File:Tiger II punctured in front turret.jpg

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Tiger_II_punctured_in_front_turret.jpg(367 × 271 pixels, file size: 24 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Summary[edit]

Caption from photo in Tigers in Combat II (p. 237) states:

"The tanks saw only limited action during the final days of August 1944, when they were employed in an effort to eliminate the US bridgeheads over the Seine River in the vicinity of Limay. This tank was knocked out by a hit through the gun mantlet. The hull proved impervious to the preceding hits."

[Note: The penetrating shot is actually in the front turret plate - most sources would reserve the term "mantlet" for the flange shaped base of the Tiger II's gun - this section of the book was probably written by Horst Wendt rather than Wolfgang Schneider].


Source:

Schneider, Wolfgang (2005). Tigers in Combat II. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books; originally published 1998 by J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc. Winnipeg, Canada. ISBN 0811732037.


Rationale for Non-Free Fair Use:

Photographs of Tiger II tanks punctured anywhere in their frontal armor as the result of combat are exceedingly rare. This photograph may be the only one of its kind, and documents that it could be accomplished, although the circumstances (type of gun and ammunition used) in which it occurred are unclear.

Comments[edit]

Jentz stated (p. 12) in his 1997 book Germany's Tiger Tanks - Tiger I & II:Combat Tactics:

The front of the turret and lower hull of the Tiger II could theoretically be penetrated by the 17-pounder firing a special tungsten armor-piercing, super velocity, discarding sabot (A.P.D.S.) round. These rounds were not especially accurate, did not have an explosive filler for blast effect after penetration, and ricocheted off steep angles like the lower hull front of the Tiger II. The author has been unable to find any photographs or other proof of the frontal armor of the Tiger II with either type of turret being penetrated during combat

Schneider's book with this photograph was first published in 1998. The accompanying text in Tigers in Combat II (p.211-213) does not refer to the Tiger tank in this photo specifically and so it is unclear which one of the Tigers mentioned in the text was knocked out in this fashion. The tank was part of the schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 (later redesignated as the 501). Schneider notes in his preface that this section of his book was written primarily by a former member of that battalion, former SS-Oberscharfuhrer Horst Wendt. A summary of the text is as follows:

The 1./schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 was reconstituted with fourteen Tiger II tanks (with the Henschel turrets) and given training in July 1944. The regiment arrived by rail near Paris on August 18, 1944, and then moved west towards the Sailly - Limay area and began supporting German infantry in a series of counterattacks against Allied forces that had crossed the Seine River in that area; these forces were mainly the US 79th Infantry Division. Two Tiger IIs with Porsche turrets from schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 were integrated into this company. The German infantry suffered heavy losses in the attacks and so the Tiger tanks began a fighting retreat from the Sailly area, initially in a northward direction, going through Magny-en-Vexin and Gisors, engaging British Shermans along the way. The Tiger regiment took a series of losses in this steady fighting, leaving only five Tigers by August 31, 1944. These Tigers then turned in a northeasterly direction towards Belgium, going through an area near Lamecort. Near the Belgium border, at Brunehamel, 2 Tigers knocked out several US tanks. One Tiger ran out of fuel at Jemappes (now Mons, Belgium) and was abandoned. Another ran out of fuel in La Capelle, France, just short of the Belgium border and was abandoned. Two Tigers entered Huy, Belgium on Sept. 4, 1944 and were probably abandoned (their fates are not specified). Only one Tiger survived the retreat through France and Belgium and was sent by rail back to Germany.

The Tiger II losses are described as follows: one was knocked out by the 749th Tank Destroyer Battalion, four were knocked out or damaged/abandoned by unspecified anti-tank guns, one was tipped over by bomb misses from a fighter-bomber attack, three were knocked out or damaged/abandoned by unspecified gunfire, one broke its final drive and was blown up by the crew, one was knocked out by British Shermans, two ran out of fuel and were abandoned, and two were recorded as lost at the end of the road march in Huy, Belgium for unspecified reasons.

Although it is unclear how the Tiger II in the photograph was knocked out from the front, the most likely candidate during that period of combat would have been a British 17-pounder gun, either mounted in one of the British AFVs (the Sherman Firefly being the most common) or as a towed anti-tank gun, and possibly firing an APDS round.

One interesting aspect of the story of this Tiger regiment is that the mobility and durability of the Tiger IIs in this action in northern France contrasted sharply with the later performance of the battalion as a whole, reconstituted as the schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501, in the Ardennes Offensive. There, the Tiger tanks suffered a high rate of breakdowns and other mobility kills. The Ardennes presented a far different terrain, however, than northern France - instead of a mostly flat countryside with a well developed network of excellent roads, the Tigers had to travel through hilly and heavily wooded terrain, with much poorer road and weather conditions. By the time of the Ardennes offensive, training of new crew members had also declined, which led to several driving accidents resulting in the loss of Tigers.

Another interesting aspect of the story is that despite taking casualties from the heavily armored Tigers, Allied tanks, tank destroyers, and anti-tank guns did persist in taking on the Tigers, which were usually outnumbered, and thus could be flanked and knocked out.

DarthRad (talk) 22:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

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Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current17:31, 16 February 2017Thumbnail for version as of 17:31, 16 February 2017367 × 271 (24 KB)DatBot (talk | contribs)Reduce size of non-free image (BOT - disable)
20:27, 7 September 2009No thumbnail800 × 592 (268 KB)DarthRad (talk | contribs)Caption from photo in ''Tigers in Combat II'' (p. 237) states: The tanks saw only limited action during the final days of August 1944, when they were employed in an effort to eliminate the US bridgeheads over the Seine River in the vicinity of Limay. Th
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