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> Tank-versus-tank kill ratio
sid guttridge
Posted: November 08, 2006 01:12 pm
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Hi d-c,

Whether such losses were "heavy" or not, rather depends on how many Tigers were in service at that time in that place. Do you have figures for this?

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Sid.
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sid guttridge
Posted: November 08, 2006 01:14 pm
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P.S. I don't think Tigers were in action on the Eastern Front in June 1943.

Sid.
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 12:24 am
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QUOTE (sid guttridge @ November 08, 2006 02:14 pm)
P.S. I don't think Tigers were in action on the Eastern Front in June 1943.

Sid.

i'm afraid i don't understand. do you mean that no operational Tigers were present on the EF in june 1943?
if so, there was a steadily increasing number of Tigers since on the EF since jan. '43.

or do you mean that there was no combat involving Tigers on the EF in june 1943?
if so, i cannot disagree as i do not know.

QUOTE

Whether such losses were "heavy" or not, rather depends on how many Tigers were in service at that time in that place. Do you have figures for this?

when i get home i will post a monthly breakdown of Tigers operational each month on the EF in 1943.
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dead-cat
Posted: November 09, 2006 03:50 am
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so:

Tigers available on the EF / deliveries / written off as total loss by month for 1943:

jan: 8/39/11
feb: 36/34/3
mar: 67/0/5
apr: 62/40/0
may: 102/27/0
jun: 129/18/0
jul: 147/50/18
aug: 179/43/32
sep: 190/61/30
oct: 221/32/32
nov: 221/92/29
dec: 284/0/73
jan'44: 221

all numbers from "Tiger I Heavy Tank" by Tom Jentz, Osprey Publishing
they do not reflect, to my understanding unit movements to other theatres (Italy).

which means, on jul 1st, 5 days before Citadel started the german army had 147 Tiger I available on the EF.
until the end of july they lost 18 and recived 50, so of the 197 Tigers available at some point during july, 18 were written off as total loss (9.13%)

by applying the soviet definition of "Kursk" (5th july- 23th aug) we get 240 Tigers available at some point on the EF, of which 50 were considered a total loss (20.83%).

while we can fight over semantics, by no means i find 21% to be "heavy casualties", especially for a battle with has been labeled a "swan song of the german panzer arm", for Tigers at least.

of the 147 Tiger available 146 were deployed at Kursk so i assume that all 18 were lost there.

according to Zetterling/Frankson, Army Group Center lost 5 Tigers during July '43, while Army Group South lost 6 until july 17, after which most elements containing Tigers performed an orderly withdrawal and were redeployed. the missing 7 Tigers losses must have happened during 17-31 july, most probably all at Kursk.

given the numbers above i'm finding it difficult to classify those losses as "heavy".
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sid guttridge
Posted: November 10, 2006 10:02 am
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Hi DC,

Good stuff. That is the sort of hard-fact reply that makes Feldgrau most valuable.

For the second half of 1943 I make that an average monthly % total loss rate of 21%.

The next question is whether 21% is to be considered "heavy"? This percentage presumably means that the entire Tiger force would last about 5 months if not reinforced.

It does occur to me that, as this was a period of relentless retreat, 21% per month is probably not a heavy loss rate.

The last thing is to wonder whether the Tigers might have been particularly conserved or whether particular priority was given to ensuring their recovery. Common sense would suggest that both were the case to some degree.

Cheers,

Sid.
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dead-cat
Posted: November 10, 2006 10:16 am
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QUOTE

The last thing is to wonder whether the Tigers might have been particularly conserved or whether particular priority was given to ensuring their recovery. Common sense would suggest that both were the case to some degree.

actually it seems that the germans hauled offthe battlefield whatever they deemed repairable when they could, but i'm convinced Tigers, when possible would enjoy priority, being the more valuable equipment.

this explains the total loss of only 18 Tigers during July when they were on the offensive, despite strong defences which, at some point must have damaged signifiantly more Tigers than those 18, as the listing of operational vs. available suggest (albeit this is a very volatile ratio since it includes all tanks in repair from varios reasons which might go from throwing a track to a total engine breakdown).
it also explains the higher loss in the following month (32) eventhough they wern't facing heavy defences
and inflicting larger casualties than in july, but reatreating, the recovery and repair of vehicles, which under july conditions did take place, became impossible.

to summarize and refine my original statement i made a few posts ago:
when enjoying reasonable air cover (as it was at Kursk, not necesarily air superiority) the survivablity of Tigers on the battlefield was not bad at all, even during a large combined arms operation which involved all kind of scenarios (assault of heavily fortified positions, minefields, tank vs. tank, tank vs. ATG combat, retreats).

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sid guttridge
Posted: November 10, 2006 01:51 pm
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Hi DC,

I'll buy that!

Cheers,

Sid.
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MMM
Posted: May 13, 2009 12:58 pm
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Sorry to bring it now back to life - I just found this topic!
QUOTE
swan song of the german panzer arm
- my guess is that it was the last major offensive with any success (even limited :P); not the losses being so high, but the results being so little - that was the "swan song"!
I second the oppinion about the air support - it is more important, not just to "tip" the scales, but also decissive! Check out Israel's "arab wars", also!
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sample
Posted: May 15, 2009 09:15 am
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QUOTE (Florin @ November 05, 2006 05:57 am)
Even the American documentaries about WWII accept that the Tigers and the Panthers were much better stuff than what the American armored divisions had available. This proves something, considering these American documentaries presenting history in their unique biased way.
Very often, on the Western Front,  the German tanks were "killed" by airplanes, called in despair by the ground troops who lost their Shermans before having time to yell "Ooops!".

The effects of allied air power against german ground combat units in normandy it seems exaggerated: often the german attack at Mortain is used as an example to show the effectiveness of the fighter-bombers as tank killers. But in fact this engagement is rather an example of vastly exaggerated claims. The british 2nd tactical air force claimed to have destroyed or damaged 140 German tanks in the Mortain area 7 - 10 August, while 9th US air force claimed 112. This actually exceeded the number of German tanks employed in the operation. In fact no more than 46 tanks were lost in the operation and of these only nine had been hit by air weapons.

The main reason for the poor results of air attack on tanks was lack of suitable armament. Machine guns and cannons had sufficient accuracy, but lacked the power necessary to produce more than superficial damage. Heavy bombs could destroy a tank, but it took a direct hit, which was very difficult to achieve. The vaunted rockets had sufficient penetration capabilities. Trials against captured German Panther tanks showed that the rockets could penetrate the armour except on the front of the tank. The accuracy of the rockets was however alarmingly low, even when fired in salvos of eight. At trials on training ground in England the probability of achieving a hit on a tank was at most 4 %. On operations, when the aircraft was subjected to AA fire and the targets not stationary on an open field, hit rates must have been even lower.

Also, in fact on the six most casualty-intensive days suffered by 12. SS-Pz.Div. during June 1944 the weather either prevented or hampered air operations. The worst day for the division was 26 June 1944, when it suffered 730 casualties. During this day it rained.

Three British studies of captured Panther tanks (or wrecks of Panther tanks), two of them during Normandy and one during the Ardennes battle gave the following results:

Armour Piercing Shot -> 63 panther tanks lost
Hollow Charge Projectiles -> 8 panther tanks lost
High Explosive Shells -> 11 panther tanks lost
Aircraft Rockets -> 11 panther tanks lost
Aircraft Cannon -> 3 panther tanks lost
Destroyed by crew -> 66 panther tanks lost
Abandoned -> 43 panther tanks lost
Unknown causes -> 24 panther tanks lost

In all 96 were destroyed, disabled or damaged by allies and 133 panther tanks were abandobed and destroyed by the crews or lost to other causes;

During the '44-45' period a german panzer regiment was organized in two tank batalions one equiped with panther tanks and second with mark IV panzer tank so about the loses for panzer mk IV we could approximate same proportions.
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MMM
Posted: May 15, 2009 12:30 pm
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Well, these numbers are impressive - if accurate, however! AFAIK, the Tigers were more vulnerable from air than from the ground.
I know that most losses were due to mechanical failures, fuel insufficiency and such things. Still, what are the "unknown causes" - things on which the researchers weren't sure?
I maintain my oppinion - inthe tank-airplane binome, the most important is the airplane nowadays. Back then, it still had a bigger importance...
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cnflyboy2000
Posted: May 20, 2009 03:05 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ May 15, 2009 05:30 pm)
Well, these numbers are impressive - if accurate, however! AFAIK, the Tigers were more vulnerable from air than from the ground.
I know that most losses were due to mechanical failures, fuel insufficiency and such things. Still, what are the "unknown causes" - things on which the researchers weren't sure?
I maintain my oppinion - inthe tank-airplane binome, the most important is the airplane nowadays. Back then, it still had a bigger importance...
Hypotheticals make interesting discussion.

Here's a really great article in this month's WWII History magazine that speaks to some actuals discussed in this thread. .

http://www.wwiihistorymagazine.com/current...ribbentrop.html

cheers. fb
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MMM
Posted: May 22, 2009 10:05 pm
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Thaks, but the link only points to the beginning of the article. Obviously, I do NOT have access to that magazine! What was the point, however?
Also, what hypothesis do you refer to?
Cheers!
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cnflyboy2000
Posted: May 26, 2009 05:47 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ May 23, 2009 03:05 am)
Thaks, but the link only points to the beginning of the article. Obviously, I do NOT have access to that magazine! What was the point, however?
Also, what hypothesis do you refer to?
Cheers!

I apologize for that post; it's worthless, boring summary of the article, which is unavailable online.

The article itself details the tank battle, and highlights the mismatch. What interested me is that, beyond the tank armaments, the Russian crews were at disadvantage. For example the commander had to both acquire target AND swivel turret to fire....in heat of battle they were a step behind...that's all it took. Also, unbelievably to me, the tanks had NO radios!!!

These maybe as big a reason for kill ratio as other factors.



If you or anyone else wants, I could probably scan the article and post it that way!

cheers,

fb
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MMM
Posted: May 27, 2009 06:51 pm
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Definitely want to read it! As for the radio acking of Soviet tanks, that's a known fact; I'm not sure when they began using radios on tanks if they still hadn't in summer 1943!
Bye!
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cnflyboy2000
Posted: May 29, 2009 11:26 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ May 27, 2009 11:51 pm)
Definitely want to read it! As for the radio acking of Soviet tanks, that's a known fact; I'm not sure when they began using radios on tanks if they still hadn't in summer 1943!
Bye!

O.K., sent you scan of the piece, by email...let me know if you get o.k. (can cc to anyone else who's interested)
cheers!
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