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All in the Mind? The psychological effect of Tiger Tanks and 88’s

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  • All in the Mind? The psychological effect of Tiger Tanks and 88’s

    All in the Mind? The psychological effect of Tiger Tanks and 88’s

    I’m interested in the way mass psychology, ‘mindsets’, fears and syndromes work in various ways and (you guessed it!) am trying to re-develop (from yellowing 1970’s notes and scribbled jottings - no laptops back then folks) a tutorial thematic on examples of the above phenomenon in modern era (1455 – present-day) armies (and if an army isn’t a ‘mass’, then what the heck is it?).

    I thought a good example from WWII might be the way the German Tiger tank (Pzkw VI) and 88mm Anti-aircraft/anti-tank gun established such fearsome, almost legendary reputations amongst allied armies.

    I’m wondering whether posters think the standing of the Tiger and ‘88’ as ‘killer’ super-weapons was based on the reality that they were both simply very good at what they did for their day OR if their status may have been more a product of simple word-of-mouth rumour-spreading and panicking scaremongering (too strong a word?).

    Quite a few writers in the military field have been suggesting over the years that they were ‘overrated’.
    This of course begs the question: compared to what?
    They’ve also pointed out and I think probably exaggerated certain problems and deficiencies the weapons had.
    For example: the Tiger was supposedly too slow and cumbersome, had complicated suspension and road-wheel system, engines requiring high maintenance and there was confusion and uncertainty regarding role etc.
    Or that the 88 was too high to be easily concealed an important factor for the anti-tank role.

    I’m sure the weapons have been discussed before on the forum but I’m mainly interested in the effect of their ‘reps’ and how allied actions may have been effected by the fear that Tigers or 88’s were ‘around’.

    Regards
    lodestar

  • #2
    In my 'umble opinion, the fact that both us and Ivan had to winkle the bastrards out of their lairs, to kill 'em had something to do with it. All adolf's big cats could be made to suffer when they came out of the jungle to hunt. Most famous example being Wittmann's mob getting caught in Joe Ekins' tiger pit at Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil.

    The long toll of the brave
    Is not lost in darkness
    Over the fruitful earth
    And athwart the seas
    Hath passed the light of noble deeds
    Unquenchable forever.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes I know the whole thing together or apart has been done too many times. I personally had little to do with tanks of any country or breed BUT I did strike up an unwanted association with 88s and it was not the gun itself but the accuracy of the missile it was flinging at you!! For I am convinced that it was the finely trained German gun crews that were mainly responsible. lcm1
      'By Horse by Tram'.


      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
        Yes I know the whole thing together or apart has been done too many times. I personally had little to do with tanks of any country or breed BUT I did strike up an unwanted association with 88s and it was not the gun itself but the accuracy of the missile it was flinging at you!! For I am convinced that it was the finely trained German gun crews that were mainly responsible. lcm1
        Yes, if there’s one factor which the Western allies always recognised about the way the Germans fought in 1943-45, it was how they were so often able to get the absolute most of what little they had.

        Not just their small arms but anti-tank guns like the 88, mines, support artillery, and of course AFV’s like the Tiger.

        This coupled with their generally high levels of training and proficiency and that overall excellent unit cohesion under sometimes tremendous pressure made them formidable opponents.

        My father said that his father who fought them for four years in the trenchs 1914-18 including Verdun had always said of the Germans that they were ‘hard to shift’ when defending and ‘hard to stop’ when attacking’.

        Same could be said about them in WWII.

        But back to the 88:
        Ian Hogg the noted artillery writer said of its use in Normandy in issue 2 (May 1974) of the old ‘War Monthly’ magazine;
        By this time, too, the 88 was a standard tank gun. Its threat was greater than it had been as an anti-tank gun - now, the 88 could come looking for you.
        But by this time also the Allies were in a better position; their tank armor was thicker – though not enough to survive a short-range encounter with an 88. And their tank and anti-tank guns were of equal greater power.”
        He also notes:

        “In summary the potency of the 88 was that it was present in reasonable numbers, when it was needed. ‘They’ had them, ‘we’ didn’t. And anything an enemy has which makes life unpleasant for you tends to earn a larger-than-life reputation.”

        lodestar was neither liked nor trusted. Not by those who raised him, those he grew up with and went to school with, those he worked with and associated with as an adult, nor those who know him now.
        One woman told him she felt uneasy around him because: 'Your eyes are the colour of dirty coins.'


        Regards lodestar

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lodestar View Post

          Yes, if there’s one factor which the Western allies always recognised about the way the Germans fought in 1943-45, it was how they were so often able to get the absolute most of what little they had.

          Not just their small arms but anti-tank guns like the 88, mines, support artillery, and of course AFV’s like the Tiger.

          This coupled with their generally high levels of training and proficiency and that overall excellent unit cohesion under sometimes tremendous pressure made them formidable opponents.

          My father said that his father who fought them for four years in the trenchs 1914-18 including Verdun had always said of the Germans that they were ‘hard to shift’ when defending and ‘hard to stop’ when attacking’.

          Same could be said about them in WWII.

          But back to the 88:
          Ian Hogg the noted artillery writer said of its use in Normandy in issue 2 (May 1974) of the old ‘War Monthly’ magazine;
          By this time, too, the 88 was a standard tank gun. Its threat was greater than it had been as an anti-tank gun - now, the 88 could come looking for you.
          But by this time also the Allies were in a better position; their tank armor was thicker – though not enough to survive a short-range encounter with an 88. And their tank and anti-tank guns were of equal greater power.”
          He also notes:

          “In summary the potency of the 88 was that it was present in reasonable numbers, when it was needed. ‘They’ had them, ‘we’ didn’t. And anything an enemy has which makes life unpleasant for you tends to earn a larger-than-life reputation.”

          lodestar was neither liked nor trusted. Not by those who raised him, those he grew up with and went to school with, those he worked with and associated with as an adult, nor those who know him now.
          One woman told him she felt uneasy around him because: 'Your eyes are the colour of dirty coins.'


          Regards lodestar
          Larger than life?? it's easy to dismiss it as such now that you are never likely to suffer the arrival of the unwanted guest. lcm1
          'By Horse by Tram'.


          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Certainly had an effect 'in my mind' when I first saw one of the bleedin' things!
            Like all of us (present company excepted RSM!) I knew it all from books, till I saw it... much, much 'larger than life'. Bovvy Tank Museum, spring 1975. On a massive rack were displayed tank guns ranging from the 2pdr., which you could just about carry, a 6pdr. that looked summat like, to a 17pdr. which ticked all the boxes as to what I'd imagined a tank killing gun to look like.
            As I edged in to get a closer look I stumbled over something big, and cursed the idiot who'd left a fing great telegraph pole, laying about on the floor... said telegraph pole, on closer inspection, was an 88mm Tiger tank gun.
            Trust me on this... it's not all in the mind!
            The long toll of the brave
            Is not lost in darkness
            Over the fruitful earth
            And athwart the seas
            Hath passed the light of noble deeds
            Unquenchable forever.

            Comment


            • #7
              There were two principle types of 88s used for anti tank work, the original l56 that was used an an AA gun and was fitted to the Tiger Is and the longer L71 that was in the Tiger 2s.
              Last edited by Surrey; 20 Aug 18, 09:07. Reason: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_KwK_43#/media/File:Tiger_II_mg_7800.jpg
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

              Comment


              • #8
                To me it's a similar effect to the bayonet;

                A psychological weapon that got that way by having real effects.

                The Tiger was a superb tank by anyone's standards, more than capable of turning any opponent to blazing scrap, and the 88mm's fearsome reputation was also thoroughly deserved.

                What got me was that Allied troops could still find the courage to face and defeat them, while I'd probably be burying myself in a pile of sh!te to avoid capture (believe me, it'd be there).

                LCM1 has hit the nail on the head, we're lucky that we'll probably never have to face such things, and I have nothing but the deepest respect for those who did.
                Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by the ace View Post
                  What got me was that Allied troops could still find the courage to face and defeat them, while I'd probably be burying myself in a pile of sh!te to avoid capture (believe me, it'd be there).

                  LCM1 has hit the nail on the head, we're lucky that we'll probably never have to face such things, and I have nothing but the deepest respect for those who did.
                  Yes granted.

                  However I think we should also appreciate how well the 88 and Tiger tank crews fought.
                  Especially in the West, so late in the war against overwhelmingly superior numbers of allied tanks and other resources, total allied air supremacy and a hopeless overall situation.

                  Perspective guys and gals, with a lodestar topic it's nearly always about perspective.


                  My wife knows full well how lucky she is ....wedded for 35 years to a cosmic entity.
                  On occasion she has looked away from me shielding her eyes and saying "Forgive me Highness, one can only look at the son of the sunne for so long before one begins to be blinded by your brilliance. I must rest mine eyes".


                  Regards lodestar



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lodestar View Post

                    Yes granted.

                    However I think we should also appreciate how well the 88 and Tiger tank crews fought.
                    Especially in the West, so late in the war against overwhelmingly superior numbers of allied tanks and other resources, total allied air supremacy and a hopeless overall situation.

                    Perspective guys and gals, with a lodestar topic it's nearly always about perspective.




                    Regards lodestar


                    Considering it took the Western Allies AND the Soviet Union 6 years to beat them, I think we can take that as read.
                    Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                      TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                      Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        While I'm at it ....
                        Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.
                        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
                        Bock's First Law of History: The Past shapes the Present, which forms the Future. *

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
                          While I'm at it ....
                          Which one's Willy, which one's Joe?
                          Great stuff!

                          Have you really done 17000 + posts in eleven years? That's amazing.
                          I've only managed 2770 in fourteen years.

                          lodestar handy hint:
                          DISAPPOINT wasps this summer by smearing cold tea on your ears instead of honey

                          Regards lodestar

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The "Tiger Tank" from the allied POV was in reality the Panzer IV and the Panther.

                            In "Tigers in Normandy", effectively there was only up to one tank battalion of Tigers operational on the Western Front (there were 3 x Tiger battalions deployed there with understrength operational numbers). The Germans deployed the Tigers mainly in the East.
                            Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                            Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                            Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                            Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                              The "Tiger Tank" from the allied POV was in reality the Panzer IV and the Panther.

                              In "Tigers in Normandy", effectively there was only up to one tank battalion of Tigers operational on the Western Front (there were 3 x Tiger battalions deployed there with understrength operational numbers). The Germans deployed the Tigers mainly in the East.

                              Considering all the Tigers were deployed on the British/Canadian front in Normandy, density there was often better than 1 Tiger per mile of front.
                              The battalions were understrength because they kept getting hit by the Allies.

                              Comment

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