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How did the Tigers perform during the Normandy campaign?


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Teddy_Bear #1 Posted Nov 10 2017 - 23:58

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My friend and I had a brief discussion regarding the Tiger tank in Normandy, and to my surprise, I couldn't find any numbers regarding their performance - at least nothing consistent. Does anyone know what sort of kill ratio or other numbers the Tigers had during the campaign?



Strike_Witch_Tomoko #2 Posted Nov 11 2017 - 00:07

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View PostTeddy_Bear, on Nov 10 2017 - 15:58, said:

My friend and I had a brief discussion regarding the Tiger tank in Normandy, and to my surprise, I couldn't find any numbers regarding their performance - at least nothing consistent. Does anyone know what sort of kill ratio or other numbers the Tigers had during the campaign?

 

i believe the kill to death ratio was like 4:1 in favor of the tiger (or was it 4.13  to 1....)

 

it was largely less than it should have been, as the germans didn't expect quite so many tanks to come so early from a landing.     nor did they expect the sea wall to break so fast.

 

so most of their armor was on the opposite flank(russian). leaving mostly pz4s pz3s, on the western front (though there were a few tigers and panthers.  but majority were on the other front)

 

add to that what tanks they did have found bridges blown up,   roads full of potholes, and railways derailed (courtesy of the french resistance), and what vehicles they had were late to their destinations.

 

 

alot of german units got isolated from their own side.

 

 

 

even after this,  tigers were mostly sent to the russian front (where russians were deploying more and more heavier armor like KV)

 

Western front saw more panthers sent to it than tigers due to the panther being, in all regards, overkill for dealing with the shermans and croms.   

 

heck, considering the tactics of the allies on the western front,  the Pz4 was more than enough,  but again....numbers....germans lacked them on both fronts

 



Ie_Shima #3 Posted Nov 11 2017 - 00:09

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Well, Wittman and his Tiger of course, but that has been claimed as false or exaggerated.  

 

Aside from that, what I could find on Tiger 1's was from a compiled group of German reports after the war.  Evidently only 126 Tigers were in or around Normandy during the invasion months, and their numbers appear to have dropped drastically the longer the invasion went on.  

 

Here is the link:

http://lonesentry.co...k-normandy.html


Edited by Ie_Shima, Nov 11 2017 - 00:09.


Ie_Shima #4 Posted Nov 11 2017 - 00:11

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View PostStrike_Witch_Tomoko, on Nov 10 2017 - 18:07, said:

 

i believe the kill to death ratio was like 4:1 in favor of the tiger (or was it 4.13  to 1....)

 

it was largely less than it should have been, as the germans didn't expect quite so many tanks to come so early from a landing.     nor did they expect the sea wall to break so fast.

 

so most of their armor was on the opposite flank(russian). leaving mostly pz4s pz3s, on the western front (though there were a few tigers and panthers.  but majority were on the other front)

 

add to that what tanks they did have found bridges blown up,   roads full of potholes, and railways derailed (courtesy of the french resistance), and what vehicles they had were late to their destinations.

 

 

alot of german units got isolated from their own side.

 

 

 

even after this,  tigers were mostly sent to the russian front (where russians were deploying more and more heavier armor like KV)

 

Western front saw more panthers sent to it than tigers due to the panther being, in all regards, overkill for dealing with the shermans and croms.   

 

heck, considering the tactics of the allies on the western front,  the Pz4 was more than enough,  but again....numbers....germans lacked them on both fronts

 

 

​You have to remember that a lot of Allied tankers claimed that the tanks shooting at them were Tigers.  Its far more difficult to say what exactly destroyed the tank next to you, than it is just to say that it was a Tiger.  

 

Id say that most of the Tigers in Normandy were taken out fairly quickly by Allied aircraft.  



Isola_di_Fano #5 Posted Nov 11 2017 - 00:49

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150 Tiger 1 in Normandy in 4 units by D-Day. Availability rarely exceeded 50% due mostly to engine and transmission problems.

Accounts differ but it all concluded they were all lost by September 44; destroyed or abandoned.

Kill ratio difficult to assert: seems to be in the 2.5 to vs 1 ratio on the Western front, a bit more on the East.

 

Lots of info out there, lots of it seems exaggerated/propaganda.

 

Edit: another 90 or so Tiger 1 will be sent West by the end of war.

2nd edit : http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/393107-tackling-the-tigers-killloss-ratio/

 


Edited by Isola_di_Fano, Nov 11 2017 - 00:57.


Otter_von_Bismarck #6 Posted Nov 20 2017 - 20:52

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The overall KDR for the 3 Schwere Panzer Abteilung deployed in Normandy was 3.9:1 while the direct combat KDR was 10.6:1 (48 Tigers to 510 Allied tanks, not including other vehicles and guns). This can be compared to the average KDRs for all the s.Pz.Abt and III/Pz.Reg GD of 5.44:1 and 12:16, respectively.

 

So Tigers were comparatively less effective in Normandy, but still performed well after tactics were adapted to account for the terrain and the different challenges that the western front presented, namely the difficulty in moving under allied air superiority. Of course mechanical failure/lack of fuel accounted for most of the 132 "in transit" loses, rather than the myth of rocket firing typhoons tearing up Panzer formations.



Zinegata #7 Posted Feb 20 2018 - 11:51

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View PostOtter_von_Bismarck, on Nov 21 2017 - 03:52, said:

The overall KDR for the 3 Schwere Panzer Abteilung deployed in Normandy was 3.9:1 while the direct combat KDR was 10.6:1 (48 Tigers to 510 Allied tanks, not including other vehicles and guns). This can be compared to the average KDRs for all the s.Pz.Abt and III/Pz.Reg GD of 5.44:1 and 12:16, respectively.

 

So Tigers were comparatively less effective in Normandy, but still performed well after tactics were adapted to account for the terrain and the different challenges that the western front presented, namely the difficulty in moving under allied air superiority. Of course mechanical failure/lack of fuel accounted for most of the 132 "in transit" loses, rather than the myth of rocket firing typhoons tearing up Panzer formations.

 

Lol, that's completely ridiculous. The British lost around 1,600 tanks in total in the Normandy campaign. Are we to believe a tiny handful of Tigers (the 30 or so available at any given time) accounted for nearly half of them of them? What about the seven Panzer Divisions, numerous Panzerjaeger Abteilung (one per infantry division) and 88 flak units, mines, and troops with Panzerfaust doing then?  

 

The kill claims of the Schwere Panzer Abteilung are simply Nazi fanfiction, which is no surprise given they were losing the war at this point and grasping at any straw to keep Hitler from shouting at them for failing the Fatherland.

 

The simpler reality is that no one has a really good idea of how many Allied tanks the Tigers killed, but German intelligence routinely reduced kill claims by their own Panzer battalions by at least 50% and in rare cases where post-war verification was possible the Tigers often killed more Allied tanks than were actually present.

 

As noted in this article, which shows just how ridiculous the kill inflation is:

 

https://panzerworld....ank-kill-claims

 

As has been demonstrated above, the kill claims of German units cannot be trusted. When claims can exceed the actual losses by more than 300 percent, they cannot be considered credible as even a rough estimate of how many tanks the individual units destroyed. Thus, the number of kills attributed to German tanks aces and individual units must be considered as nothing more than the propaganda as which they were originally intended.

Unlike what is sometimes claimed when such conclusions are presented, this is not disrespectful to the veterans who made the claims; the notion that the truth and the pursuit thereof can ever be disrespectful is absurd, and a disservice to those who are actually interested in history.

Another common reaction is that the kill lists, while incorrect, is the only source available. While small engagements involving a limited number of tanks can sometimes be tracked with a high level of accuracy, it is true that there are usually no alternative source with which it can be estimated how many tanks each unit or tank ace destroyed. Using this fact to argue that the kill lists therefore have some merit is however a fallacy; in the absence of good sources, the correct response is not to use sources that are known to have serious errors, but rather to declare that we don't know and move on to other fields of study.

Emphasis mine. German kill claims are simply fanfiction and lies, routinely exceeding actual Allies losses from all causes.


Edited by Zinegata, Feb 20 2018 - 11:57.


pops82 #8 Posted May 04 2018 - 20:44

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Tigers were not used at the start of Normandy. Hitler would not release them to the front. When he finally did only 150 tanks went to the front. 30% broke down on the way. Others never saw combat for various reasons. Only a handful saw actual tank battles and they had a 7 to 1 kill ratio. They were out numbered so the kill ratio was way off and never really saw their full potential. Russian front the kill ratio was much higher due to the open terrain They were ahead of their time and if they had ever gone into full production things would have been different. Many of it's designs are used in today's modern tanks still.

1Sherman #9 Posted May 17 2018 - 18:59

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The reason why the Tiger Is in Normandy had such a high K/D ratio was because they were operating from defensive positions where they could stay hidden until they fired off the first shot. Remember that Steven Zaloga tells us that whoever gets off the first shot has the advantage because they've already got a bead in the target and they have the element of surprise. The problem, however, comes from the sheer numbers that the Allies were fielding and the mechanical problems of the Tiger I. It's been said by at least one former German tanker that for every American tank they hit, 20 more came to the funeral. As well, not only was the M4 able to take on the Tiger I on a relatively level playing field (The Chieftain will tell you that as well), but the Tiger I also broke down like nobody's business because its drivetrain, engine, and suspension were all designed for tanks half its size and were so complicated that you needed a top-notch crew to keep them maintained, while the M4 rarely broke down and could easily have parts swapped off it in the event something did break.

Zinegata #10 Posted May 23 2018 - 03:04

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View Postpops82, on May 05 2018 - 03:44, said:

Tigers were not used at the start of Normandy. Hitler would not release them to the front.

 

101st SS Schwere Panzer Abteilung was ordered to Normandy on June 6. The problem was that the heavy tanks took time and railroads to transport hence they arrived only on June 12th.

 

The idea that German Panzers were not "released" by Hitler is a myth. 12th SS for instance got the word to move towards the beaches on the 6th, but confused intelligence and the need for preparation meant they only really got into the fight on the 7th; and only with a handful of Panzer IVs. 

 

The reality instead is that Panzer Divisions really took time to move - and the movement was slowed by Allied airpower bombing all the supply routes. When they did get to Normandy they tended to be wasted in poorly conceived counter-attacks. For instance quite a few of the 12th SS's Panthers were already out of action in the first week of June, as they were thrown at the British who rather easily knocked out the attack just using Shermans and 6-pounders. Indeed, the British won so easily that they didn't even realize that the Germans considered it to be a major counter-attack.

 

In short, the fabled "Panzer counter-attack to drive the Allies back to the sea" scenario actually happened. It was in fact constantly attempted from June 6 to around early July. The problem was that it never really had the effect of earlier Panzer offensives, as both the British and American infantry forces were frankly much stouter on the defensive by this point and they were in fact easily swatting away most of the attacking Panzers. Part of this was also due to the fact that Monty also kept up his own attacks - even at high cost in lives and material - which prevented the Panzers from recovering and gathering their strength for a massed multi-Division counter-attack instead of individual assaults by just one or two Divisions.

 

Indeed, the reverse happened - it was the Allies who were able to build up a fresh reserve in the Contentin which is why the Cobra breakout was pretty much unstoppable.


Edited by Zinegata, May 23 2018 - 03:17.


Zinegata #11 Posted May 23 2018 - 03:10

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View Post1Sherman, on May 18 2018 - 01:59, said:

The reason why the Tiger Is in Normandy had such a high K/D ratio was because they were operating from defensive positions where they could stay hidden until they fired off the first shot. Remember that Steven Zaloga tells us that whoever gets off the first shot has the advantage because they've already got a bead in the target and they have the element of surprise. The problem, however, comes from the sheer numbers that the Allies were fielding and the mechanical problems of the Tiger I. It's been said by at least one former German tanker that for every American tank they hit, 20 more came to the funeral. As well, not only was the M4 able to take on the Tiger I on a relatively level playing field (The Chieftain will tell you that as well), but the Tiger I also broke down like nobody's business because its drivetrain, engine, and suspension were all designed for tanks half its size and were so complicated that you needed a top-notch crew to keep them maintained, while the M4 rarely broke down and could easily have parts swapped off it in the event something did break.

 

Allied numbers were never the issue at the tactical level, as Normandy couldn't really support massed tank attacks that would allow the Allies to maximize their tank force.

 

The problem was there were never enough available Tigers to begin with. 101st SS Schwere Panzer Abteilung averaged less than 9 available Tiger tanks for most of June and July - the rest having been damaged during Villers-Bocage or knocked out by their own obesity. Moreover the Tigers were supposed to be a reserve force designated to lead counter-attacks, and its officers were oriented with this mindset.

 

They were in fact rarely employed in a static positions. That's why Wittman ended up getting killed in the first place later in the campaign - he basically charged forward without reconnaissance and his entire platoon got shot to pieces by Allied tanks.

 

The lion's share of the anti-tank work in Normandy on the German side was in fact done by towed anti-tank guns and Stugs; both of which were harder to spot and could pour fire with relative impunity at Allied tanks. The Panzers were instead thrown in when the frontline began to crack, and the resulting tank vs tank confrontations simply resulted in mutual annihilation. 

 

There is a tendency among modern German armor fans to claim that German armor forces were less experienced by 1944, which is why they were getting beaten by Western Allied tank forces; but it's increasingly clear that the problem lay more with the fact that the German Panzer tactics never evolved from its earlier "shock and awe" mindset. Against unprepared enemies - like the Soviets in 1941 or the Americans at Kasserine - simply charging with a lot of tanks was often enough to scare and intimidate entire armies into fleeing or at least slowing down. By contrast British and American infantry by this point were not easily "tank shocked" and had a well-established system of anti-tank defenses. 


Edited by Zinegata, May 23 2018 - 03:24.


FangTheCat #12 Posted Jun 01 2018 - 15:48

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By contrast British and American infantry by this point were not easily "tank shocked" and had a well-established system of anti-tank defenses.  

 

It was also noted that if you pushed the Germans off a position then their faithful (some might say dogmatic) adherence to doctrine would demand they put in a counter attack very quickly, so the Allies knew what was coming and could prepare for it. This devotion to their doctrine often brought the Panzers from out of their well-prepared (as in well concealed with good sight lines and range estimations) defensive positions into the bright light of day into the teeth of direct and indirect fire.

 

Of course the big ask is to ensure you have the AT assets ready to deploy and one of the main complaints about the 17lber is that it was quite heavy and slow to deploy, so from what I have heard it was mainly 6lbers that fronted up in most cases.

 

The mule-ishness of the towed 17lber is probably why the Archer seemed such a neat idea. As a ‘normal’ TD it’s a bit of a What The Flip were they thinking? But if you look at it as a way to get a 17ber in action pretty quickly then it makes a lot more sense.

 

I don’t think the Tiger II’s had a good time of it in Normandy either, breakdowns, heavy bombing, lack of fuel and spares will degrade the abilities of even the biggest Uber-Kitty (and of course mad Irishmen using their Shermans as battering rams doesn't help one bit.)


Edited by FangTheCat, Jun 01 2018 - 15:53.


Sister_Mary_Gearchange #13 Posted Jun 02 2018 - 09:40

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View PostFangTheCat, on Jun 01 2018 - 15:48, said:

 

It was also noted that if you pushed the Germans off a position then their faithful (some might say dogmatic) adherence to doctrine would demand they put in a counter attack very quickly, so the Allies knew what was coming and could prepare for it. This devotion to their doctrine often brought the Panzers from out of their well-prepared (as in well concealed with good sight lines and range estimations) defensive positions into the bright light of day into the teeth of direct and indirect fire.

 

Of course the big ask is to ensure you have the AT assets ready to deploy and one of the main complaints about the 17lber is that it was quite heavy and slow to deploy, so from what I have heard it was mainly 6lbers that fronted up in most cases.

 

 

 

 

Ahhhhmmmmmm.....   

 

The Germans certainly did love their "immediate counter attack" doctrine.  But that's because it worked more times than it didn't.  What never seemed to have occurred to them was that the Allies knew it was coming *and would always be back to take X back off them again*.  It became a simple matter of numbers and the Germans didn't have the numbers.  That's also why you get tanks thrown into battle in dribs and drabs.  When the Germans did stop, think, and launch formal operational or strategic level attacks then the tanks were used more effectively.  Ardennes offensive, anyone?

 

As for Tigers and the like, they suffered, as others have said, from lack of reliability and a distinct inability to move much in daylight with confidence.  Two other aspects in there as well - they were almost always separate units so they lacked built up experience with whomever they ended up operating with, and the heavy independent units were often SS units and they were, despite reputation, simply not that good.  Look at the performance of cohesive units like Panzer Lehr - they did far better than the SS units and the random independent Army units.  Didn't do them any good in the long run, obviously, but solid training and cohesion are important and simply something the SS independent tank units always lacked.

 


Edited by Sister_Mary_Gearchange, Jun 02 2018 - 09:41.





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