Tiger Kills and Losses

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:23 pm

FWIW, I recently saw a documentry on modern tanks done by British tank specialists and they rated the Leopard as slightly superior to both the Challenger and the Abrams. These three tanks are very closely matched in combat capability. They all three use the same 120mm German gun, and they all three use essentially the same Chobham armour protection systems. There were two reasons why they placed the Leopard ahead of the Challenger and the Abrams. One was that they considered the German tank's firecontrol system more effective and easier to use. The second was the Leopard's power plant. The Leopard uses just a gem of a diesel engine. This engine provides slightly superior performance than the Abram's gas turbine for a fraction of the fuel consumption. They also considered the German diesel as much easier to maintain and service in the field and in a variety of extreme enviroments. Perhaps the Germans learned about excessive fuel consumption and difficult maintence last time around?

Hope that doesn't qualify me as one of the "Germans have the best of everything" crowd. I'm just restating what the documentry stated. LOL.
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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by VeenenbergR » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:36 pm

Alecsandros.

There were no 200 Tigers in Normandy but 5 + 45 + 45 + 45 + 2x7 + 14 = 168 at most and of them about 150-160 were lost; some tried to reach the German border and some were removed earlier to the Waffenamt for repairs.
About 30 of them fought North of the Seine, the others South of it.

mckenny maybe right that "only" a dozen or two of them became victim of air attacks (1), which leave the majority which were knocked out by allied TD's (2), tank guns (3), artillery barrages (4), stricken in the landscape (5), left behind during the retreat out of the pocket near Trun/Falaise (6), broken down/ out of petrol (7), abandoned by the crew along the Seine (8).

The examples of Villers Bocage learn that Tigers were destroyed when they were fired from the sides at short distances.
Schneider gives a reasonable account of the losses of the Tiger equiped units: 101SS, 102SS, 503 and Pz. Lehr.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by VeenenbergR » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:44 pm

THX Dave. This last remark is what I always thought: weakness of the German engines in WWII gave a lot trouble (Ships, aircraft, heavy tanks). They have apparently learnt from it.

But Germans have no impressive ships or aircraft anymore, there are left with their tanks.

Then another: isn't the Leopard also much vaster than the Chalenger and Abrahams? The terrain performance of the Leo is excellent!!
They learnt from the many Tigers which stuck in teh mud or ruble with a broken final drive and were lost......

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by Bgile » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:57 pm

alecsandros wrote:The P-47s, P-51s, P-38s, Typhoons, Tempests were used over Normandy as fighter-bombers. They carried 4-8 non-guided rockets or 2x227kg (p-47) or 2x454kg (Typhoon) bombs (acting more like a dive bomber in those situations).
I'm definitely interested in even one case of a western fighter destroying a Tiger. It's hard for me to imagine how that would be achieved. Both rockets and bombs were very inaccurate where it comes to hitting an individual tank directly.
5. If the purpose of the inquiry is to find out how many Tigers were lost to air attack, than you should also look into the losses coming from heavy area bombing. If you're interested only in the ground attack planes, than this is no longer relevant.
The heavy bomber attack was a one time thing, so I don't think it's relevant when someone claims that most Tiger losses were due to air and artillery fire and that they were invulnerable (supreme on the battlefield) to other weapons.
I have several accounts of fighter-bombers destroying Tigers. I can post them if you need, but it will take some time.
Could you? I'm very interested in this. I'd like to know what weapon was used and whether the tank was destroyed or just temporarily immobilized. I'm fairly sure if a direct hit was achieved with a rocket or bomb or artillery shell it would be destroyed, but I think that would be very hard to achieve and very lucky.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by Bgile » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:07 pm

VeenenbergR wrote:Then another: isn't the Leopard also much vaster than the Chalenger and Abrahams? The terrain performance of the Leo is excellent!!
They learnt from the many Tigers which stuck in teh mud or ruble with a broken final drive and were lost......
Leopard max speed is 72kph and an M1A2 is 67.7kph. Both have 1,500 hp engines. So yes, the Leopard is faster, but only slightly.

I'm not so much concerned about your claim that the Leopard is the best tank as I am under the impression that you think it is so much more powerful that it is like comparing a Tiger II with a Sherman. You seem to think that anything German is leagues ahead of anything made by anyone else, and current western tanks are very close in capability.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by lwd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:44 pm

VeenenbergR wrote:Bgile.

Is is not ridiculous if you look at the characteristics of the Leopards last version to a Chalenger or Abrahams: the German tank is widely judged by experts to be the best in the word.
If you call this ridiculous ...
Actually it's pretty close. Depending on exactly what criteria are used anyone one of the 5 western modern MBT's can come up on top and if the critieria are heavily enough waited the Japanese, Russian, and Korean tanks have a shot at it. IE there is no consensus at all among "experts" that the Leopard is the best.
. Aircraft were THE threat for the German tanks in WWII.
As a direct threat no. As an indirect one perhaps.
Jentz also five proof of that fact. German counterattacks near Vire were stopped by air attacks, so were German breakout attempts of the Falaise pocket near Lambert sur Dives.
But was that due to direct destruction of the vehicles by air power?
In Russia they were frequent marauded by the most numerous type of aircraft built in WWII: The Il2 Sturmovik. After Kursk a German panzer division was attacked solely rom the air
and afterwards it counted 50% less operational tanks!
Got some documentation on this? What unit? How many tanks did they start with? How many planes of what type attacked them?

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by lwd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:56 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:FWIW, I recently saw a documentry on modern tanks done by British tank specialists and they rated the Leopard as slightly superior to both the Challenger and the Abrams. These three tanks are very closely matched in combat capability.
They each have advanteges in certain circumstances. That's why it's really hard to rate one over the other unless you have a really well defined system including weights on the various factors.
They all three use the same 120mm German gun,
Not from what I remember reading. The British use a rifled gun of British design from what I've read and I think the most recent Leopard uses a somewhat longer gun than the M1. The US looked at the longer gun as it had a bit better armor penetration and accuracy when fired stationary but less accuracy when fired on the move which was what US doctrine emphasised.
and they all three use essentially the same Chobham armour protection systems.
I don't remember hearing that either the Challenger or the Leopard used DU armor like some M1 variants.
There were two reasons why they placed the Leopard ahead of the Challenger and the Abrams. One was that they considered the German tank's firecontrol system more effective and easier to use. The second was the Leopard's power plant. The Leopard uses just a gem of a diesel engine. This engine provides slightly superior performance than the Abram's gas turbine for a fraction of the fuel consumption.
Really? My reading indicated the speed of the M1 is unmatched. The problem with the M1's engine is at idle it burns a lot more fuel than a diesel.
They also considered the German diesel as much easier to maintain and service in the field and in a variety of extreme enviroments. Perhaps the Germans learned about excessive fuel consumption and difficult maintence last time around?

Hope that doesn't qualify me as one of the "Germans have the best of everything" crowd. I'm just restating what the documentry stated. LOL.
The US was aware of the fule and maintance issues (at least some of them) and decided that the performance of the engine was worth it. Other militaries could quite reasonably come up with a different answer. And indeed have. For what they want/need it would be hard to find a better tank for Israel than the Merkava for instance, similarly given their percieved needs and doctrine the Challenger fits the British better than any other tank in production. The Le Clerk is certainly an invative tank and some rate it very high as well. Like many of these discussions I suspet the differences in opinion have more to do with differences in the criteria than in the vehicles.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by lwd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:01 pm

VeenenbergR wrote:...But Germans have no impressive ships or aircraft anymore, there are left with their tanks.
I thought they made some pretty impressive diesel subs?

Then another: isn't the Leopard also much vaster than the Chalenger and Abrahams? ...
My impression is that the M1 is the fastest at least if the govenor is removed. The Chalenger is suppose to have very good accelleration both forward and reverse at low speeds.

When the M1 first came out the maintenance people over in Germany figured out one big advantage it had. If you backed one into a mainenance bay it was quite capable of keeping the whole bay warm and toasty even in a German winter. :D

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by lwd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:03 pm

Bgile wrote: ...Leopard max speed is 72kph and an M1A2 is 67.7kph. Both have 1,500 hp engines. So yes, the Leopard is faster, but only slightly.....
I'm pretty sure that's because of the govenor. M1's have been clocked at well over that. It's one of those easy unauthorized mods that become very common in war zones if frowned on outside of them.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by alecsandros » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:12 pm

Bgile wrote:
Could you? I'm very interested in this. I'd like to know what weapon was used and whether the tank was destroyed or just temporarily immobilized. I'm fairly sure if a direct hit was achieved with a rocket or bomb or artillery shell it would be destroyed, but I think that would be very hard to achieve and very lucky.
Hello,
As I said, I tried to put together the Tigers which succumbed to air attack in Normandy. I used Tigers in Combat, vol1 and 2, by Wolfgang Schneider.

Some remarks:
- most of the jabo attacks on Tigers were strafing attacks, which resulted in damaging the vehicle. In many occasions, the crew was forced to blow up the (damaged) tank while retreating in front of the allied advance. Although this ain't a direct source of destruction, it is very important regarding the outcome of dozens of Tigers employed in Normandy.
- The Tigers that were completely lost due to air attack suffered direct or very-near misses by bombs.

===========================

Tiger batalions employed in Normandy:
503rd Schwere Pz-Abt.
Air-attacks:
1) On the 18th of July, area bombing preceding Goodwood destroyed 1 tank and flipped over another.
2) On the 12 Aug, the total no of tanks was 13
On the same day, "- Tiger 311 knocked off a rail car by fighter bomber attack" AND
Near Pontoise, (right bank of the Seine), "the majority of tanks are put out of action by fighter-bombers and have to be
blown up". Total tanks at the end of the day: 3

101st (501) Schwere Pz-Abt:
On the 30th of April 1944 - it had 45 Tigers (37 operational)
air-attacks
- 7th of June "2/sch SS-Pz-Abt are hit by a air strike near Versailles"
- 8th of June - The 3/sch SS-Pz-Abt returns to Paris and starts
single tank movement to the west on the next day. Numerous strafing attacks by fighterbombers"
- 10th of June 1944: "The 2./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 is strafed by fighters in Argentan.
A short while later it is hit from the air again at Occagnes"
- 12 June - total of 18 operational Tigers.
The book does not mention other Tiger damage/losses than those inflicted by air. So, in 5 days, we should asume that 19 Tigers were "knocked-out" (whatever that means) by air.

- 15 June 1944: The 3./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 moves into the assembly area
near Evrecy. During the night, the 3./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 (four Tigers) is hit
by a heavy air strike and totaly destroyed.

- 26 August 1944 - "Further to the northeast, the last tank-Tiger 124-is attacked by fighter-bombers on the road
SaiUy-Fontenay St. Pere and tips over after two bomb near misses"

102nd (502nd) Schwere:
10 July 1944: Air strike early in the morning; two Tigers are knocked out
18 July 1944: The 3./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 is hit by a heavy air strike; five out of its seven
Tigers are damaged.
20 July 1944: 11 Tigers operational.
22 July 1944: The 2./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 is put on alert and advances
towards Amaye. It receives orders there to attack along the road to Maltot. It pulls back
after being hit by fighter-bombers. [...]. Seven Tigers operational.

So, again, we can asume that 4 more Tigers were knocked-out by air.

The Panzer-Lehr Tigers haven't been lost/damaged by air, as far as Schneider goes.

===============================

So, I counted 7 directly destroyed Tigers, but 40 more knocked-out by fighter-bombers. Out of those, how many have been repaired, and resent to battle, I do not know.

All the best,

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by lwd » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:35 pm

Many of those abandoned due to being broken down or out of fuel can also be layed at the hands of tac air. The attackes on the soft skinned support vehicles being probably a bigger contributer to the problems of the panzers than direct attacks.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by alecsandros » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:15 pm

lwd wrote:Many of those abandoned due to being broken down or out of fuel can also be layed at the hands of tac air. The attackes on the soft skinned support vehicles being probably a bigger contributer to the problems of the panzers than direct attacks.
The events I tried to present earlier reflect ONLY the status of combat units. I.e. they do not concern the abandoned vehicles.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by Bgile » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:17 pm

Thanks for the info. What I was really hoping for was what kind of damage could be caused by a fighter attack with MG or cannon and how that would disable the tank.

I can sure see how a fighter could make the lives of accompanying infantry unbearable and thereby cause an attack to fail, but I still don't have a good picture of what kind of damage would be done to a tank. I served in M-60 tanks, and I just find it hard to imagine how such weapons would destroy one of them outright.

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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by hammy » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:20 pm

Regarding the Armour on modern M B Ts ,

"Chobham" armour has a ceramic layer on or in it .
This is designed to defeat "Hollow charge" Anti-tank projectiles ( like the RPG-7 , Panzerfaust and Bazooka rounds ).
In those , a streamlined conical nose is simply a windshield for the shaped charge behind .
This charge is usually also shaped as a hollow cone , but pointing aft .
The hollow is lined with aluminium foil .
The detonator is located in the centre , at the bottom of the aft-facing charge cone .
On hitting the armoured target the wind shield crumples and the rim of the charge cone approaches the plate target .
At the same time , detonation commences and the charge starts to burn at very high speed and temperature FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE CHARGE CONE .
Melting the aluminium foil liner as it burns this projects forward at the plate target a jet of flame and molten metal in a condition which is called plasma , a combination of Gaseous state , extreme temperature and velocity .
This Plasma jet burns a hole through the armour plate and the plasma jet then enters the AFV , with imaginable results .
The ceramic layer in the "chobham" type armours cannot be penetrated by the plasma jet .

"Reactive" armour , which appears as flat khaki "packs" or "slabs" laid out over the AFVs hull+turret , is designed to deal with the hollow charge AT weapons , and another called "squash-head" , or HESH .
That HESH projectile deforms on impact to bring a content of HE in contact with the target plate over an area .
(Think of slapping a double handful of wet potters clay down on a board , and you get the idea ).
Again fused from the base , this charge explodes very sharply , sending a shockwave through the plate , and blowing off a saucer shaped depression on the rear of the plate .
Flying into the confines of the AFV as a cloud of high velocity fragments , this depresses the crew . :(
Reactive armour contains small HE charges laid onto a cushioning base .
When hit by one of these projectiles the armour charge explodes and drives the attacking projectile off somewhat .
This usually suffices to render the attacking projectile ineffective as the plasma jet or shockwave are dissapated in the air space now between the projectile and it's target .

Alternatively , you can fit your AFVs with "Schurtzen" plates/bars/mesh which the German panzers started to do in WW2 and which I see has enjoyed a new lease of life now in the Iraq and Afghan conflict theatres .
Evidently the higher tech armours leave something to be desired .
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Re: Tiger Kills and Losses

Post by mkenny » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:30 pm

1) On the 18th of July, area bombing preceding Goodwood destroyed 1 tank and flipped over another
3 totaly destroyed by bombs. 1 fell into a crater and could not be extracted

On the same day, "- Tiger 311 knocked off a rail car by fighter bomber attack"
This Tiger II fell off the railcar as it was being unloaded AFTER the air attack. It was not destroyed
Near Pontoise, (right bank of the Seine), "the majority of tanks are put out of action by fighter-bombers and have to be
blown up".
The one statement by Schneider that has no other confirming data. It is not claimed anywhere else not even in the 503 Unit History

101st (501) Schwere Pz-Abt:
On the 30th of April 1944 - it had 45 Tigers (37 operational)
air-attacks
- 7th of June "2/sch SS-Pz-Abt are hit by a air strike near Versailles"
- 8th of June - The 3/sch SS-Pz-Abt returns to Paris and starts
single tank movement to the west on the next day. Numerous strafing attacks by fighterbombers"
- 10th of June 1944: "The 2./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 is strafed by fighters in Argentan.
A short while later it is hit from the air again at Occagnes"
- 12 June - total of 18 operational Tigers.
The book does not mention other Tiger damage/losses than those inflicted by air. So, in 5 days, we should asume that 19 Tigers were "knocked-out" (whatever that means) by air.
The Tigers were just damaged.



- 26 August 1944 - "Further to the northeast, the last tank-Tiger 124-is attacked by fighter-bombers on the road
SaiUy-Fontenay St. Pere and tips over after two bomb near misses"
This Tiger II drove into a bomb crater and turned on its side.


102nd (502nd) Schwere:
10 July 1944: Air strike early in the morning; two Tigers are knocked out
18 July 1944: The 3./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 is hit by a heavy air strike; five out of its seven
Tigers are damaged.
20 July 1944: 11 Tigers operational.
22 July 1944: The 2./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 is put on alert and advances
towards Amaye. It receives orders there to attack along the road to Maltot. It pulls back
after being hit by fighter-bombers. [...]. Seven Tigers operational.

So, again, we can asume that 4 more Tigers were knocked-out by air.
You assume too much. The majority of these Tigers recieved damage and were not destroyed.



So, I counted 7 directly destroyed Tigers, but 40 more knocked-out by fighter-bombers. Out of those, how many have been repaired, and resent to battle, I do not know.
If you want to include damaged tanks then we must also include the total of ALL German tanks damaged. By including damaged Tigers then obviously the number of tanks will rise considerably. However the RATIO of tanks lost/damaged to air attack will not rise.
The % will still be 10%-15%.


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