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  • German heavy tanks.

    Did the production and operational deployment of heavy tanks really achieve or make any difference to Germany's overall combat performance?

    It could be argued that the Panther equalled the Tiger tanks kill ratio, nor should the Stug IIIs effectiveness be dismissed!
    And in terms of cost of production, it has been quoted that almost four Stug IIIs could have been built for every Tiger 1 tank, so did the emphasis on the production for heavy tanks take away Germany's overall combat effectiveness?
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
    Mark Twain.

  • #2
    I thing the reputation and resulting fear factor of the Tiger alone made its production worth while.

    Personally, I thing they should have built more Panthers the go with the King Tiger.
    Wolster

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    • #3
      The heavy tanks made a big difference;It suffises to read accounts about the successes of the tiger tanks to be convinced.

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      • #4
        Germany didn't build many heavy tanks

        Originally posted by achtung baby View Post
        Did the production and operational deployment of heavy tanks really achieve or make any difference to Germany's overall combat performance?

        It could be argued that the Panther equalled the Tiger tanks kill ratio, nor should the Stug IIIs effectiveness be dismissed!
        And in terms of cost of production, it has been quoted that almost four Stug IIIs could have been built for every Tiger 1 tank, so did the emphasis on the production for heavy tanks take away Germany's overall combat effectiveness?
        The Germans built relatively few heavy tanks, principal types:

        Tiger I - 1,354
        Tiger II - 489

        Total - 1,843

        Compared to Mediums, principal types:

        PzKpfw III - 6,157
        PzKpfw IV - 8,544
        PsKpfw V Panther - 5,976

        Total - 20,677

        IIRC, the ratio is weighted even more towards the medium chassis when it comes to tank destroyers.

        So it's not as if Germany produced heavy tanks in very large numbers, either in absolute or proportional terms.

        Of course, the heavies were expensive and resource-heavy (both to produce and to maintain in the field) so it becomes a discussion as to whether they were worth it.
        "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
        Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolster View Post
          I thing the reputation and resulting fear factor of the Tiger alone made its production worth while.

          Personally, I think they should have built more Panthers the go with the King Tiger.
          One could argue that the King Tiger was perhaps a waste of resources, particularly given Germany's position in the last year of the war, but there were issues with the Panther, mainly reliability, which were never really fully resolved before the war ended.

          Panther was an excellent design but finished up weighing at least 10 tons more than originally intended.
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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          • #6
            panther 3485, in view of the large numbers of tanks of the Allies, notably T-34's and Shermans, would it be safe to say that whatever additional medium tanks the Germans could have produced in lieu of heavy tanks, it would not have made any difference in "Germany's overall combat performance?"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tom D View Post
              panther 3485, in view of the large numbers of tanks of the Allies, notably T-34's and Shermans, would it be safe to say that whatever additional medium tanks the Germans could have produced in lieu of heavy tanks, it would not have made any difference in "Germany's overall combat performance?"
              I don't think it would have swung the outcome of the war in Germany's favour, it that's what you are asking. It may, at most, have bought them a little more time.

              On the other hand, there were occasions when Tigers dominated some engagements and had an effect on the enemy that was out of all proportion to their numbers, not to mention the 'fear factor', so we can also argue that they were possibly worth the resources that were expended on them, except perhaps for the last year of the war.
              "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
              Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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              • #8
                Agree with that! I have read and am reading books on the Eastern Front, and one thing that stands out time and again, is the use of Tiger brigades to seal break throughs. Further, in many instances, Tiger brigades shot the hell out of the assembling T-34's from long range...a range well beyond a T-34's ability to respond effectively...if at all. Many Divison and Corps Commanders heaped a lot of credit on the Tiger brigades for saving the day! They were very successful "fire fighters," so to speak....

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                • #9
                  While I can understand the argument that more Panthers could have made for greater overall capabilitiy of the Panzerabteilung, Michael Wittman and other Tiger aces did exceptionally well with their Tigers. I do think King Tiger and Tigerjaeger were wastes of necessary money and steel.
                  Peace is Our Profession

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                    I don't think it would have swung the outcome of the war in Germany's favour, it that's what you are asking. It may, at most, have bought them a little more time.

                    On the other hand, there were occasions when Tigers dominated some engagements and had an effect on the enemy that was out of all proportion to their numbers, not to mention the 'fear factor', so we can also argue that they were possibly worth the resources that were expended on them, except perhaps for the last year of the war.
                    I think they were worth building , even though by the time the Tiger 2 was released or should i say unleashed in to combat it was virtually "game over" for the Third Reicht, it was to the Germans A weapon hope as much as it was a weapon of fear to the allies .... and as a weapon of fear it was effective way beyond its numbers , capabilities , and actual performance but in saying that all the tigers did actually perform very well in doing what a tank is supposed to do . regardless of cost .

                    it prompted the allied nations to seriously re-think their attitude towards heavy tank production for years to come and if we factor out the overwhelming air superiority of the allies that took a heavy toll on the German armor , the stats would show that the tiger program was actually quite a cost effective exercise ..... but with the production capabilities of the USSR and the USA able to punch out 50,000 shermans and 50.000 T34,s the Germans were done for any way ....

                    thats my 2cents
                    did your parents have any children that lived numb nuts??

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                    • #11
                      panzer ratten, while the The King Tiger did have a significant "fear" factor, and the Allies could and did out produce the Germans in tanks, I personally think building a King Tiger was a waste. I would think more Panthers or PzKpfw IV's would have been a better use of limited resources, and to me, "more" is better. For example, when I read about the Battle of the Bulge, and the diversions the King Tigers had to make because they were way too heavy for most of the bridges. PzKpfw IV's or Panthers could have passed over them...and did. I acknowledge the battlefield dominance of the 88mm KwK 43, and would have thought it better to mount it as a Jagd Panther. But then again, the Panther's 75mm was so effective, that should have been sufficent. To me, an even bigger unnecessary weapon was the Jagd Tiger. Why a 128mm and in insufficient numbers to have any effect...a waste in my mind.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom D View Post
                        panzer ratten, while the The King Tiger did have a significant "fear" factor, and the Allies could and did out produce the Germans in tanks, I personally think building a King Tiger was a waste. I would think more Panthers or PzKpfw IV's would have been a better use of limited resources, and to me, "more" is better. For example, when I read about the Battle of the Bulge, and the diversions the King Tigers had to make because they were way too heavy for most of the bridges. PzKpfw IV's or Panthers could have passed over them...and did. I acknowledge the battlefield dominance of the 88mm KwK 43, and would have thought it better to mount it as a Jagd Panther. But then again, the Panther's 75mm was so effective, that should have been sufficent. To me, an even bigger unnecessary weapon was the Jagd Tiger. Why a 128mm and in insufficient numbers to have any effect...a waste in my mind.
                        Yes Tom i will concede that the tanks they really needed were PzKpFw IV's and to a larger extent the Panthers .
                        I guess i,m just a little to obsessed with the Tiger 1 and 2,s and it dose sometime cloud my judgement ...I do agree that building such massive vehicles in times of material stress is wasteful , but i,am a little uncertain as to how many more IV,s or V,s could have been produced if the tiger program as a whole " meaning tigers of all variants " did not go ahead ????

                        but i will be the first to admit that i,am very very pro tiger regardless of the facts i know to be true and i do need to be pull up now and then and look at things more retrospectively . so cheers for that mate ...
                        did your parents have any children that lived numb nuts??

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                        • #13
                          panzer ratten, my remarks were aimed principally at the King Tiger, but they would apply to the Tiger I as well. I also do not know how amny more PzKpfw Iv's could have been produced in the absence of Tigers, but remember also, they sure would have come out much quicker, as the production time for a Tiger was significantly more! Now, having said all that, I have to admit that the Tiger I is one of my favorites...probably the favorite, with the Panther a close second. I love reading about how the Tigers performed so well on the Eastern Front, most notably taking out Russian tanks from extremely long range, and the Russian reaction when a Tiger was encountered!

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                          • #14
                            I think there were times when the Tiger I repaid its investment, and repaid handsomely at that.

                            There were also times when it did not, but IMHO the overall tide of fortune had already begun to turn irrevocably against Germany by the time this tank appeared in worthwhile numbers and I don't think any kind of changes to Germany's tank design/production program would have made all that much of a difference. The die was cast.
                            "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                            Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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                            • #15
                              For those who count the cost!

                              Manufacturing costs for the Tiger.
                              Production was ordered to start in August 1942. It began at a rate of 25 tanks per month and peaked in April 1944 at a rate of 104 per month. It took 300,000 man hours to build one Tiger, almost twice as much time as a Panther required.

                              The average cost of a Tiger was 250,000 Reichsmarks. In comparison, a PzKpfw III cost RM 96,200, a PzKpfw IV RM 103,500, and a PzKpfw V Panther RM 117,000; all these figures are exclusive of weapons and radios. The Tiger cost $100,000 in 1941 U.S. dollars. Adjusted for inflation, a Tiger I today would cost approximately $1,282,051. By comparison, the United States current M1A1 Abrams tank costs $4,300,000.

                              Total built 1,715, enemy tanks destroyed 9,850, kill/Loss ratio 5.74.

                              Simular figures for the Panther would be interesting, I will try to source some information at a later date!

                              From; PanzerKampfwagen VI: The legendary Tiger I
                              "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                              Ernest Hemingway.

                              "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
                              Mark Twain.

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