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Well-written post explaining how the Tiger 1 is grossly overrated

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  • Well-written post explaining how the Tiger 1 is grossly overrated

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistoria...9hm/?context=3

    "The Tiger has a rather overblown reputation, chiefly due to the very self-serving memoirs written by Tiger crews after the war. Sure, it was a formidable tank when fighting vehicles half its mass from favourable positions, but it didn't really excel outside of that niche.

    The British, for instance, were not particularly impressed when they first encountered these tanks in North Africa. The armour of the tank was brittle and prone to cracking and spalling. The tanks could be dispatched with 6-pounder guns, which weren't even the biggest anti-tank guns in the British arsenal at the time. The Tiger's gun was unbalanced and difficult to handle. The fighting compartment was cramped, especially for the loader, who would have had trouble handling long ammunition. Further tests showed that the commander's cupola offered relatively poor vision of the surrounding terrain, especially to the rear-right, which allowed tank hunters to engage it from that angle from relative safety. The commander also had significant dead zones between periscopes, and had to move his head a lot to compensate. The air filters were found to be vastly unsatisfactory. Cleaning was required every 4 hours of operation, otherwise their performance became vastly degraded. A thorough report composed in June of 1943 confirmed the previous findings and read "the tank bristles with every sort of complication and one would think that it would be at least twice as difficult to produce as either of its predecessors." This assessment was correct: despite being riddled with faults, the Tiger was still incredibly expensive and difficult to produce.

    Initial inspections of the Tiger led the British to assume that it would be very sluggish and difficult to move, especially over tough terrain. This was confirmed in Italy. Tigers were often spotted bogged down and destroyed by their own crews in places where British tanks would be able to pass with ease. British mud trials against Panther, Churchill, Cromwell, and Sherman tanks rated the Tiger's performance only as "very poor". The British were aghast to learn that Henschel had no purpose made off-road performance study facilities at their factory, and that no such facility existed in Germany at all.

    A report titled rather poignantly "Who killed the Tiger" concludes "The Tiger is not yet sufficiently developed to be considered a reliable vehicle for long marches". The author of the report had no way of knowing that not only had the development of the Tiger halted, but it was no longer in production at all by that point. There is no evidence to indicate that the Tiger's teething troubles had ever been solved at any point of its production. It continued to be an incredibly unreliable vehicle throughout its service.

    More thorough tests of the tank's armour revealed that its quality was, at best, on par with that of British armour, but in some cases it was significantly worse. Even 57 mm 6-pounder hits resulted in significant spalling. For the 76 mm 17-pounder, the tank's armour was not an issue. Even at a range of 1500 yards and angles of 40-50 degrees, shots of APCBC caused significant flaking, while shots with APDS went through the armour. The British also found an interesting weakness: putting an HE round of any caliber above the tracks and below the pannier would blow out the pannier floor and detonate the ammunition stored in the pannier racks. The mantlet was also prone to ricocheting rounds down and through the roof of the driver's compartment if the bottom was hit.

    Post-war crew working conditions trials of the Tiger also yielded poor results. Every crewman's station was cramped. The commander was squeezed between the turret traverse mechanism and the gun recoil guard. He had no back to his seat, and therefore was tossed around in motion. The auxiliary turret traverse was almost useless, as it was difficult to use and caused the gunner's traverse flywheel to spin wildly, which made it slip out of his hand and lock the traverse since the safety latch was not pressed. Turning the turret on his own with the traverse flywheel was tiring and difficult, since it was hard to hold and turned the turret very slowly. Powered traverse could be controlled with pedals, but they were incredibly uncomfortable to use and downright dangerous, since they often jammed and it was easy for the gunner's foot to slip off and hit the coax machinegun trigger pedal. The loader, as mentioned above, did not have a lot of room to work with, and the lighting was insufficient for him to actually see the ammunition he was retrieving. This meant that reloading the gun took a very long time. The handle in his hatch ate up precious ceiling room, and working while standing without hitting his head on it was very difficult. The hull gunner and driver's positions did not have many complaints, except that there was not enough leg room.

    In short, the Tiger's gun was big and its armour was thick, but it was very much deficient in nearly every aspect of its design. It's not hard to see why the Germans began designing a successor even before the Tiger entered mass production, and the successor was based on the Panter's design, rather than just being an upgraded Tiger.

    Sources

    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/201...n-tunisia.html

    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/201...r-filters.html

    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/201...isibility.html

    http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/201...gers-hide.html

    Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Military Headquarters, London : C-5773 slide 4

    Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Military Headquarters, London : C-5775 slide 3633

    Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Military Headquarters, London : C-5776 slide 608

    Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Military Headquarters, London : C-5776 slide 629

    Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Military Headquarters, London : C-5777 slide 3829

    Military Operational Research Report No.61 Study No.11 Motion Studies of German Tanks."

    ---
    Thoughts?

    I'm very surprised by the claims that early Tigers had bad armor quality, and that the Tiger II was based on the Panther due to the mechanical problems with Tiger 1. I also remember hearing in a documentary that the British, after their thorough investigation on the captured Tiger 131, considered the Tiger an impressive tank, if somewhat overengineered.

  • #2
    A British evaluation of a non-British tank...



    Meanwhile, over on the British side...



    You decide if you'd want to be using that vehicle in battle...

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    • #3
      Haha, thanks for the laugh.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        A British evaluation of a non-British tank...



        Meanwhile, over on the British side...



        You decide if you'd want to be using that vehicle in battle...
        I certainly would, mainly because in real life I am a four foot six inch double jointed Pygmy...

        although the ShermanWas a design of compromises, it did allow for crew ergo metrics and upgradable engine compartments in an easily ship able and maintainable " package" .

        Well done under the circumstances.
        Great videos, TAG!


        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

        Comment


        • #5
          I read a pre-war evaluation of the Czech Lt vz 35 / TNHP (aka Pz 38t) done by the British Army that got a "sample" tank from CKD the manufacturer. They evaluated it as a "Light" tank. Their conclusion was, "On the whole this machine offers a gun platform very much inferior to our Light Tanks Marks V to VIB..."

          You might note that the Czech 38t has more armor and a 37mm gun compared to the .303 machinegun of British light tanks. Most of the report nit picks the tank's minor deficiencies like "lack of a brow pad for the gunner's telescope..." or that the gun couldn't be "instinctive(ly)" aimed (eg., it didn't allow free elevation and traverse using a shoulder pad like British tanks used).

          On the whole, I seem to always get the impression reading one of their reports on foreign equipment that they'll grudgingly admit somebody else's design is better-- but-- That is they always work to find a nit to pick why it really is inferior to their own stuff.

          Sure, the US Army's Ordinance department has a severe case of "Not invented here" syndrome too, but at least they'll grudgingly accept outside designs and rather than just reject them ask they have certain fixes applied to make them "better."

          Comment


          • #6
            Operational rate of various German AFV types on the Eastern Front (from S. Zaloga)



            In general it doesn't seem that Tiger was vastly unreliable compared with other German tanks. Some points described in the assessment quoted above were typical for other tanks of that period (the need to cleanse air filters regularly), some were intrinsic to the concept of heavy tank.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
              Operational rate of various German AFV types on the Eastern Front (from S. Zaloga)



              In general it doesn't seem that Tiger was vastly unreliable compared with other German tanks. Some points described in the assessment quoted above were typical for other tanks of that period (the need to cleanse air filters regularly), some were intrinsic to the concept of heavy tank.
              What about Tiger 2, was it any different? It had the same drivetrain, weighting some 13-14 tonnes more, but also did recieve some strengthened components too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                Operational rate of various German AFV types on the Eastern Front (from S. Zaloga)



                In general it doesn't seem that Tiger was vastly unreliable compared with other German tanks. Some points described in the assessment quoted above were typical for other tanks of that period (the need to cleanse air filters regularly), some were intrinsic to the concept of heavy tank.
                But the table doesn't show how many manhours were spent per tank making them ready.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gooner View Post

                  But the table doesn't show how many manhours were spent per tank making them ready.
                  I've read each Schwere Panzer Abteilung had the logistical support of a whole German tank division. But then Germany was also in a chronic shortage of spare parts, and only 1 full set of spares for every 10th Tiger made I read. You think they evened each others out?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oldngruff View Post
                    I've read each Schwere Panzer Abteilung had the logistical support of a whole German tank division.
                    I doubt that. Probably that is about maintenance units. The tank division (about 200 tanks authorized) had a tank maintenance company. The Tiger battalion (45 tanks authorized) also had a maintenance company, albeit different in organization. So a larger proportion of maintenance elements.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are a lot of good tiger books available if the subject really interests you. (Tigers in Combat 1, 2, 3). Panzer Ace (memoirs of Tiger commander Rosen (503). Battalion histories of SS 501, SS 502, Totenkopf Tigers, 503, 507, 508

                      In terms of being "economical", I don't believe that the Tiger places well. German artillery's Stug arm won that recognition as being the most efficient AFV. It seems that even Guderian attempted to stop this but the results show a great increase in the proportion of Assaultguns/Tank Destroyers over tanks starting from late 1943. By 1944 they rivaled tanks. By 1945 they exceeded tanks.
                      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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        On the whole, I seem to always get the impression reading one of their reports on foreign equipment that they'll grudgingly admit somebody else's design is better-- but-- That is they always work to find a nit to pick why it really is inferior to their own stuff.

                        Sure, the US Army's Ordinance department has a severe case of "Not invented here" syndrome too, but at least they'll grudgingly accept outside designs and rather than just reject them ask they have certain fixes applied to make them "better."
                        This is, frankly, bullshit.

                        The British were generally the most critical of their own tanks. You only have to look at the AFV Technical Reports that came out of the Middle East, to see that tanks like the Crusader were mercilessly criticised, while the Sherman was fulsomely praised. To an extent I think the Sherman was over-praised, because if the British did have a real weakness, it was a tendency to blame their equipment to cover up what were tactical errors or poor generalship. The advent of the Sherman coincided with an overhaul of tactics, and it was much easier to attribute the resulting success to the Sherman than to admit that they had been using abysmal tactics for the previous three years.

                        I don't really see any bias in the British evaluations of the Tiger - they praised it were it was strong, and highlighted where it was weak. They were obviously keen to publicise weaknesses because they were in the business of trying to defeat it. Also, any evaluation they undertook was always going to be clouded by their own judgement of what constituted a good tank. This meant that the British bias towards durability was always going to produce a somewhat negative view of German tanks, just as it tended to produce a particularly positive evaluation of American ones. If the British had had a firepower bias, then the evaluations would have gone the other way.
                        "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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Artyom_A View Post
                          Operational rate of various German AFV types on the Eastern Front (from S. Zaloga)



                          In general it doesn't seem that Tiger was vastly unreliable compared with other German tanks. Some points described in the assessment quoted above were typical for other tanks of that period (the need to cleanse air filters regularly), some were intrinsic to the concept of heavy tank.
                          Is this table for tanks at the front and non-operational at unit level, or for tanks in the theatre and undergoing overhaul etc.?

                          If the former, all these tanks are absolutely terrible.
                          "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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Don Juan View Post

                            This is, frankly, bullshit.

                            The British were generally the most critical of their own tanks. You only have to look at the AFV Technical Reports that came out of the Middle East, to see that tanks like the Crusader were mercilessly criticised, while the Sherman was fulsomely praised. To an extent I think the Sherman was over-praised, because if the British did have a real weakness, it was a tendency to blame their equipment to cover up what were tactical errors or poor generalship. The advent of the Sherman coincided with an overhaul of tactics, and it was much easier to attribute the resulting success to the Sherman than to admit that they had been using abysmal tactics for the previous three years.

                            I don't really see any bias in the British evaluations of the Tiger - they praised it were it was strong, and highlighted where it was weak. They were obviously keen to publicise weaknesses because they were in the business of trying to defeat it. Also, any evaluation they undertook was always going to be clouded by their own judgement of what constituted a good tank. This meant that the British bias towards durability was always going to produce a somewhat negative view of German tanks, just as it tended to produce a particularly positive evaluation of American ones. If the British had had a firepower bias, then the evaluations would have gone the other way.
                            It is important to remember that Great Britain was paying back its' first world war debts well into 1937. r & d money was stringent , to say the least.

                            Also: TAG's personal preferences:
                            Image result for german Ratte tank
                            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              german operational numbers would be very different if :

                              1. They weren't fighting a poor man's war- and received a lot of replacements

                              2. they wrote off more AFVs rather than retain them on the books.

                              Anderson's Panzerartillerie book also has data for Oct 1944 (among the panzer troops) and shows numbers of operational 105mm/150mm guns and observation tanks/SPW to be significantly below theoretical
                              Last edited by Cult Icon; 15 Jun 19, 21:49.
                              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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