75mm Sherman Vs Tiger

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

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    In defence of Tiger:

    Not usually my thing - firm believer first & foremost that Tiger was 'Just another tank' - but worth watching the swing of the pendulum doesn't go too far.
    • 'They could have made more of 'x' instead of Tiger'.
      Well, not really (though mention of battleships was made, that might queer the discussion). In terms of AFVs, you cannot say one 50t Tiger will swap for two 25t Mk iv or similar. Base steel is not the issue - each tank requires one gun, one engine, one transmission, a set of sights, bearings, etc. Special materials are where the bottlenecks occur in the real world. Crews also do not magically appear, nor POL.
    • What choice did they have? Easy to decry the 'wunderwaffen' feel of some German stuff, but with resources that increasingly obviously could not equal their opposition's capability, where else does a warlike state turn than to technological solutions? Tiger not the best example of this as it's roots were pre-war, but that attempt to create quality over quantity is reasonably strategically defensible.
    • The suspension: Yes, often say myself 'how many postwar tanks have interleaved wheels?'. None indeed, an evolutionary dead end... but... the concept behind it, before hitting the real world of frozen mud & impossible to access repairs, was understandable. The aim was a stable ride for very heavy machines using 30s/40s technology. (They obsessed over it for Panther, which is where to look if really interested in what was being done) & it was envisioned by engineers who thought their machines would have a proper support network of transporters & specialised equipment. German testing was thorough, including very long cross-country & road runs - but Russian ground conditions have caught out many previous military endeavours.
    • Panzer IV was maxed out. End of life, overweight, tyre-shreddingly, unbalanced & long-gunned to buggery. It may be the only machine in continuous wartime production, but despite assorted experiments from hydrostatic drives to recoilless big guns it was not a logical future platform as allied heavies came on stream. Right or wrong on specifics, Panther & Tiger were a requirement rather than a luxury overindulgence. Nobody really knew how much war was to come.
    • 'Over-engineered'. This one's a bugger, as while I'd not dispute Tiger's unreliability, what, exactly, was 'over-engineered'? Just plain overweight maybe more the word: all that ambition and 'MBT with BFG' concept lead to weight beyond what contemporary German engines & transmissions could happily handle. The Maybachs used were remarkable but due to space constraints were thin-walled & fragile beasts. 'Under-engineered' might describe them better as they struggled to meet demands with what was physically possible in the period. Difficult terms, though - is 1940s engine tech pushed to the max over-engineered, or just as much engineering as was possible. T34 etc. might have been simple by comparison, but again, Germany required a 'better' solution to make up for other short-comings. The suspension was a bit weird in engineering terms, but not apparently a prime source of complete vehicle failure. It had a normal steering wheel & associated faffing- no biggie. A very large HV gun was put into the field on a fully turreted 'proper' tank. Not bad really.
    • The transport/action track sets I cannot defend. Silly.
    Swings & roundabouts.
    Had its flaws like any other machine.
    Neither a panacea nor a laughable mess.


    And on the 'could a 75 work against Tiger?' - could we not be one of those 'penetration' obsessed forums? :)
    I dunno if it's a chap thing, but no war was fought on paper using scientific tables. Plainly, M4s, Churchills, Cromwells, T34 etc. etc. fought Tiger, and won. (above & beyond its poor reliability.)
    If I sat you in the best possible 50t motorised armoured box and flung enough c.15lb projectiles at you at c.2000ft/s; you'd give up eventually whether penetrated or not.
    As MK's example shows above, there are so many other ways to make the fleshy bits inside lose the will than cutting the armour.
  2. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I find the term 'Over-engineered' to be somewhat nebulous and in looking at the formal definition, it doesn't quite fit the Tiger.
    The second part is more accurate and I would generally favour the description of 'needlessly complex' vs 'over engineered'. Adam could well be right in that the 'ask' for that heavy tank was simply beyond the engine/transmission technology of the time and led to compromises.

    Defined as "the additional designing of a product to be more robust, extra featured than is deemed necessary for its primary application to be completed successfully or have an unnecessarily complex process that produces an outcome inefficiently".

    Perhaps it's cultural. I find German cars to be much the same way. Or, pure human nature. I have also noted that over decades of working with IT development teams that very often they have a decided preference for working on what is new, cutting edge and simply more interesting to them than actually delivering on a basic specification. They are very bright people and often bored to tears working on mundane development.
    The working conditions, user community, interfacing systems, maintenance, primary purpose, budget and business objective are often secondary considerations. The output may work but can be a less than optimal solution.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    What's the fuss? Those emissions are well legal.
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  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Taking a look at some of the more recent "Tiger tank" related content on youtube...

    Tiger tank - YouTube

    I see that there are a few designers and alpha / beta testers of simulators that are aimed at testing the Tiger tank vs. "the competition"... with the aim presumably of getting "immersive realism"...
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

  7. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    The definitive panel discussion on Tigers!

  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This was made about 5 months ago (as at mid May 2018)...

    With a couple of mentions about the British and the Shermans at about the 6 min and 10 min marks...

    British Armour Doctrine & Tactics World War 2 with David Willey of the Tank Museum at Bovington

    Published on 8 Dec 2017

    David Willey the Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington explains British Interwar and World War 2 Armour Doctrine and Tactics. Especially, about the Infantry and Cruiser tank "concept". Additionally, we talk a bit about the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, Montgomery and Rommel.
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  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    This document shows 75mm had good success against Tigers and Panthers. The shot trap got one of the Tigers referenced. I wonder if the other Tiger that was thought to have been shipped to the UK is still around.

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  10. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There are 3 Tigers referenced in that and it is almost certain it is just 2 with one described twice. One of the Tiger was used up as a range target and the other just 'vanished' when it was in the UK.
  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Clearly all three Tigers were examined close-up after the fact. No one could have mistaken the damage to the third for the first or second, so let's set that aside.

    The first was engaged at 120 yards and the second at 1000 yds. Both are described as facing the firer.

    I personally don't see how these could be descriptions of the same tank. The shooters were different as well.
  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Found this on Quora:

    From a Commonwealth Perspective, Normandy June 6-Aug 12 1944

    Source: Army Operation Research Memorandum C6, A Survey of Tank Warfare from D Day to 12 Aug 1944, published 27 May 1952

    85 Tigers in the theatre of interest on July 16. Total Tigers destroyed in the period under study was 132.

    (Zaloga 2014 states that 187 Tigers were destroyed in NW Europe- so we can see that the Commonwealth forces in Normandy were the many protagonists of the Tiger on the Western front)

    Shermans engaged Tigers on 19 occasions in this study (mixed engagements were considered separately). See Appendix B serials 1–19.

    The maximum number of Tigers engaged was 8,

    The mean number of Tigers was 3.2

    Total Tigers destroyed by Shermans 25

    Total Shermans destroyed by Tigers 12

    The maximum number of Shermans engaging was 31

    Mean number of Shermans engaging was 6

    Mean engagement range about 450 metres the minimum range was 100 metres and the maximum 1200 metres.

    In 15 out of 19 engagements the Shermans were victorious, 7 of which was when they got in first shot.

    On only 1 occasion where Tigers fired first did the Shermans win.

    On 7 engagements it was unclear who fired first.

    In the other 4 engagements the Tigers were victorious, each time with the Tigers engaging first.

    14 engagements occurred in close terrain (see engagement range figures above), 1 built up area and 1 open. with the others undetermined.

    There were 3 one-on-one Sherman v Tiger engagements, listed below by victor, bold indicates fired first. Ranges and terrain given:

    #6 Sherman 100 metres, terrain close

    #16 Tiger 100 metres, terrain close

    #17 Tiger 460 metres, terrain close.

    Victor is whoever fired first- nothing can be determined from these 3 engagements about tank quality.

    In one engagement, (Serial 9 in original report) a single Sherman engaged 6 Tigers, gaining 3 kills. Range unreported, terrain close, unclear who fired first.

    On another occasion- (see Paul Adam’s answer perhaps), a Sherman engaged two Tigers, killing both, range unknown, terrain unknown, Sherman fired first - serial 13 of original report.

    Note the Sherman troops normally contained 1 Firefly and the 17 pdr kills were not disaggregated in this report.

    From an US perspective:

    Note that the US forces engaged fewer Tiger 1s than Commonwealth forces. In the reference below, the only named German tank type is the Mark V (Panther), all the others are lumped together in the data tables, albeit types can be identified from some reports, as shown below.

    Data taken from Ballistics Research Laboratories No 798 (1954) which surveys 129 tank engagements by the US 3rd and 4th Armored Divisions in NW Europe Aug 1944–March 45. The types of Sherman are not disaggregated, so the abilities of 75 mm and 76 mm cannot be ascertained from this data alone

    Of the 129 engagements documented, a grand total of THREE involved Tigers- serials #11, #19 and #69. Tigers may have been engaged elsewhere, as some tanks were not identified in the report- but this only occurs a handful of times, and considering Tigers were rare, means that the chances of Tigers being involved elsewhere is rather small if we use a Bayesian approach.

    Let’s deal with these three engagements:

    #11: Involved Tank Destroyers, not Shermans- so discounted for this answer.

    #19: Five Shermans engaged 1 Tigers and 2 Pzkpfw IV at 900-1000 m as the German vehicles retreated. The German tanks did not seem to see the Shermans and were knocked out.

    #69: A Tiger attacked an unkown number of Shermans. The Shermans fired first and hit the Tiger at about 1400 m- details unclear- including angle of attack and the fate of the Tiger!

    I don’t think much can be learned from the US experience owing to such weak statistics.

    However, there is NO example of a Tiger tank running amok or being able to hold up substantial US tank units for any period of time. There is a single example of a Tiger 2 platoon destroying a column of Shermans in 1945. Details of this can be found in Zaloga ‘Duel: Pershing v Tiger by Zaloga (2017)
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  13. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Having looked at this in great detail from both sides it is clear to me that two of the accounts describe the same action and the same Tiger.
    These two:

    Tiger Rauray.jpg

    I am 100% sure this is 2 different peoples view of the same action that has been mistaken for two separate actions and two seperate Tigers..
    This is the Tiger here from 0m 7s:


    The Tiger described as having multiple frontal hits is the same Tiger that also had a hit on the drivers visor conflated as 'drivers periscope' in the account because that one Tiger has both all the frontal hits described as well as the damaged drivers visor.
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  14. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There is but one single-Sherman with multiple Tiger-kills claim that is 100% accurate. That of 8/8/44.
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  15. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Ok well, one Tiger is described as having brewed up while the other was in good enough condition to ship to the UK. If you want to conclude they were the same tank, go for it.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  16. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    It is quite simple really. The report is not accurate. If you are taken it as gospel then I can understand why you are mistaken.

    If you compare all the versions of this story you can see that it is the first described Tiger which is said to have burnt out.

    Ludvic Fortin British Tanks In Normandy H& C 2005 ISBN 2915239339
    In a different style, Major Semken, commanding A Squadron from Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (8th Arm.Brig.), emerged the winner of his encounter with a Tiger I on 26 June, during Operation Epsom: moving round a house corner in the main street of Fontenay, his tank found itself face to face with a Tiger, only 50m away. Before the Panzer could change position, the Sherman’s gunner fired six 75-mm shots in a row, and one hit the turret ring, causing the crew to bale out: the Tiger was captured almost intact.

    Anthony Beevor.
    D-Day Penguin/Viking 2009 ISBN 9780670887033
    page 231
    The following morning, a Sherman of the Sherwood Rangers, ‘on turning a corner in the centre of the village came face to face with a German Tiger tank trundling along the road. Fortunately the ` Sherman commander had an armour piercing shell in the breech of his 75 mm. gun which he released at 30 yards’ range and then followed up with another six shells in quick succession, which brewed up the Tiger The next day, the Sherwood Rangers cleared Rauray, after losing several of their tanks. Their greatest prize was an abandoned Tiger tank in perfect running order. They even painted their brigade A sign of a fox’s mask on it, but orders came down from XXX Corps headquarters that it must be sent back to England. It was the first to be captured intact in Normandy

    Stuart Hill, By Tank Into Normandy.
    Cassell 2002 ISBN 0304362166
    page 107

    Meanwhile A Squadron had begun moving up from Fontenay, the
    plan being that they would come through us and thrust towards Rauray.
    John Semken was Squadron Leader and he had already heard from C
    Squadron that there were tanks about, so his gun loader put an AP shell
    up the spout, just in case. As they cleared Fontenay, they were suddenly
    confronted by an enormous tank coming round the bend in front. It
    was hard to know who was more surprised, but John shrieked, 'Fire,
    it's a Hun', and they loosed off about ten rounds into the smoke. As
    this cleared away, it was observed that the crew were baling out as small
    flames came from inside the tank. It was a Tiger of 12th SS Panzer, the
    first Tiger to be captured in Normandy, and made an impressive sight at
    close quarters as both its size and the thickness of its armour became
    apparent. Although the range had been only sixty yards, not one Sher-
    man shell had penetrated that armour. The fire in the Tiger, we discov-
    ered, had instead been caused by a shot hitting the side of the driver's
    observation visor and showering white-hot splinters into the tank. The
    driver had screamed that he had been hit and the commander had oblig-
    ingly ordered his crew out.

    Stuart Hill clearly identifies the first described Tiger as a victim of Semkin (described as Squadron Commander by Lt Fearn in the first Tiger mentioned) so that matches.
    Hill then says 'small flames' came from within the tank and that 'the fire' was caused by a hit on the drivers visor that forced red-hot splinters into the tank. That becomes 'brewed up' in the account of the first Tiger.

    So the first Tiger mentioned was hit on the drivers visor and it is said to have 'burnt out'.

    Then we have the second Tiger said to be a victim of Dring.
    It is said to be 'hit on the drivers periscope' and 'recovered for shipment to the UK'

    You reason that as the first Tiger 'brewed up ' and that the second Tiger was 'in good enough condition to ship to the UK' they must be two different Tigers.

    Here is the first Tiger showing (as Hill describes) the broken drivers visor where the splinters penetrated.
    The number is '114' and the whole top half of the drivers visor has been blown away. It is pictured in England after it was shipped to the UK.

    Tiger 114 uk.jpg

    Below is a rear view showing it was marked with the 8AB insignia as it awaits shipment to the UK . This is mentioned in the account of Beevor. '114' is visible on the turret bin.

    Tiger-114-Rauray-captured (8).jpg

    Clearly the tank is not burnt out.

    Thus the first Tiger (numbered 114 and wrongly described as burnt out) and the second Tiger (numbered 114 and in good enough condition to get shipped to the UK) are the exact same Tiger.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  17. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    OK! Ok! Uncle!

    What is your conclusion about the report related to Sergeant Dring? It seems then like it must be nothing so much as a fairy story.
  18. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    It appears to me the writer listened to several accounts and made the mistake of recording two versions of the same incident as a 2 separate incidents. There were 3 Tigers knocked out in that small area and it would be a simple thing to conflate the 3 actions and mix up the details. It was an A Squadron encounter as it left Fontenay and Dring was in A Squadron.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  19. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The SRY wardiary: (see also post #9) above - "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.”"

    Incidentally, so as to not get quite too confused etc. on Shermans to reiterate Dring's (SRY) tank was a Firefly? Help requested with Sherwood Rangers Sherman census numbers

    Hence: "On page 63 of David Render’s book, ‘Tank Action,’ he lists names of the (75mm) Shermans of 5 Troop as, “Aim” (Render’s tank), “Archer,” and “Arrow,” with their attached Sherman Firefly being, “Akilla.” " (Dring's tank)

    Though as mentioned above in post # 32 "Note the Sherman troops normally contained 1 Firefly and the 17 pdr kills were not disaggregated in this report."

    Sherman Firefly - Wikipedia

    So in his (Dring's) instance - not a 75m Sherman : M4 Sherman - Wikipedia

    Also of interest: Sergeant George 'Killer' Dring

    Alan Slater




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  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The photo shows Akilla to be a 75mm M4.
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