mod. or something that happened to make a memorial or target tank no-one knows.

 

Steve

Mk1c stowage.jpg

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although there were at least 2 MkVc in Belgian service that had standard hull machine gun mounts -but whether it was deliberate in service mod. or something that happened to make a memorial or target tank no-one knows.

 

Steve

 

Memorials only I believe, though I'm sure Maurice could confirm or deny!

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Another point of interest, the front ammo bin is for 14 rounds but there is clearly space for 15. In fact the other style of rack with flip over seperators has a position for the 15th round.

 

It is often quoted in books as a mystery why this is only a 14 round box but it is quite simple, the gearbox filler and dipstick is directly beneath the 15th position and so there is in fact no room for the extra round.

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