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

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  • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

    The scene from Fury is almost certainly down to a doc.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj0AzL95Weg

    It is so wrong on so many levels it still pains me.
    The documentary is definitely a very poor quality product, not only for the inaccuracy and outright incorrectness of some of the information but also for its lack of balance.
    I have respect for the veterans who were interviewed for it but none for the people who produced and/or presented it.
    In particular, the gentleman with the frizzy hair who does a lot of talking actually says,
    "The only vulnerable spot on the Tiger tank is the rear".
    (about 21 - 22 minutes into the program.)
    That statement on its own totally disqualifies this person from having ANYTHING to do with a documentary involving WW2 tanks. Frankly, upon hearing it I almost told myself that this guy should be *ucking well shot! (OK, not really but it makes me quite annoyed to hear that same old BS again in a so-called "documentary".)

    It's also highly misleading for giving the impression that the whole "Tiger vs Sherman" thing was like a duel in isolation, with these two tanks being the only participants. It totally ignores all other weapons, weapon systems and other factors that contributed to the destruction of Tiger tanks on the battlefields, on both Eastern and Western fronts. It also tends to support the idea that Tigers were encountered almost everywhere when in fact they were a relative rarity.
    For every reasonably decent quality TV documentary I've seen, there must have been at least a dozen "junk documentaries" like this one.

    Having said all the above, I don't believe it's likely that the "rear of the Tiger" myth was started by this particular documentary. IMO it's far more probable that it is merely perpetuating an already long-standing myth. Nevertheless, the constant regurgitation of such bull$hit is still an indictment of the product and those who produced it, because it shows that nobody did any really serious research or fact-checking.

    Documentary, my arse!
    Last edited by panther3485; 06 Nov 18, 20:02.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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    • Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
      " <snip> ... 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. ... <snip> "
      The figures are much lower than that. The highest plausible number for Tiger I actually reaching the field is 1,413 but this is taken from monthly issues to units between late 1942 and the end of the war which doesn't appear to rule out full rebuilds. The lowest production figure generally accepted (presumably not including the few early "Porsche Tigers") is 1,354.
      For Tiger II, we are looking at slightly less than 500; the lowest generally accepted figure being 489.
      These numbers are for turreted tanks. Smaller additional numbers of each chassis type were built as SPs; (i.e. with guns in a fixed superstructure.)

      So if we combine Tiger I and Tiger II production, it comes to no more than about 2,000 tanks.
      We could add in the above-mentioned small number of SP artillery & "tank destroyer" variants which were not tanks in the strict sense; and include the earlier so-called "Porsche Tigers" (which were mostly if not all converted to SPs anyway) but even then we would not be going all that far past 2,000.
      Last edited by panther3485; 06 Nov 18, 21:43.
      "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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      • At least a few Porsche Tigers with turrets saw actual service with S. Pzjr Reg 656 and S. Pzjr Abt. 654 as command vehicles.

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        • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          At least a few Porsche Tigers with turrets saw actual service with S. Pzjr Reg 656 and S. Pzjr Abt. 654 as command vehicles.

          Yep. IIRC, they were rebuilt as Ferdinands/Elefants later; or maybe some. Possibly one or two kept in the "tank configuration" but I have doubts and scratching through my memory here.
          (Several years since my last reading on this subject.)
          "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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          • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post

            Yep. IIRC, they were rebuilt as Ferdinands/Elefants later; or maybe some. Possibly one or two kept in the "tank configuration" but I have doubts and scratching through my memory here.
            (Several years since my last reading on this subject.)
            S. Pzjr Abt 653 got the two VK 4503 (Porsche Tiger) turreted prototype tanks assigned to it in early 1944, as it was the unit with the remaining Elefant Panzerjäger that kind of makes sense.

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            • Originally posted by JustAGuy View Post

              Indirect artillery fire directed by an artillery observers is aimed, isn't it? I mean they pick targets and direct artillery fire on them.
              Of course, though it's called "observed" fire, not aimed. But that aiming, in indirect fire, does not depend upon the gun crew's training in firing at direct targets - which is what German 88mm crews were trained for and often excelled at - nor does it depend on the gun's own targeting equipment - and the 88s came with very good optics, meant for firing at aircraft.

              Indirect fire aiming, OTOH, depends on things like the FO's training, his radio equipment, previous surveying and good maps, etc. All of which does not come as standard for 88mm units meant for AT work, much less for 88mm units meant for AA work, and even less so for 88mm units meant for AA work that belonged to the Luftwaffe and not the Heer.
              Late in the war, of course, a German divisional commander could assign an 88mm battery to be directed by his own standard artillery regiment's FOs. But even in that case, that meant the 88mm crews doing something they were not particularly well trained for.

              And for the record, you actually can fire indirect fire that is not observed in any way. It's "map fire". You think the enemy is using a crossroads you have no line of sight to, but you do have long-range artillery that can reach that spot; so you decide to harass or even interdict the enemy movements with unobserved fire onto the terrain feature.
              Last edited by Michele; 07 Nov 18, 08:06.
              Michele

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              • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                That you quickly denigrated one, while praising the other. Like it or don't, the German 8.8cm flak gun gained a fearsome reputation in WW 2. It also proved an effective AA gun, antitank gun, and artillery piece. I have little doubt that those on the receiving end of any of that thought differently.
                Nick's remark pertained to the 88 being used as artillery, i.e. not as an AT gun, not as the AA gun it was designed as. "As an artillery piece", well, those can be field guns/cannons firing HE with direct fire, or, and I think that was what Nick meant, howitzers firing HE on a curved trajectory, with indirect fire.

                The key words in your message, naturally, are "reputation" and "thought". That's the issue in this thread. Personally, I don't believe that it was "all in the mind"; but neither was those reputation and thoughts entirely objective. Not then, not now.
                Michele

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                • Has anyone seen that compilation of Canadian battlefield questionnaires that Robert Engen published?

                  There is one full one here

                  Some replies:

                  "Please give your view of the main reason for the adverse moral effectiveness of the three weapons you have marked in column three:
                  (1) Weapon with the greatest adverse moral effect, ie High Level Bombers effective because Such tremendous bombs - dugouts and slit trenches no use - no way of fighting back for infantry
                  (2) Weapon with the next greatest adverse moral effect, ie 88mm anti-tank guns effective because They are used on personnel - you cannot hear it coming - is so accurate
                  (3) Weapon with the next greatest adverse moral effect, ie Tanks effective because They look so formidable - tremendous firepower - takes guts to wait until they are in range of PIAT

                  List any weapons whose effect upon morale in your unit appeared to decrease with experience
                  Rifle
                  Medium Machine Gun
                  Schmeisser
                  Mortar
                  Stick Grenades
                  Egg Grenades
                  List any weapons whose effect upon morale in your unit appeared to increase with experience
                  88mm
                  heavy artillery
                  105 mm
                  Moaning Minnie

                  http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads...ionnaire.5049/

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                  • Originally posted by Michele View Post

                    Nick's remark pertained to the 88 being used as artillery, i.e. not as an AT gun, not as the AA gun it was designed as. "As an artillery piece", well, those can be field guns/cannons firing HE with direct fire, or, and I think that was what Nick meant, howitzers firing HE on a curved trajectory, with indirect fire.

                    The key words in your message, naturally, are "reputation" and "thought". That's the issue in this thread. Personally, I don't believe that it was "all in the mind"; but neither was those reputation and thoughts entirely objective. Not then, not now.
                    The 88 was feared in that role because the crew usually fired timed rounds to air burst low over the target rather than impact fuzed rounds.

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                    • Hi guys, I know that you are talking about tanks at the moment ( something I know 'Sweet Fanny Adams' about) but I must say this on the subject of the 88 on infantry. I do believe that I am the only person taking part in this debate that has actually been under fire from the afore said weapon. Yet it seems to me that my comments are on the whole carefully avoided, so be good fellows and carefully listen to this my final words on the topic. The ammunition used often by them appeared to burst just above ground level which meant that there was shrapnel flying and all you could do was drop flat and pray. I was always lucky, which shows the truth in that saying , "Only the good die young". lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.


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

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                      • Surely a great thing for us. Glad you are here and were there.
                        SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                        • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                          The 88 was feared in that role because the crew usually fired timed rounds to air burst low over the target rather than impact fuzed rounds.
                          I've just been sent a report that states that 88mms did not use airburst fuses, because these were to be used against aircraft only, this being from a post-war (1947) account of General Wolfgang Pickert (who commanded the III Flak Korps in Normandy).

                          Again, I can find no reason why an 88 mm HE (2.25 Ibs p442) would be more feared than a 105 mm (3 Ibs p471) or an even more massive 150 mm artillery rounds.

                          http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a376695.pdf
                          How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                          Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                          • [QUOTE=Nick the Noodle;n5074869]

                            Again, I can find no reason why an 88 mm HE (2.25 Ibs p442) would be more feared than a 105 mm (3 Ibs p471) or an even more massive 150 mm artillery rounds.

                            Simple this has already been discussed - it made a more nerve shattering noise
                            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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                            • Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

                              I've just been sent a report that states that 88mms did not use airburst fuses, because these were to be used against aircraft only, this being from a post-war (1947) account of General Wolfgang Pickert (who commanded the III Flak Korps in Normandy).

                              Again, I can find no reason why an 88 mm HE (2.25 Ibs p442) would be more feared than a 105 mm (3 Ibs p471) or an even more massive 150 mm artillery rounds.

                              http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a376695.pdf
                              Pages 438-441, 443 - 444 of your source shows the 88mm HE projectile Type L/4.7 used a "mechanical time fuze." It was for use in the Flak 18, 36, 37 and 41 AA guns .
                              Last edited by JustAGuy; 09 Nov 18, 18:31. Reason: Correct error on types of guns.

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                              • I have a copy of Zetterling's Normandy 44', which has the equipment status of all German units in the campaign. 88mm would figure distinctly in the minority of the German artillery park. someone else who has the book too could do a count if they are so inclined.
                                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

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