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> Battle worth mentioning on this site., Suggestion to mention an historical even
luciang
Posted: March 18, 2012 07:12 pm
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Hello,
I am a regular visitor of your site, which I consider very interesting.
A recent post in the "western front" forum reminded me of this book that I
have in my library - "Radio Donau nu mai transmite". In this book there is a
story about what I believe it's a remarkable battle which is worth mentioning
on this site, perhaps as an example why the romanian heavy artillery regiments
were considered to be elite units.
As described in the book, on the 18th of October 1944, in the Szolnok area, in
Hungary, the Romanian 1st heavy artillery regiment was engaged in a battle with
60-80 german Tiger and Panther tanks; the artillery regiment had no infantry support
so the battle was an unusual tanks versus heavy guns direct engagement.
Due to the skillful maneouvering of the romanian regiment, the german advance was
considerably delayed, and eventually only two romanian guns have been lost. The
exact number of destroyed german tanks is not mentioned in the book.
Other details, as written in the above mentioned book:
- the romanian commander was colonel Alexandru Dobriceanu ;
- the romanian regiment had 24 heavy guns and howitzers, 105 mm and 150 mm
respectively (I suppose these were Schneider guns and Skoda howitzers);
- it was reinforced before the battle with four 75mm AA guns - out of
which two were destroyed by the ennemy, as mentioned above ;
- the german side had 60 - 80 Tiger and Panther tanks, which were part of the 4th
tank army ;
- the battle lasted for about 10 hours, starting at 6 AM on the 18th of October ;
- the action took place in a rectangular area of 25-30 km by 8-12 km ;

Perhaps additional details could be added by someone else, in order to get a
complete account of this battle.

All the best,
Lucian
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Victor
Posted: March 18, 2012 08:19 pm
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Numbers and types of German tanks given in Communist popular literature should be taken with a grain of salt. They trying to build an image of a German Army in which even the water for the troops was carried by Tiger tanks.
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Florin
Posted: March 19, 2012 02:54 am
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QUOTE (Victor @ March 18, 2012 03:19 pm)
Numbers and types of German tanks given in Communist popular literature should be taken with a grain of salt. They trying to build an image of a German Army in which even the water for the troops was carried by Tiger tanks.

This habit with "Tigers everywhere" is not proprietary to the Socialist Romanian publications.
Only 1,347 Tiger I, 492 Tiger II and (about) 80 Jagdtiger were made, covering almost 3 years over thousands and thousands of kilometers of frontlines, but in the Soviet and Western movies, articles and publications you could feel "Tigers everywhere". ;)
From
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I
the maximum number of Tiger I available to the German Army at a given moment was on 1 July 1944 - 671 pieces. The peak of production was in April 1944 - 104 in that month.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 19, 2012 03:25 am
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dragos
Posted: March 19, 2012 07:17 am
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From "Tigers in combat" - Wolfgang Schneider:

18 October 1944: Attachment to the 24.Panzer Division, transport to Szolnok and assembly for the offensive out of the Theiss (Tisza) Bridgehead. Only the tanks of the 1./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 arrive (in Abony) and 10 of the 3./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 (in Cegled).

http://books.google.ro/books?id=WR1p0GXMrN...20tiger&f=false

That makes a grand total of 24 Tiger tanks.
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Victor
Posted: March 19, 2012 08:37 am
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What I was trying to add yesterday, but couldn't due to some computer problems, is that the site is an ongoing work, which lately due to lack of available time is lagging behind. It is not finished, just that it may take a while to finish the Operations series, which is the central piece of the site.

Furthermore, there is no indication of all the Tigers being committed to the front line in only one place. Usually Tigers tended to be spread up on a wider front, especially in 1944 when there weren't that many around to work with. Against one heavy artillery regiment, 24 Tigers would be an overkill.
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Florin
Posted: March 20, 2012 05:33 pm
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QUOTE (luciang @ March 18, 2012 02:12 pm)
....................- the german side had 60 - 80 Tiger and Panther tanks, which were part of the 4th
tank army ;
............................

* * *
QUOTE (Dragos)
....................That makes a grand total of 24 Tiger tanks. 

So, "60 - 80 Tiger AND Panther tanks" could be close enough to reality, if Panther tanks are considered in total. Actually, after Dragos posted the update with 24 Tiger tanks, I realized that the attacking force was quite powerful, so the Socialist Romanian legend had a big core of truth.
In the message starting the topic there is no mentioning regarding German losses:
QUOTE (luciang @ March 18, 2012 02:12 pm)
....................The exact number of destroyed german tanks is not mentioned in the book.............................

In theory, both 105mm and 150mm calibers could knock out a Tiger I. Meanwhile the Tiger's 88 could kill any artilery piece - if it was able to identify it.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 20, 2012 06:19 pm
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Victor
Posted: March 20, 2012 08:21 pm
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QUOTE (Florin @ March 20, 2012 07:33 pm)
In theory, both 105mm and 150mm calibers could knock out a Tiger I. Meanwhile the Tiger's 88 could kill any artilery piece - if it was able to identify it.

Not really, when firing HE ammo. There was no AP ammo for the heavy artillery.
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luciang
Posted: March 20, 2012 08:26 pm
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I agree that a certain amount of propaganda was necessary for the book to be published anyway in those days. But, indeed, to be fair, the story doesn't say that most of the german tanks were Tigers ; actually the report of a romanian scout officer is quoted as stating "around 15-20 tanks appeared at the southern edge of the city...I see their guns through binoculars: they are 75mm in caliber; they also have machine-guns. These are Panthers !".
Also, the story is not so triumphal - it describes that before attacking the heavy guns regiment, the german tanks inflicted very heavy casualties to a romanian battalion which was part of the 4th infantry division and was positioned near the Kisanda village ; after this action the german tanks turned toward Rakoczifalva and the engagement with the romanian 1st regiment actually started.
So I would say that there are elements of truth in the story.
There is also a short interview with the romanian commander - taken in the 70s - who confesseses that for two days he kept shivering after he received confirmation from the Romanian Army Corp that he was engaged by no less than 60 tanks, part of two ennemy divisions ; in the interview he considers that the very good radio equipments which his regiment had at that time - "G radio apparatus" - was one of the most important factors which explains the survival of the regiment.
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Florin
Posted: March 20, 2012 09:17 pm
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QUOTE (Victor @ March 20, 2012 03:21 pm)
QUOTE (Florin @ March 20, 2012 07:33 pm)
In theory, both 105mm and 150mm calibers could knock out a Tiger I. Meanwhile the Tiger's 88 could kill any artilery piece - if it was able to identify it.

Not really, when firing HE ammo. There was no AP ammo for the heavy artillery.

This is an interesting matter for a professional historian to take a closer look.
If all ammunition available to the artillery regiment was not good against armor, no tanks would be destroyed by canon fire. If no tanks would be destroyed by artillery, nothing would stop the attack columns to reach and overrun the positions of the artillery regiment.
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Florin
Posted: March 20, 2012 09:24 pm
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QUOTE (luciang @ March 20, 2012 03:26 pm)
..................There is also a short interview with the romanian commander - taken in the 70s - ...............; in the interview he considers that the very good radio equipments which his regiment had at that time - "G radio apparatus" - was one of the most important factors which explains the survival of the regiment.

I am assuming the "G radio apparatus" was actually a piece from series "FuG", standing for Funkgerät / Luftwaffe radio equipment.
Much more about this subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luftwaffe_rad...of_World_War_II
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Radub
Posted: March 20, 2012 10:01 pm
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QUOTE (luciang @ March 20, 2012 08:26 pm)
in the interview he considers that the very good radio equipments which his regiment had at that time - "G radio apparatus" - was one of the most important factors which explains the survival of the regiment.

The "G radio apparatus" may refer to the G-Gerät or G-Zusatz radio teletype encription machine, which was the common name for the Lorenz Schüssezusatz GZ40/42 used by the German Army.
Hth
Radu

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dragos
Posted: March 21, 2012 06:35 am
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QUOTE (Victor @ March 20, 2012 10:21 pm)
QUOTE (Florin @ March 20, 2012 07:33 pm)
In theory, both 105mm and 150mm calibers could knock out a Tiger I. Meanwhile the Tiger's 88 could kill any artilery piece - if it was able to identify it.

Not really, when firing HE ammo. There was no AP ammo for the heavy artillery.

A direct hit by a high calibre HE shell is not required to penetrate in order to injure or kill the tank crew. And a hit by a 150mm could completely blow off the turret of a Tiger. See the ISU-152 which was an effective tank destroyer.
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Victor
Posted: March 21, 2012 07:49 am
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QUOTE (dragos @ March 21, 2012 08:35 am)
A direct hit by a high calibre HE shell is not required to penetrate in order to injure or kill the tank crew. And a hit by a 150mm could completely blow off the turret of a Tiger. See the ISU-152 which was an effective tank destroyer.

The SU-152 was an effective tank destroyer because it could fire as well AP rounds. I wouldn't be so sure about the HE ammo though. During Op. Uranus there were instances when Romanian divisional artillery fired at point blank range at approaching T-34s without much effect. Furthermore, direct hits on a tank from a 150 mm howitzer are highly unlikely. The only way the heavy artillery could counter a tank attack is to fire a strong barrage at the advancing enemy in the hope of them breaking up under the pressure or knocking off the tracks on the tanks.

Lucian, I am not saying that the story isn't true, just that some the tank numbers and types may be exaggerated. After all, the 4th Infantry Division was lost almost entirely in that battle and its CO, gen. Platon Chirnoaga, became after several months the Minister of Defence in Horia Sima's "government" in Vienna.
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Radub
Posted: March 21, 2012 08:51 am
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Piercing the armour is essential if you want to kill the crew inside.
As Victor said, HE round can still cause a lot of damage to the external non-armoured parts such as the running gear, or the sighting/optical devices turning the tank into a useless pile of metal. But, one must consider the concussive effect of a 105mm HE round, even if it does not penetrate.
HTH
Radu

This post has been edited by Radub on March 21, 2012 08:52 am
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dragos
Posted: March 21, 2012 10:31 am
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I was thinking of the effect of spalling, even more accentuated by the low quality of armor used by Tigers due to late war shortage of materials.

There are accounts of Romanian artillerymen aiming the howitzers for direct fire against tanks. Example: p.91 from Veteranii pe drumul onoarei si jertfei - "De la Stalingrad la batalia Moldovei" - aiming the 100mm howitzer at the base of a T-34 turret with delayed fuse, so that the HE substance would cover the armor then it will be ignited, engulfing the tank in flames.
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