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Were Tiger crews really an "elite"?

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  • Were Tiger crews really an "elite"?

    Were the crews of the Tigers better trained, more experienced, more skilled than the crews of other tanks? How did the selection of the crews for the Tigers go?

  • #2
    They were not an elite : their results were not better than the crews of other tanks .
    Besides : ''elite '' is something meaningless .

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    • #3
      Just speculating but couldnt Tiger crews become elite by default. If being in a Tiger meant that you would survive longer than surely you would become 'elite' as you would live longer thus gaining more combat experience and thus becoming better crews.
      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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      • #4
        I doubt that the Tiger crews were surviving longer .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by oldngruff View Post
          Were the crews of the Tigers better trained, more experienced, more skilled than the crews of other tanks? How did the selection of the crews for the Tigers go?
          The specific information is found in numerous (expensive) books but just searching on the internet will net you a lot of results, especially use feldgrau and axishistory.

          Tiger crews for the most part did not receive special training as tactics/doctrine were the same. They however received vehicle specific training.

          The Tiger units were mostly set up based around veteran Panzer/Assault Gun crews with supplements provided by the training structures of the Heer and the SS. Perhaps "on average" they were more experienced from the get go as often they served as say, a Panzer regiment in the early/mid-war before their company was re-assigned to a build a new Tiger battalion.
          Last edited by Cult Icon; 07 Dec 19, 19:20.
          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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          • #6
            You guys are saying that selection for Tiger crews was no more competitive than for anything else they had?
            That does not sound logical.

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            • #7
              they also recruited from armored units by accepting volunteers according to Rosen in his memoir Panzer Ace. The specifics on German armored training can be found in Tigers in Combat III and Panzer Tactics by Schneider.

              In reality the German tank crews were trained far below their professional standards due to lack of time and training resources. IIRC it was ideally 2 years of training in peacetime. However battle proven crews were better than any fully trained person. When they set up new units they would promote and water down the veterans eg. 1-2 vets with the rest new draftees ( per crew )

              the build up the german armored forces in WW2 wasn't very logical, it was improvised and even political

              edit: The comment about Assault gun crews- only applies to the SS. Eg. Michael Wittmann
              Last edited by Cult Icon; 10 Dec 19, 07:03.
              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                The Tiger units were mostly set up based around veteran Panzer/Assault Gun crews with supplements provided by the training structures of the Heer and the SS. Perhaps "on average" they were more experienced from the get go as often they served as say, a Panzer regiment in the early/mid-war before their company was re-assigned to a build a new Tiger battalion.
                AFAIK, this would apply to nearly all armoured formations raised during the war. I.e. they would be formed around a nucleus of troops comming from an existing unit. It might be a company, a battalion or regiment from an existing unit or the remnants of a unit used up in combat. The rest of the positions would be filled with new recruits and Ersatz-personell.

                I dont recall reading that Tiger units were any different in this respect, except that they may not have been equipped from the bottom of the Ersatz-Heef barrel like infantry units often were (ill-trained Volksdeutsche, for example).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cbo View Post

                  AFAIK, this would apply to nearly all armoured formations raised during the war. I.e. they would be formed around a nucleus of troops comming from an existing unit. It might be a company, a battalion or regiment from an existing unit or the remnants of a unit used up in combat. The rest of the positions would be filled with new recruits and Ersatz-personell.
                  perhaps the most important thing was to accomplish thorough training up to the battalion level and get high morale/unit cohesion. A high standard of individual and group training and ability to execute tasks and with experienced leaders/planners.

                  Schneider the Tiger man opines (without going further)in his books that the only really well trained Tiger battalions were the first few from the Army (eg. the first 5 or so) and not the Waffen SS ones.
                  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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