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Tiger II & Jagdtiger, too unreliable to do their jobs?

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  • Tiger II & Jagdtiger, too unreliable to do their jobs?

    Guess theres not much else to ask. Maybe the question can be asked both about the theoretical doctrine for these tanks, and how they did as they ended up being used, if separating it like that makes sense.

  • #2
    A lot of their reliability issues came from their enormous weight which put a strain on all mechanical components. Their weight also made them slow and unable to use the majority of the bridges found in the European countryside at the time. That weight also made them guzzle fuel that was not readily available. They were also expensive in terms of labor and resources, and more like mobile defensive fortresses than fighting vehicles.

    They were, of course, hard for the Allies to kill, but in the end they were too little, too late. This is the surrender of the 502nd Tank Destroyer Bn at Iserlohn in 1945.

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      These vehicles were really white elephants. That the Germans put them in separate battalions really didn't help matters either. It would have been better to give two companies to each panzer division, one per company per battalion, than employ them independently.
      On the offensive, a tiger battalion almost never made any difference employed like they were. On the defense, they could be a serious 'rock in the stream' but lacking being part of a larger formation they were really wasted.
      As corps and army units they were seldom wisely employed and on their own they lacked the center of gravity of supporting arms to really make any difference.

      The Soviet employment of heavy tanks assigned a battalion or two to each tank or mechanized corps as support. That worked out better.

      The British assigned their heavily armored but poorly gunned Churchill tanks in brigades to infantry divisions turning the latter into virtual armored divisions with less operational mobility.

      I would characterize German employment of heavy tanks and assault guns as haphazard and inconsistent. It meant that they really were far less effective than they could have been.

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      • #4
        That goes against my impression of them being, or at least the Tiger 1 for the first two years of its service, an effective tank in combat that often had a substantial effect on offensive operations it was assigned to. It's interesting to hear new perspectives and takes on these vehicles though.

        Kursk is​ often given as an example of Tigers proving their worth.

        Back to mechanical reliability, were they generally reliable enough to perform what was asked of them? Did the Tiger II with its higher weight on the same drivetrain have any noticeable impact?

        ​​​​

        ​​​​

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        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          These vehicles were really white elephants.
          I agree with you about Tiger 2's, not with Tiger 1's.
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          That the Germans put them in separate battalions really didn't help matters either. It would have been better to give two companies to each panzer division, one per company per battalion, than employ them independently.
          If you mean semi-permanent, such as US tank battalions attached to infantry divisions, I agree.

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          On the offensive, a tiger battalion almost never made any difference employed like they were.
          Tiger 2's were certainly the wrong tank for the 'Bulge', being too heavy, churning up roads, and making it difficult for soft skinned vehicles to follow any advance. As for Tiger's, Wittmans first attack is the only combat where Tiger 1's took part in that had any kind of success in the West. This is why it is always used as an example by Tiger fanbois, since there is no other.

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          On the defense, they could be a serious 'rock in the stream' but lacking being part of a larger formation they were really wasted.
          As corps and army units they were seldom wisely employed and on their own they lacked the center of gravity of supporting arms to really make any difference.
          They could be very effective barriers to Soviet Front advances, but I haven't read any decent holding action by Tiger units in the West.

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          The Soviet employment of heavy tanks assigned a battalion or two to each tank or mechanized corps as support. That worked out better.
          Assigned to Fronts, not Corps .
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          The British assigned their heavily armored but poorly gunned Churchill tanks in brigades to infantry divisions turning the latter into virtual armored divisions with less operational mobility.
          Poorly gunned in the same way that Shermans were poorly gunned?
          Churchills did not diminish an infantry units operational mobility. It was as reliable as a Sherman, and more frugal on fuel than the Sherman V's in British service on roads.
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I would characterize German employment of heavy tanks and assault guns as haphazard and inconsistent. It meant that they really were far less effective than they could have been.
          Arnhem is a perfect example of this. When the British landed, the 2 German panzer divisions were not effectively armoured divs at all. 9th Pz Division had no tanks. It only had 49 afv's, and only 2 of those had real AT guns, Jagdpanzer IV's. 10th Pz Division had a mere 8 Panthers and 16 Panzer IV's, and virtually no other afv's.

          The reinforcements were as follows:
          The first was a measly ersatz 'regiment' 'Mielke' with 2 PzIV's and 6 PzIII's. 2 of those PzIII's did not even have the long 50mm KwK39. Arrived 18th Sept.
          Panzer Companie Hummel was more impressive with 14 Tiger 1's. Arrived 19th.
          Panzer Battalion 506 was even more impressive with 28 Tiger 2's. Arrived 23rd.
          There was also a Stug battalion of 10 Stug III's, and a flamethower afv unit, with 14 of its 17 tanks with flamethrowers. Flame tanks arrived 20th.

          The 42 Tigers used were part of a reserve, and used because it was the only real armour available. However, it was completely unsuitable for the task, 9th Panzer's 15 Sd.Kfz. 251/9's with their 75mm howitzers proving far more effective.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tracks031 View Post
            That goes against my impression of them being, or at least the Tiger 1 for the first two years of its service, an effective tank in combat that often had a substantial effect on offensive operations it was assigned to. It's interesting to hear new perspectives and takes on these vehicles though.

            Kursk is often given as an example of Tigers proving their worth.
            Agreed with their impact on the Eastern Front.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

              Tiger 2's were certainly the wrong tank for the 'Bulge', being too heavy, churning up roads, and making it difficult for soft skinned vehicles to follow any advance. As for Tiger's, Wittmans first attack is the only combat where Tiger 1's took part in that had any kind of success in the West. This is why it is always used as an example by Tiger fanbois, since there is no other.
              Maybe it's not mentioned by you because it's too small as an action to count as a success, but if not, I recall reading in "The Combat History of German Tiger Tank Battalion 503" about an attack on 11 July, where the battalion attacks and takes a town near Caen, held by British and Canadian forces with tanks, for no losses. Freiherr Von Rosen, who tells the story, says the success of this attack was so great he believed, if only for a short while, that they could hold off the Western invaders. Shortly afterwards they were devastated during Goodwood.

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              • #8
                What about the Jagdtiger, is there any usefulness or rational thinking to design an afv that can only drive 200-250 km before suffering transmission failure?

                (figure from Bovington's Youtube video about their Jagdtiger)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tracks031 View Post
                  That goes against my impression of them being, or at least the Tiger 1 for the first two years of its service, an effective tank in combat that often had a substantial effect on offensive operations it was assigned to. It's interesting to hear new perspectives and takes on these vehicles though.

                  Kursk is​ often given as an example of Tigers proving their worth.
                  Some truth to all of that as to the Tiger I... but that's the problem. Note that you started with the Tiger II and the Jagdtiger, now you have had to cast a broader net to find something more than marginally positive.

                  Michele

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tracks031 View Post

                    Maybe it's not mentioned by you because it's too small as an action to count as a success, but if not, I recall reading in "The Combat History of German Tiger Tank Battalion 503" about an attack on 11 July, where the battalion attacks and takes a town near Caen, held by British and Canadian forces with tanks, for no losses. Freiherr Von Rosen, who tells the story, says the success of this attack was so great he believed, if only for a short while, that they could hold off the Western invaders. Shortly afterwards they were devastated during Goodwood.
                    I don't have that book, but 11th July was the combat debut of Tiger 2's in Normandy. Iirc, the 12 Tiger 2's of the 1st company, 503rd were the only T2's that took part in that campaign. As you say, too small an encounter to notice, unless you are looking for a specific detail of that campaign.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michele View Post

                      Some truth to all of that as to the Tiger I... but that's the problem. Note that you started with the Tiger II and the Jagdtiger, now you have had to cast a broader net to find something more than marginally positive.
                      Darn, I've been discovered!

                      It seems me and all the other sneaky Tiger fanbois needs new tactics in our evil quest to distort historical facts to fool people into believing a rolling box of metal from 70 years ago was slightly better than it actually was... *rubs hands togheter in an evil way*

                      Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                      I don't have that book, but 11th July was the combat debut of Tiger 2's in Normandy. Iirc, the 12 Tiger 2's of the 1st company, 503rd were the only T2's that took part in that campaign. As you say, too small an encounter to notice, unless you are looking for a specific detail of that campaign.
                      My mistake.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tracks031 View Post

                        Darn, I've been discovered!

                        It seems me and all the other sneaky Tiger fanbois needs new tactics in our evil quest to distort historical facts to fool people into believing a rolling box of metal from 70 years ago was slightly better than it actually was... *rubs hands togheter in an evil way*
                        It's not a matter of fanboism or evil. It's a matter of keeping things consistent. If you had made a remark, or even just asked a question (like here), in the thread title about, say, the Grant/Lee tank, and then went on to discuss that issue by making reference to the Sherman, I would have objected in the same way. Grants/Lees and Shermans are related, but not the same tank, and different enough to prevent anything but the broadest generalizations. Same here.

                        Michele

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michele View Post

                          It's not a matter of fanboism or evil. It's a matter of keeping things consistent. If you had made a remark, or even just asked a question (like here), in the thread title about, say, the Grant/Lee tank, and then went on to discuss that issue by making reference to the Sherman, I would have objected in the same way. Grants/Lees and Shermans are related, but not the same tank, and different enough to prevent anything but the broadest generalizations. Same here.
                          Agree, but it may be worth stating when a tank stops being similar to earlier models. The first T-34/76's are very dissimilar to the latest 1944 T-34/85's, and the first Sherman II's at El Alamein are just about different in every meaningful way to the latest Sherman IV's that fought in 45.
                          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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tracks031 View Post
                            What about the Jagdtiger, is there any usefulness or rational thinking to design an afv that can only drive 200-250 km before suffering transmission failure?

                            (figure from Bovington's Youtube video about their Jagdtiger)
                            There is some utility to the Jadgtiger in terms of 1943 - 44 East Front warfare. This sort of vehicle could definitely reach out and touch enemy armor in a very nasty way on the open steppes of Russia. But, when the two abteilung that received the vehicle deployed (the 654th then 512th) they were sent to the West where their heavy armor and long-range firepower were a complete waste of time.

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