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> Tiger tanks in the relief operation at Stalingrad, did they really take part in the battle?
ANDREAS
Posted: July 20, 2010 06:47 pm
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Hallo to you all,
The Operation Winter Storm (Unternehmen Wintergewitter -in german), Gen. Manstein's forces attempt to relieve the encircled german-romanian-croat-etc. troops from Stalingrad, was a important battle from late 1942, in which even a Tiger heavy tank battalion take part on the german side. Because I can't find a serious and credible source or more details about this heavy tank unit in this battle, I ask for your support.
I quote from a book where I found the most details possible about the Tiger tanks in this operation :
The second unit promised to Rommel, the 503rd, was to receive Porsche-Tigers, but the cancellation of production resulted in the 503rd being outfitted with 20 Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.E and 25 Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.N in November and December 1942, and first saw action in southern Russia, during the Don campaign and the withdrawal from Stalingrad.
Source -Panzertruppen 2: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1943-1945 -- Thomas L Jentz
On the other hand other sources (Sledgehammers: Strengths and Flaws of Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II. --Wilbeck Christopher) mention the Tigers taking part in operations only in january 1943.
To me it was only the intention of the german command to use the Tiger heavy tank units in the Operation Winter Storm, but they arrive too late for it...
What do you know?
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dragos
Posted: July 27, 2010 06:45 pm
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I think it's a common myth that the armored thrust of Kirchner's LVII Panzer Corps was led by a Tiger battalion (present in numerous books about Stalingrad like Anthony Beevor's "Stalingrad", also in Romanian books or in Wikipedia article on Operation Winter Storm).

Examining "Tigers in Combat" by Wolfgang Schneider, all Tiger tank transports for Heeresgruppe Don started after Operation Winter Storm already came to a halt:

- 502 battalion railroad transport started on 27-29 December 1942
- 503 battalion railroad transport started on 21 December 1942

However the Tiger tanks participated in defensive battles around Stalingrad starting after the failure of Winter Storm Operation.
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ANDREAS
Posted: July 27, 2010 09:34 pm
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Thank you, dragos,
Today I also found a information that was just under my nose, to say so, in Manstein memoirs book Lost Victories, where he wrote that :
Hitler hoped that the situation on the front line will turn better with the arrival of the first Tiger battalion. But he was wrong. These heavy tanks first arrived at the front with great delay, only after cessation of any offensive action of the German troops. Secondly, the Tiger tanks had never been battle tested before and presented so many problems that at first, they didn't provide any benefit to the German Army. Hitler had the habit to overestimate the power of the new German weapons... (the chapter on the Battle of Stalingrad)
His opinion... not very clear but an informed one...
Thanks again...
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