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> Battle worth mentioning on this site., Suggestion to mention an historical even
Florin
Posted: March 21, 2012 07:56 pm
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From what I had read before, the quality of armor plates of Tiger I was better than the quality of Tiger II armor plates.
Were the Tigers roaring around Tiger I's or Tiger II's ? Just curious - the shells did not have a better chance against a Tiger II...
For me, the part of the story the least reliable is the following:
QUOTE (luciang @ March 20, 2012 03:26 pm)
..............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 !".
.......................

Not for the information in itself, but for the way it is presented.
I think it is quite difficult to make the distinction between the 75mm and 88 mm tank cannons from a big distance. It was much easier to see if the armor is sloped (Panther) or vertical (Tiger I). The Tigers also had machine guns (this regarding the quote above).
From a big distance, the distinction between Tiger II and Panther was easier by comparing the size of the whole tank, rather than the looks of the tank cannon.
I know, the officer had binoculars, but the usual magnification for hand held optics is 8...10 times.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 21, 2012 09:20 pm
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Radub
Posted: March 21, 2012 08:28 pm
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Actually, it is easy to tell the tanks apart using the cannon. The muzzle brakes were different. Also the barrels were different shapes and lengths.
The line may refer to the fact that the Panther and Tiger 2 shared some hull shapes and a very easy way to tell them apart was by looking at the cannon.
Radu
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luciang
Posted: March 21, 2012 08:49 pm
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I suppose the best thing would be if I could find the time to bring the whole story here, as written in the book. I think it's time to mention that the book's author is mr. Ion Gheorghe Pana, former captain in the 34th Regiment of the 9th Division.

So, I said that the exact number of destroyed german tanks is not mentioned in the book ; but, the beginning of the story goes like this:
"The 75mm battery opens fire first. No tank has been hit...they have slowed down and opened fire with their guns...two 75mm guns are instantly destroyed, but the other two keep firing. The tanks are now at 1000m from the regiment's position "All batteries fire !" and the earth shook while heavy clouds of dust raised over the romanian heavy guns; four red explosions rip the heavy dust fog: four german tanks were burning...a fifth tank bows on its side."
This paragraph is the only one mentioning clearly five german tanks being hit and supposedly destroyed.
Now, I believe we have an independent confirmation that the romanian heavy guns could at least damage a Tiger, from this source:
http://perrya.hubpages.com/hub/Tiger-Tanks...in-Hungary-1944
Quote:"The Tigers of Company Three advanced slowly, each tank spaced 50 meters from the other. One of the tanks received a direct hit from a Rumanian 105mm artillery gun damaging the commander’s tank."

Regarding the fate of the romanian 4th infantry division described above - I suppose this explains why in the book there is only the brief mentioning of the heavy casualties received by one of its battalions and nothing else...
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Florin
Posted: March 21, 2012 09:18 pm
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QUOTE (Radub @ March 21, 2012 03:28 pm)
Actually, it is easy to tell the tanks apart using the cannon. The muzzle brakes were different. Also the barrels were different shapes and lengths.
The line may refer to the fact that the Panther and Tiger 2 shared some hull shapes and a very easy way to tell them apart was by looking at the cannon.
Radu

I learned something today: those Tigers were Tiger II - all of them.
So as the overall appearance was much closer to a Panther, I think you are right regarding the tank cannons.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 21, 2012 09:19 pm
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Florin
Posted: March 22, 2012 12:29 am
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This interesting map
http://reocities.com/motorcity/freeway/7333/Imag/C7szoln.gif
is offered by this website:
http://reocities.com/motorcity/freeway/7333/maps.html
My understanding of the map is that this artillery regiment was completely surrounded for several days.

And in this link there is a long article written by Pat McTaggart for the March 1997 issue of World War II magazine
http://www.historynet.com/desperate-panzer...orld-war-ii.htm
Considering that the article has plenty of information and it is well documented, the total absence of the Romanian Army's actions around Debrecen is not due to ignorance, but due to deliberate omission. Politics of 1997, I would add as personal opinion.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 22, 2012 12:32 am
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Radub
Posted: March 22, 2012 09:06 am
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I doubt that historians ignore Romanian history on purpose. I worked with many "non-Romanian" historians over the years and most of them were surprised to hear about the level of Romanian involvement in WW2. That is simply due to the almost total absence of literature on this subject in anything other than Romanian. Furthermore, Romanian literature on the subject is misleading or poorly written. Stuff written before 1989 does not mention much about the period between the summers of 41 and 44 and what they mention about the period after the summer of 1944 is infected with phrases such as "under the wise leadership of the Communist Party" and how "workers" fought "fascists" or "horthysts". To real historians, that is laughably irrelevant because of the sickeningly obvious bias and thus they tend to ignore it. After 1990 there were a few attempts to write on the subject, and a good example is "Third Axis, Fourth Ally" but the book is still incomplete and hard to find. Denes wrote a few books about the Air Force.
Thankfully, we have enthusiats today who try to fix that, and this website is such an example. Some books about it are emerging slowly.
Hopefully we will have a good non-partisan and complete book (in as many volumes as it takes) about Romanian involvement in WW2. There is no such thing yet.
So, if Romanians do not care enough to write about it, we can hardly blame others for doing exactly the same.
My two cents,
Radu

This post has been edited by Radub on March 22, 2012 09:58 am
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dead-cat
Posted: March 22, 2012 01:38 pm
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QUOTE
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 !

it is quite easy to distinguish a Tiger from a Panther from a distance as they are not similar. if he could tell the diffrence between a 75mm and a 88mm gun through binoculars, he would certainly notice other diffrences, like turret, chasis etc.
Tigers are more easily taken as PzIVs (and viceversa), because the shapes share some similarities.
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Radub
Posted: March 22, 2012 04:25 pm
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QUOTE (dead-cat @ March 22, 2012 01:38 pm)
QUOTE
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 !

it is quite easy to distinguish a Tiger from a Panther from a distance as they are not similar. if he could tell the diffrence between a 75mm and a 88mm gun through binoculars, he would certainly notice other diffrences, like turret, chasis etc.
Tigers are more easily taken as PzIVs (and viceversa), because the shapes share some similarities.

Of course the Panther and the Tiger are very different. It is easy to tell them apart, no need to look at the cannon barel.

But, the Panther and the Tiger II share a number of hull similarities, especially in profile, and in that case it helps to look at the barrel to identify which is which.

But anyway, irrespective of all that, that line does not say anything about any possible confusion whether he was looking at a Tiger (neither I nor II) or a Pather. No Tiger is mentioned at all. It just an observation: "it is a Panther because it has a 75mm cannon" which is 100% correct.

The difference between the cannons is obvious, especially in profile, no need to look at the gauge. The 75mm barrel used on the Panther is smooth from the mantlet to the muzzle brake. The 88 mm cannon used on the Tiger I features two large steps between the mantlet and the muzzle brake. The 88 mm cannon used on the Tiger II features one step between the mantlet and the muzzle brake.

Identification (aircraft, ships, tanks) relies mainly on clear identification of the weapon first. Spotters and scouts were instructed to do that first (and still are today) in order to assess the enemy strength.

Radu

This post has been edited by Radub on March 22, 2012 04:25 pm
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ANDREAS
Posted: March 22, 2012 10:18 pm
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The episode described in the book "Radio Donau..." is confirmed (partially) by the book (written in hungarian) "Pancelosok a Tiszantulon: Az Alfoldi Panceloscsata 1944 Oktobereben" written by Számvéber Norbert, but with some important mentions: the episode (firefight between german tanks and romanian heavy artillery mentioned to be the 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment) takes place in October 19, 1944, after the approx. 50-60 tanks of 24 Armoured Division German (supported by 1st (commander Günter Piepgras) and 3rd (commander von Rosen) Heavy Tank Companies from the 503th HT Battalion, both equipped with Tiger B tanks) cross the resistance of the romanian 4th Infantry Division (which had 6 infantry battalions and a mortar battery fighting on the west coast of the Tisa river, and only 2 infantry battalions, the divisional artillery and the services on the east coast, south of Szolnok) who managed to destroy at least two Tiger B heavy tanks, using anti-aircraft guns, without delay the Germans armor for too long. The Romanian infantry lacking heavy weapons, after trying in vain to escape, surrendered. Although the book do not mention heavy fighting with Romanian Artillerymen, it mentions a successful penetration of a position held by a Romanian heavy artillery unit (part of the 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment), entering in depth defense of the Romanian troops. After this episode, the fate of the Romanian 4th Infantry Division and 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment is not mentioned anymore.
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ANDREAS
Posted: March 22, 2012 11:05 pm
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I found a more ample description of the battle mentioning in more detail the battles of the Romanian 4th Infantry Division Romanian and 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment with the german 24th Panzer Division and the heavy Tiger B of the 503th Battalion in the book (written in english) "Panzerschlacht -Armoured Operations in the Hungarian Plains September-November 1944" -by Perry Moore (page 117), book which quotes as one source the prior mentioned book written in Hungarian. Whether is of interest to someone, I can give quotations from the latter.
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Victor
Posted: March 23, 2012 09:32 am
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QUOTE (Florin @ March 22, 2012 02:29 am)
And in this link there is a long article written by Pat McTaggart for the March 1997 issue of World War II magazine
http://www.historynet.com/desperate-panzer...orld-war-ii.htm
Considering that the article has plenty of information and it is well documented, the total absence of the Romanian Army's actions around Debrecen is not due to ignorance, but due to deliberate omission. Politics of 1997, I would add as personal opinion.

That's a different battle: Debrecen. Also, Romanian involvement in it wasn't that big scale. The Tudor Vladimirescu Volunteer Division fought there, but that wasn't a Romanian division. It was a Red Army division at the time. The 3rd Mountain Division was partially involved, as was the 2nd Mountain Division, but not in the middle of the action. It was mostly a Soviet show.
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dead-cat
Posted: March 23, 2012 10:18 am
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QUOTE
But, the Panther and the Tiger II share a number of hull similarities, especially in profile, and in that case it helps to look at the barrel to identify which is which.

in low visibility environment someone untrained might mix them up. but if someone claims to identify the caliber, then it'd be hard not to notice the difference when it comes to the turret for example.
QUOTE
It just an observation: "it is a Panther because it has a 75mm cannon" which is 100% correct

it might have been a Panzer IV from that caliber, which was a far more common occurance than a Panther.
QUOTE
Identification (aircraft, ships, tanks) relies mainly on clear identification of the weapon first

i doubt that. every submarine had a booklet with the shapes of all ship classes (+ dimensions) for identification.
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Radub
Posted: March 23, 2012 11:05 am
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There is no possible way to confuse a Panzer IV with a Pather. Not a chance! Especially not by a guy who can identify the caliber of a tank cannon.

I have no idea why this issue is causing so much debate.
The man said "This is a Panther because it has a 75mm cannon". That is an accurate statement. Today is Friday. What is the problem? Why all this hair splitting?

Dead-Cat, I have identification books that rely on "silhouette" and "weapons". One is a wartime publication, some are modern. Silhouette identifies class and weapons identify the type. There are plenty of websites dedicated to "silhouette identfication". They even use that for birdwatching.

All armed forces relied on field manuals featuring silhouettes for identification.
Do you have some time? Have a look here: http://wardepartment.wordpress.com/field-manuals/
I am quite certain that the Germans have similar books.
I am also quite certain that Romanians did too.
In Britain the Royal Observers Corp issued a number of similar publications.

HTH
Radu
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luciang
Posted: March 23, 2012 07:55 pm
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After checking again in the book I realize that I made a mistake in my first post: the battle took place on the 19th of October, not on the 18th. I was tricked by the literary style in which the book is written; the story begins on the 18th of October with the avalanche of messages received from the regiment's scouts about incoming tanks and then goes on till the end of next day, the 19th; it was on the 19th between 6:00 AM till 15:30 when the battle is described as taking place.

So, it looks like the "Radio Donau..." book is in line with the sources mentioned by Andreas.

Regarding that:
QUOTE
ANDREAS 
Posted: March 22, 2012 10:18 pm
"...Although the book do not mention heavy fighting with Romanian Artillerymen, it mentions a successful penetration of a position held by a Romanian heavy artillery unit (part of the 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment), entering in depth defense of the Romanian troops."


I would speculate that in fact, the whole point made in the book is that it took the powerful ennemy one day to get past the initial positions of what were, after all, only slow moving heavy guns out of which not even one was destroyed ; according to the story, this was due to several factors:
- at the time of the engagement the ennemy was not aware that there was only the 1st Regiment left in front of him ;
- the Romanian commander wisely alternated barrage firing with direct aim firing which confused the ennemy ;
- the heavy guns have constantly moved back to seven succesive retreat positions ("pozitii de repliere"). The retreat moves are described as being made half of the guns at a time (12 guns kept firing while 12 guns were retreating to a new position) ;
- the very good radio equipments of the regiment allowed the commander to have at all times everything moving according to his orders ;
- the dusty conditions in the Hungarian plain at that time helped covering the movements of the Romanian regiment ;
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ANDREAS
Posted: March 24, 2012 07:49 pm
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On the 19th [October], Thursday, the German counterattack continued at 05.00 with a brief artillery barrage and tanks of the 24th Panzer Division crossing the Szolnok railway bridge. The 3rd Battalion /24th Panzer Regiment with PzKpfw IV Ausf.J tanks and StuG III Ausf.G assault guns, 24th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion with Sd.Kfz. 250 armoured halftracks and 26th Panzer Grenadier Regiment all rumbled forward. The 3rd Panzer Battalion now contained 45-50 operational tanks and assault guns, in equal numbers. Behind this unit came the 503th Heavy Tank Battalion's 3rd Company with 11 Tiger B tanks. Following further was the 1st Company of the same Battalion. The 24th Panzer Division assaulted the Romanian 4th Infantry Division, which was overwhelmed by this attack. [...] Some Romanian units did oppose the German armour with numerous types of AA Guns, damaging few tanks. However the Tiger B tanks simply ran over and destroyed most of the Romanian 1st Heavy Gun Regiment and the breach opened the way for German troops to advance trough. The advance continued for 20 km., the 3rd Company /503th Battalion advanced to the Szolnok -Mezotur railway line. [...] The Hungarian 20th Reserve Infantry Division attacked with the 4th Panzer Corps, its two regiments advanced to the Szolnok railway line, where Romanians continued to surrender or retreat eastwards. The Romanians had so far lost 179 officers, 272 NCOs and 4680 enlisted men during the German attack, either as POW or killed. They had lost 23 artillery guns, 79 LMGs, 82 MGs, 20 AA Guns. - from the same book mentioned above.
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