75mm Sherman Vs Tiger

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Dave55, May 11, 2018.

  1. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2018
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    If memory serves, a non-Firefly Sherman of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 'subdued' a Tiger at short range by weight of fire and caused it's crew to bail out.

    And ramming a Tiger II worked for the Irish Guards!
    dbf likes this.
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Almost impervious to Allied 75mm fire but not to mechanical breakdown.

  4. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The 'fit' numbers for the 3 Tiger tank units in Normandy show they were no 'safer' than a Sherman or a Pz IV. It may be an advantage that it takes 3 hits to knock you out compared to 1 for a Sherman but when you are taking on numbers in the region of 5-1 and more there are always going to be those 3 hits.
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    But it looks like it wouldn't matter if there were 100 Shermans. If the range wasn't well under a 100 yards for a frontal shot or 200 yards from the side, there wouldn't be any penetration.

    Like firing all day at the sloped metal backstop of a firing range with a rifle.
  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Wasn't the side armour of a Tiger tank "just" 80mm thick?

    Also, firing tests with 75mm against a Tiger:
    Tank Archives: Sherman vs Tiger

    That isn't to say that the Tiger was not well protected against 75mm fire. But there are so many other factors, like whether one was attacking or defending.
  7. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    You just have to look at the photos of the knocked-out Tigers (I &II) that littered the fields of Normandy to realise they were being knocked out off on a regular basis. Work backwards from reality instead of a projection from theory.
    The TII had its combat debut in Normandy and for all its claimed superior/invulnerable armour achieved the square root of F-All
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  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Not arguing reality. I never believed the TV history shows that claimed the 75 couldn't penetrate the front of a Tiger at point blank range but it looks like physics says they are right.

    I know they were knocked out but I don't see how 75mm AP could go through the front armor.
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I recently read this interesting pdf. produced by one of the members on here, on...

    "12-1-2016 Destroying the Panthers: The Effect of Allied Combat Action on I./SS Panzer Regiment 12 in Normandy, 1944 Arthur Gullachsen" (Focusing on Canadian experiences in Normandy)


    Albeit there aren’t many mentions of German Tigers in there, though cases of 75mm Shermans vs actual Tigers did occur, actually finding accounts of such and investigating them has probably occupied a lot of people over the years.

    However pitting a 75mm Sherman vs. a Tiger and asking whether the "Sherman 75mm stand a chance" - I guess the answer is yes, it did stand a chance.

    There are a quite a number of passing ref’s to possible Tigers in the SRY war diary…

    i.e. On 12th June 1944: “St PIERRE was not counter-attacked during the night much to the surprise of us all.
    7 Armd Div attacked SULLY and the Regt. was given the task of protecting their left flank.
    “A” Sqn again worked in the vicinity of Pt.102. and found that some Tigers and Panthers had worked up into the woods during the night. This resulted in a game of hide and seek in the woods between ourselves and the enemy tanks. However they skipped away before we could engage them. The 24 L. had some tks KO’d by German Inf. Lying low and firing P.I.A.T.s from very close range. ??? Hutchinsons 17. Pdr tank was K.O’d by a 50mm at very close range. In the evening the Regt drew back to the vicinity of BAYEUX in order to re-organise.

    And 26th June 1944: “A Sqn remained on Pt.102 and C Sqn tried to push through the village of FONTENAY. The rest of the Bde tried to attack from the WEST but this was a complete failure owing to the thickly wooded country and presence of a wide stream which presented a complete Anti-Tank obstacle. Late in the evening the Regt was ordered to complete Phase III of the operation which was to advance from FONTENAY to RAURAY, a distance of 2,500 yds. No plan had been laid on either with Arty or Inf, so after moving A + B Sqns down from the high ground into the area of FONTENAY, I had a conference with the Inf Comd and Gunner O.P. in order to make such a plan. We had to do this at Inf. H.Q. in Fontenay, which was in an orchard under heavy enemy mortar fire. The Inf had had rather a sticky time and were not at all enthusiastic about giving us any sp. However, we eventually decided that a very heavy artillery concentration should be put down on all suspected enemy locations on our line of advance from FONTENAY to RAURAY and that this should be called for according to the speed of our adv. The Inf should follow the tanks for the first thousand yards and then dig in. The attack was to start at 1730 hrs. At 1720 hrs the C.O. was sitting in the middle of FONTENAY, inside his tank with a raincoat over the open turret to keep out the rain which had been falling incessantly. He was speaking to Bde H.Q. on the air, and the leading tank of A Sqn – John Senken himself had just passed me up a very narrow street no sooner had he passed then round a corner approaching from the opposite direction came a “Tiger” tank. Fortunately John Senken had an armour piercing round in his 75mm. which he released immediately followed by six others. Most of the shots hit the front of the tank but did not penetrate, but eventually he scored one on the turret ring which made the crew bail out. “C” Sqn led for the first part of the adv. following behind an excellent concentration put down by our guns. “A” Sqn passed through and began to meet some real opposition. However they had a most successful shoot and knocked out approx. 13 enemy tanks, of which Sgt Dring claimed four. They eventually reached the outskirts of RAURAY which was defended by German Infantry dug in. It was impossible to get them out of their trenches in spite of firing at them with everything we had and throwing hand grenades. Ronnie Crellis was in one of the leading tanks, and was trying to deal with a German Infantryman from his tank, but eventually dismounted, and dealt with him on foot. At nightfall, we drew back and another Bn of the D.L.I. arrived to dig in. However they dug in short of RAURAY and we left B Sqn with them all night, while the rest of us drew back to leaguer.

    27th June 1944: “B Sqn sent out two tps to find out the position in RAURAY. Unfortunately, the Germans had brought up some tps which they cleverly concealed in some trees and knocked out Ray Scott and his trp. Sgts Biddel + Green were also killed during the morning. RAURAY was eventually cleared of the enemy and in the village itself we found about 8 or nine enemy tanks including Panthers + Tigers and Mk IV’s which were in various stages of being knocked out. 2 of these a Tiger + a Panther were in complete working order and we brought them back to our lines.

    28th June 1944: “A Sqn was relieved by 4/7 D.G. who with the Inf. were to attack the high ground 1,000yds South of RAURAY, and marked on the maps CONTOUR 110. Unfortunately Army has claimed our Tiger and Panther, which we had hoped to use against the Germans. However we plastered them with our Bde sign the Fox’s Mask and Regt’l No. 996.”

    And 1st August 1944: “B + C Sqn with their Inf continued the small Right Hook type of attack from West + South West of CAHAGNES. A Sqn came u/c of 214 Bde and with 5 WILTS was given the task of making a thrust to PT.361 (735505) South of BOIS DU HOMME, an advance of 6-7,000 yds. They advanced steadily reaching their objective in the evening. Opposition was not strong but included a JAGUAR, which was destroyed. At PT.361 3 Tigers were spotted, one of which was destroyed and the other two becoming bogged we captured them. In the evening orders were received for the Operation “BLUECOAT” the objective of which are JURQUES (7451) RD JUNC (768505) ONDEFONTAINE (7948). We are again with 130 Inf Bde – C with 7 HANTS, B with 4 DORSETS and A with 5 DORSETS. A Secn of 3 Pn 210 Coy RE’s are u/c.”

    19th November 1944: Includes this: ““C” Sqdn: knocked out three “Tigers” during the morning. The two troops operating with 333 U.S. Inf: Regt: enterd GEILENKIRCHEN + took 300 prisoners without loss.”

    So I'd agree that it was hard, but not impossible to stand a chance with a 75mm, if you hit them in the right spots, from the right distance etc.

    But they didn't just have 75mm Shermans, and you could always use the 75m Sherman's to blind the Tiger crew with HE while the Firefly in your troop hit them with their AP.

    However there are many factors involved and though the SRY would have liked to have "kept their Tiger" and fought with it, they would still have kept their 75mm Shermans and Fireflies as you can't win a war with just a Tiger ;-)
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
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  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Tigers have been described as under powered but above all suffered from adverse mechanical reliability from being over engineered.The question regarding being under powered resulted in the operational instruction that a Tiger should not tow another but they resorted to it in an emergency during the Battle of Normandy.

    Sloping armour protection was an innovation ensuring that the impact angle would never be at 90 degrees.Seems that Tigers were crippled where armour had no remit,ie wheels and track.There was also the inherent disadvantage that the turret traverse speed was slow enabling an adversary to get around away before the gun could be trained on them.

    Some tank pundits have said that the investment in Tigers would have been better spent if self propelled guns were manufactured instead.

    One thing is certain that the Sherman 75 mm could not match the German 88 mm gun,a versatile gun if ever there was one.
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  11. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    As an anecdote, it appears most Tank Regiments' Troops in NWE adopted a policy of either smoking the Tiger or engaging with HE as the 6 Pounder then engaged - but given this was often backed up by M10 17 Pdr you have that extra dynamic in the mix.

    Suspect much more lurks in 'interesting' files at Kew and Bovvy on all this.
  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I think I've read that they also used WP White Phosphorus for that too, when available.

    Over engineered or poorly engineered? ;) But I agree that reliability was awful.

    The suspension was just plain stupid.
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  13. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Around a third of all hits were on the frontal aspect of a tank. The rest went in the sides and rear.
    This is an example of a Allied attack on an invulnerable Tiger that would (if we did not have the account of the Tiger crew) be used as a classic exercise in futility. The US crews probably bored everyone to death with their (incorrect) war stories about how hopelessly outclassed they were by the Tigers:

    From Duel in the Mist 3 by Haasler, Vosters, and Weber; a small engagement on 22 December 1944 involving a tank of Task Force Lovelady and a tank of Kampfgruppe Peiper in the Belgian town of Parfondruy:
    US veteran Charles R. Corbin recalls:
    ...I went upstairs in a house on a hill behind us to observe better. There under our nose was a large German tank in some trees. After telling Plummer and Edmark we got artillery on it and flushed it out where one of Company D's tanks had a clear shot at it, and shoot it he did, but three balls of fire bounced off of it and it backed away never moving its turret. It had to be a Mark VI Tiger. It made us all wonder and I know the tank gunner was shaknig his head, feeling helpless, as it backed up the railroad on our left flank. I had seen our 75s bounce off Mark V tanks before, the last time near Roetgen where they wiped out several of our tanks...
    The tank was indeed a Tiger Ausf.B, number 133 of 1./s.SS-Pz.Abt.501. TC SS-Oberscharführer Werner Wendt relates his side of the engagement:
    ...I started again in the direction of Stavelot trying to give my best. About fifty meters in front of the edge of the town my driver suddenly swung around our tank. The interphone isn't working, I don't know what happened. The driver drove back at full speed, passing the command post in the direction of Petit Spai. About 100 meters in front of the bridge we drive into the ditch. Only now can I see the reason for the sudden turn-around of the driver. We have received a hit into the turret ring. The shell had bounced downwards into the hull, torn off the hatch of the radio-operator, and killed the radio-operator...Fragments had destroyed the steering gear and the gearbox, oil was leaking. As the driving mechanism and gear shift was conducted by oil pressure the failing oil pressure caused the tank to run out of control. The Tiger was totally immobilized.
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  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    The infamous "shot trap "!

    Sidney Radley-Walters illustrated this shot trap effectively in the television series The Valour and the Horror; the round underside of the mantlet would deflect solid shot downwards into the hull of the tank if hit at the right angle, either killing the driver or co-driver, or possibly setting off the ammunition stored in the sponson.
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  15. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Though touted as being a 'Panther' problem it was a general defect. The firing trials done on a Tiger and 3 Panthers showed it could happen to either. The TII example I gave shows it was vulnerable too.
    The 'lucky hit' that jammed turrets or deflected into the crew compartments of the Tiger/Panther are nothing to do with chance. Fire enough shells and some are bound to find the weak-spots. Tiger '114' hit near Rauray had one shell bounce-up from the track into the crew-compartment, one deflect-down from the mantlet into the crew compartment as well as one strike blowing off half the drivers -visor and sending splinters into the crew compartment.
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  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Gruesome, but interesting.

    I have read that in some cases (American?) soldiers misidentified any German tank as a Tiger. I don't know if that is true, but the SRY diary quoted above seems reliable given the tanks they captured and the account of jamming the turret of one. I like that they plastered the Fox insignia on the captured tanks before giving them up to HQ.
  17. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    It was actually very easy to confuse a Tiger with a Mk IV: both had 'boxy' shape turrets (especially when you take a quick glance at the spaced armour on a Mk IV) and similarly 'boxy" shaped hulls. Couple that with the effect of camouflage, the speed of War and the tricks that light can play when there is lots of smoke and dust around, and it's not surprising that tanks could be misidentified. The 'Tiger myth' had also started by the time of Normandy and, let's face it, an embellished account is more impressive to an audience: "grandad fought Tigers" sounds far more impressive than "grandad fought Mk IVs". The 24th Lancers came up against both Tigers and MkIVs so credit where credit is due but......their so-called 'Tiger Tiger Night' should probably have been called 'MkIV MkIV Night' (they were up against the Panzer Lehr and 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer Divisions in the Tilly sur Seulles area at the time, specifically Point 103) even though it doesn't sound so good!
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  18. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    It is stated that a "German Panther, mounting an 88mm gun" was knocked out by "C" Squadron 24th L's Sgt. Stan Cooper (who was in a 75mm Sherman) on p156 of "None Had Lances" with -

    "We fired on the move, the first shot from about twenty-five yards. It hit the glace plate of the enemy and bounced away in a shower of bright red sparks. I told the gunner to come up a bit and he fired again, hitting the 88mm gun mantle. This shot may have stopped or slowed up the turret traverse of the German, which was in any case, very slow on the Panther. The third shot hit the turret and flew off, as ineffective as the first two. I told the gunner (who was "Busty Simpson" - added Rm) to take more time and try for the turret ring, which he did with success and to our great relief the enemy tank flamed."

    ...and in the actual 24th L war diary it states...

    "Tessel Wood - 25/6/44 At 2230 hours some Panthers stalked ‘C’ Sqns position from the East, coming very quickly up hedgerows. The Sqn deployed into suitable concealed positions and switched all engines off. By the time the Panthers were within range it was too dark to use the sights. Finally, one Panther was blown up by one of ‘C’ Sqns tanks at a distance of only 25 yards. The Sqn opened fire on what tanks they could see but the darkness prevented any accuracy and the remainder of the Panthers slipped away. "

    Here's something my grandfather wrote in a letter home in late June 1944...

    24th Lancers - Tessel Wood (c25th June 1944)

    "Eric came in with a broken leg. I didn’t see him. Next day we came back to the FDS (Forward Delivery Squadron) for another crate. After that more stuff was getting off at the beaches so we were eased off. Those first few days were a bit hectic, there wasn’t much stuff around and this country is thick with trees and high hedges, there could be a hidden Boche in every hedge and you just couldn’t spot them We didn’t rely much on the French, they are only farmers and haven’t done too badly.
    One other little thing Sgt. Cooper was sat in a hedge late one evening when a Tiger tank came up, he didn’t know what it was until it was twenty five yards away, Cooper is quite bold, so was the Boche and they sat there looking at each other for a moment. Cooper was quickest to the draw and got the Tiger."

    I suppose, though I am just guessing, that my grandfather and perhaps even Cooper and his crew perhaps thought in the gloom (and told) that the tank was a Tiger but it was soon realised that it was a Panther. Or that when you were writing home to kin etc. it didn't really matter to draw fine distinctions between Tigers and Panthers etc.

    There are quite a few mentions of "Tigers" in NHL and the 24th L war diary. i.e. including here (for example) from the 24th L war diary...

    26/6/44 - "‘B’ Sqn engaged targets to the East and succeeded in destroying two Tigers."

    Les Hauts Vents - 28/6/44 - In the afternoon, Recce Tp moved out to the Tessel Wood feature and ‘B’ Sqn returned to the Regiment which moved to a fresh defensive position in the Les Hauts Vents area. Recce Tp maintained wireless touch with the Regiment in case the Regiment should be needed to engage the enemy counter attack on the Tessel feature. During the day, Officers and men of the Regiment took the opportunity of examining a Tiger and a Panther tank which had been captured intact by the Sherwood Rangers.

    Given the nature however of the bocage etc. and just how close the enemy actually often were I wondered perhaps how wise the Germans were to actually have deployed them there. They might perhaps have been just of more use in the East, or kept for "more open country" - etc. and not put into the bocage.

    There is also a quote - for example - in Kevin Baverstock's "Breaking the Panzers" on p63 - "The fact that the 24th Lancers were able to outscore the enemy during the battle (of Rauray) perfectly demonstrates how a defender could gain an advantage over an attacker in the Normandy countryside"
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  19. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Are you referring to the data collected for ORS study 17? I recalled that the conclusion was that there was no point up-armouring the front, so I went and had another look.

    The study, supposedly a representative sample of Sherman KOs looked at 45 tanks that received 65 hits.

    These were broken down into turret/hull and front sides and rear.
    distribution of hits.jpg Overall the proportion hitting the frontal aspect was 19/65 around 1/3.5. But this is distorted by the relative position of turret and hull.

    12/28 hits were on the turret front - just under 1/2
    7/37 hits were on the front ,around 1/6th - roughly in proportion to the relative area for each aspect.

    These are BGO but suggests that combat can occur with the tank hull at any aspect to the enemy, but half the time the crew are likely to traverse the turret to face the enemy that KO'd. Oh and all three of the failed penetrations were on the turret one failure on each aspect.
  20. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Another veteran reference to the 'shot trap' at the 26:00 mark in this video.

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