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

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  • #31
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post

    There weren't enough M7/ Priest SPGs to go around at first. Later your scenario would be more likely
    Self propelled artillery can get into action quicker than towed. But a well trained towed artillery battery can get into action quickly. It is one of the most basic skills for an artillery battery.

    An attacking task force will generally have a dedicated artillery battalion supporting it. With three batteries, the battalion can have two batteries ready to fire and one moving to keep up with the advance.

    In addition to artillery, accompanying mortars can bring a huge amount of firepower to bear.
    Last edited by 17thfabn; 08 Oct 18, 10:52.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
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    • #32
      Interesting to see this topic 'Break surface' again. I know it is aggravating to some, but study the German 88 battalions, given a fair 'crack of the whip' they were unbelievable in the speed that they moved and set up ready for action, following this their rate of fire was, to put it mildly Impressive! lcm1
      'By Horse by Tram'.


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

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
        Concerning Tigers, I spoke to David Fletcher, one time curator and librarian at the Bovington Tank Museum, and he stated that while the British tank crews DID think German tanks were better, "they simply got on with it." There was never any mention of Tigers preventing Allied tank crews from doing their job.
        German tanks were actually better in certain parameters such as firepower, and frequently as regards armour. Where they were lacking was in areas that Allied tank crews were unlikely to be aware of e.g. durability, maintenance etc. But you know all this, of course.

        I think the Tiger was better as a psychological weapon than as an actual weapon, although I do sometimes wonder if the German "super weapon" complex had the unintended effect of encouraging the Allies to get the war over and done with as soon as possible.

        "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
        - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Don Juan View Post

          German tanks were actually better in certain parameters such as firepower, and frequently as regards armour. Where they were lacking was in areas that Allied tank crews were unlikely to be aware of e.g. durability, maintenance etc. But you know all this, of course.

          I think the Tiger was better as a psychological weapon than as an actual weapon, although I do sometimes wonder if the German "super weapon" complex had the unintended effect of encouraging the Allies to get the war over and done with as soon as possible.
          I need to upload picture of the German tanks at the Saumur tank museum. Natural instinct usually states bigger is better, or at least more dangerous. The Cats were far bigger than allied tanks, and it shows when you place one against another. You can certainly imagine the Ally tankers thinking the German tanks were superior as a result.
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          • #35
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

            I need to upload picture of the German tanks at the Saumur tank museum. Natural instinct usually states bigger is better, or at least more dangerous. The Cats were far bigger than allied tanks, and it shows when you place one against another. You can certainly imagine the Ally tankers thinking the German tanks were superior as a result.
            Nick, I understand that the German Panther, Tiger 1 and 2 tanks encountered by the allies in France, were all larger then the various tanks the Allies were using. However, I am not of the opinion that the German tanks, although intimidating and in some instances when a Tigers 88 would obliterate a Sherman with a shot through the turret or hull, made for some "holy crap" talk among the Allied tank crews, did not create a wave of terror that permeated like a disease among Allied armored battalions preventing them from carrying out their missions.

            Use of towed AT guns and artillery, as well as self propelled artillery with AP rounds, and complete Allied air superiority, gave the Allied tankers a morality boost that only heightened as they broke out of the Normandy beach head and into central France.
            The artillery/AT batteries tactical excellence, air domination, combined with the mechanical problems of the cats, which kept many of them from making a difference, led to the breakout and the German nightmare at Falaise.

            In short, IMHO, the big cats were like a speed bump in the Allied advance through France. And I do not believe they struck fear into the allied tankers on a wave of panic level, enveloping like a black cloud over Allied armored Divisions. Of course there were many instances where Allied tank crews saw the destruction these big cats could do to their tanks but these instances, which were the exception and not the rule, had little impact on the armored clashes in France. The battle of Arracourt is a prime example of this.

            http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Arracourt


            Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

              Nick, I understand that the German Panther, Tiger 1 and 2 tanks encountered by the allies in France, were all larger then the various tanks the Allies were using. However, I am not of the opinion that the German tanks, although intimidating and in some instances when a Tigers 88 would obliterate a Sherman with a shot through the turret or hull, made for some "holy crap" talk among the Allied tank crews, did not create a wave of terror that permeated like a disease among Allied armored battalions preventing them from carrying out their missions.

              Use of towed AT guns and artillery, as well as self propelled artillery with AP rounds, and complete Allied air superiority, gave the Allied tankers a morality boost that only heightened as they broke out of the Normandy beach head and into central France.
              The artillery/AT batteries tactical excellence, air domination, combined with the mechanical problems of the cats, which kept many of them from making a difference, led to the breakout and the German nightmare at Falaise.

              In short, IMHO, the big cats were like a speed bump in the Allied advance through France. And I do not believe they struck fear into the allied tankers on a wave of panic level, enveloping like a black cloud over Allied armored Divisions. Of course there were many instances where Allied tank crews saw the destruction these big cats could do to their tanks but these instances, which were the exception and not the rule, had little impact on the armored clashes in France. The battle of Arracourt is a prime example of this.

              http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Arracourt

              Very good post, this.

              "Looting would not be tolerated within the Division, unless organised with the knowledge of C.O.'s on a unit basis."
              - 15/19 Hussars War Diary, 18th March 1945

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

                Nick, I understand that the German Panther, Tiger 1 and 2 tanks encountered by the allies in France, were all larger then the various tanks the Allies were using. However, I am not of the opinion that the German tanks, although intimidating and in some instances when a Tigers 88 would obliterate a Sherman with a shot through the turret or hull, made for some "holy crap" talk among the Allied tank crews, did not create a wave of terror that permeated like a disease among Allied armored battalions preventing them from carrying out their missions.

                Use of towed AT guns and artillery, as well as self propelled artillery with AP rounds, and complete Allied air superiority, gave the Allied tankers a morality boost that only heightened as they broke out of the Normandy beach head and into central France.
                The artillery/AT batteries tactical excellence, air domination, combined with the mechanical problems of the cats, which kept many of them from making a difference, led to the breakout and the German nightmare at Falaise.

                In short, IMHO, the big cats were like a speed bump in the Allied advance through France. And I do not believe they struck fear into the allied tankers on a wave of panic level, enveloping like a black cloud over Allied armored Divisions. Of course there were many instances where Allied tank crews saw the destruction these big cats could do to their tanks but these instances, which were the exception and not the rule, had little impact on the armored clashes in France. The battle of Arracourt is a prime example of this.

                http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Arracourt

                In 1940 all German tanks were out gunned and out armoured by the French Char B. At Stonne a single Char B eliminated thirteen German tanks (two of which were IVs) and two AT guns ( Karl-Heinz Frieser, The Blitzkrieg Legend, Naval Institute Press. Annapolis, Maryland, Chp The fighting for Stonne para 1). This does not appear to have created a mood of panic and doom amongst German tank crews in the Battle of France. They evolved tactics for dealing with the badly deployed French tanks - as did the Allies with the the Tigers in 1944.

                In 1978 I had a discussion (in Hanau of all places) over a stein or four with a gentleman who had commanded a Sherman in 1944/45 against the Germans (and also one against the Egyptians in 1956 but that's another story) He said that getting hit by a Tiger was regarded much the same as being hit by German heavy artillery or running onto an unswept AT mine - bloody bad luck but something you couldn't do much about and relatively unlikely because there weren't that many around undealt with by other measures..
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                  Self propelled artillery can get into action quicker than towed. But a well trained towed artillery battery can get into action quickly. It is one of the most basic skills for an artillery battery.

                  An attacking task force will generally have a dedicated artillery battalion supporting it. With three batteries, the battalion can have two batteries ready to fire and one moving to keep up with the advance.

                  In addition to artillery, accompanying mortars can bring a huge amount of firepower to bear.
                  About that M7 - Priest, Wiki;
                  ...
                  The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and the contemporary Deacon self-propelled guns.

                  History

                  U.S. Army observers realized that they would need a self-propelled artillery vehicle with sufficient firepower to support armored operations. Lessons learned with half-tracks (such as the T19 Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) with a 105mm howitzer on the M3 Half-track chassis) also showed that this vehicle would have to be armored and fully tracked. It was decided to use the M3 Lee chassis as the basis for this new vehicle design, named T32.[3] The pilot vehicles used the M3 chassis with an open-topped superstructure, mounting an M1A2 105 mm howitzer, with a machine-gun added after trials. The T32 was accepted for service as the M7 in February 1942 and production began that April. The British Tank Mission had requested 2,500 to be delivered by the end of 1942 and a further 3,000 by the end of 1943, an order which was never fully completed.[4][5]

                  As the M4 Sherman tank replaced the M3, it was decided to continue production using the M4 chassis (the M4 chassis was a development of the M3). The M7 was subsequently supplanted by the M37 HMC (on the "Light Combat Team" chassis that also gave the M24 Chaffee light tank).[5] While the first M7s were produced for the U.S. Army, some were diverted to support the British in North Africa. Ninety M7s were sent to the Eighth Army in North Africa, which was also the first to use it, during the Second Battle of El Alamein, along with the Bishop, a self-propelled gun based on the 87.6 mm calibre Ordnance QF 25-pounder gun-howitzer.[6]

                  The British had logistical problems with the M7, as it used U.S. ammunition that was not compatible with other British guns and had to be supplied separately.[6] The problem was resolved in 1943 with the Sexton, developed by the Canadians on an M3 chassis, using the standard British QF 25-pounder.[3] The British used the M7 throughout the North African and Italian campaigns. The 3rd and 50th British, and 3rd Canadian divisions that landed on Sword, Juno and Gold beaches at the start of the Allied invasion of Normandy had their artillery regiments equipped with the M7; these were replaced by the standard towed 25-pounder guns of the infantry in early August.[7][8] The M7 was also used in Burma and played a significant part in the Battle of Meiktila and the advance on Rangoon in 1945. After the Sexton appeared, most British M7s were converted into "Kangaroo" armored personnel carriers.

                  During the Battle of the Bulge, each U.S. armored division had three battalions of M7s, giving them unparalleled mobile artillery support.[9] A total of 3,489 M7s and 826 M7B1s were built. They proved to be reliable weapons, continuing to see service in the U.S. and allied armies well past World War II.[1][10]

                  Korean War

                  M7 Priests remained in use during the Korean War, where their flexibility, compared to towed artillery units, led the U.S. Army on the path to converting fully to self-propelled howitzers.[11] The limited gun elevation of the M7 (35 degrees) hampered its ability to shoot over the tall Korean mountains, so 127 M7B1s were modified to permit the full 65 degrees elevation in a model known as the M7B2. After the Korean war, many of these were exported to NATO countries, notably Italy and Germany.[12]

                  Israeli M7 Priests

                  Israel acquired a number of M7 Priests during the 1960s and employed them in the Six-Day War, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. In the latter conflict, three M7 units, the 822nd, 827th and 829th Battalions in the IDF Northern Command, supported the occupation of the Golan Heights.[13]

                  ...
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M7_Priest

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                  • #39
                    Considering that the Soviets also suffered "Tiger Fever" as well as western Allied crews, I would have to say that it was a genuine phenomenon present on every battlefield where these monsters served.

                    It even rears its ugly head in wargaming. Avalon Hill's solo game "Patton's Best" features a very nice "Tiger Fever" rule, where if your tank is fired at from something you cannot identify, it performs just like a Tiger until you can positively identify exactly what you are up against. Pretty scary stuff.

                    A recent war picture ("Fury") featured Tiger Fever in their engagement with one of the behemoths. It's the only time that "War Daddy's" crew actually begin to panic in an engagement, and they have to work their way around to the rear of the enemy machine before they can guarantee a "kill" shot.

                    Another movie featuring "Tiger Fever" is the Clint Eastwood "Kellys Heroes", as tank commander Oddball tries to explain to his crew that the only way to take on a Tiger is to "Hit it up the ass".

                    For a Russian example, at Prokhorovka, the largest tank engagement in history at Kursk, Russian tank crews reported that they were facing "about 100" Tigers on the field. The 'true' figure was precisely 12, as German records indicate.

                    Truly, these tanks had an effect out of all proportion to their numbers, as their production figures indicate. Just over five and a half thousand Tiger Is were produced, and no more than 1,800 Tiger IIs.

                    Yep..."Tiger Fever" was a reality...a very deadly one.

                    As for "88" Fever, one only has to examine diaries from tank crews in the Western Desert to see this psychology in operation. The high velocity "screeching" of an 88 round was enough to give any British tank crew a serious case of loose bowels.

                    One wonders what might have been the case had the tens of thousands of 88's deployed to protect German cities from the Allied Bomber Offensive been available in the anti-tank role. Chaos. Albert Speer points to this as a "major" contribution by the West to the Russian Front happenings. Indeed, he suggests that it did, in fact, constitute a "Second Front" for years before 1944!

                    Words of wisdom from someone who really did know the true situation....
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                    • #40
                      Interesting stuff I must admit and all edging around the truth!! lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.


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

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Don Juan View Post

                        Very good post, this.

                        Thanks Don. I try to live up to the tank/armored vehicle scholars on ACG like you, Nick, dog dodger, and others. I still have a long way to go!
                        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                        • #42
                          Weapons can only have a psychological effect if they have a real effect on the battlefield as well. The 88mm like the MG42 was horrifically effective.

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                          • #43
                            That, is short and very accurate!! lcm1
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


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

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                              I need to upload picture of the German tanks at the Saumur tank museum. Natural instinct usually states bigger is better, or at least more dangerous. The Cats were far bigger than allied tanks, and it shows when you place one against another. You can certainly imagine the Ally tankers thinking the German tanks were superior as a result.
                              Actually, when I place my scale models, either 1/72-1/76 or 1/35 beside each other, the "cats" like the (MK. VI)Tiger I and the basic M4 Sherman, the Tiger only looks about 20-30% larger.

                              Now imagine such out about 2-300 yards/meters and size could look close to a MK. V Panther or an Mk. IVH with side armor plates, especially if they have assorted 'brush' attached for camouflage to blend with nearby terrain.

                              In the few seconds where one might either be a target and/or hit; or do the targeting and hit the other guy, hasty qualifications might be secondary. "Tiger" could just be generic for a Jerry tank and shoot! ... or scoot.

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                              • #45
                                Exactly!! You are quite probably too bloody busy to go into technical details, it's a German tank,... dispose of it, or avoid it which ever is the most logical thing to do at the time! Later perhaps ponder on the details but most likely too much of the whole action is a bit of a blur as the accurate description of the German 'War Machine' without doubt is. lcm1
                                'By Horse by Tram'.


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

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