"Every tank became a Tiger"

Discussion in 'General' started by Swiper, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Any idea where this quote comes from? Just as 'every gun became an 88.'

    Or am I misremembering quotes... googled to no avail.
  2. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I may be wrong but I think it's from Armageddon by Max Hastings.
  3. Combover

    Combover Guest

    I can see the logic behind a quote like that. It's similar to the Germans 'Spitfire Snobbery' in the Battle of Britain.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It was me on here.
    "Every tank became a Tiger and every gun an 88"
    Don't ask me what thread it was in.
  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I may be wrong but I think it's from Armageddon by Max Hastings.

    The Hastings quote is (and on it's own is out of context without the wider paragraph) "Yet 'tank terror' was a phenomenon familiar to the allied infantryman, who also convinced himself, usually fallaciously, that every enemy armoured vehicle was a giant Tiger"

    Close but no cigar! :)
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here ya go told you it was me.
    If the Soviets were anything like the Allies in NW Europe EVERY German tank became a Tiger. Lots of memoirs refer to Tigers when it can be proved none were there.
    The Pz III M & Pz IV H, with their extra armour, must have confused quite alot of soldiers into thinking they were looking at a Tiger.
    Also every German AT-Gun seems to be an 88.

    Post #195 here.
  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Here ya go told you it was me.

    Indeed it was, and from three years ago too. How long have you been looking for the link? :D
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    A lot of post 1940 British medal citations that refer to a tank by make normally say Tiger
  9. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Owen likes this.
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I've also seen a statement in a war diary or intelligence summary that the Pz IV's turret schurzen was a deliberate attempt to make make it look more like a Tiger. But I can't remember where, either...
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    In the game Combat Mission every German tank shows as as a Tiger until it comes close enough for positive identification and is then revealed as what it really is: from a lowly PzII through a Maus :D
  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  13. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Fantastic stuff guys.
  14. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hang on friends... Hang on!...The only people saying every tank was a Tiger is the Authors, and we all know how they exaggerate.

    The main tanks we came across was the Panzer Mk 4, the Panther, and rarer, the Tiger. There was such a huge difference in the shape and size of the three main battle tanks, that it would be difficult to not identify . That it.

    We only came across the King Tiger once, and that was on the way to take part in market garden, when we came across the German arms dump with a brand new king tiger in a sandy coloured camouflage.Spanking brand new. Spud and myself decided NOT to go inside....Booby traps were everywhere.

    But the idea that every tank seen was thought to be a tiger is nonsense. That there was a general term for all enemy armour to come under the general genre of Tiger would not surprise me. But I can assure anyone here the troop knew exactly what they had in front given a fair sight...They were completely different.... There is no mistaking a genuine Tiger, its bloody massive, and it had a bloody great big long gun on the front. The panther is lower and smoother and the mark 4 stands up.

    PS Apart from the Sherman I had more difficulty in identifying our own tanks.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Brian, Ref my post No.8 - The medal citations were written by soldiers/officers who were there at the time not authors.

  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I've a feeling that One of the contemporary after-action reports covered in ATB's 'Ruckmarsch' refers to this, RAMC or RAF post-battle damage survey. Maybe something contemporary in Fletcher's Tiger book, Buckley or Ken Tout too...
    Can't really check till after Chrimbo though.
    May be be wrong. Mind like a smoke-damaged sieve.

    Interesting to attempt to pin the origin, but I suspect it was so widespread it'll be damned tricky.

    (If an allied int. report does suggest that schurzen was a deliberate attempt to mimic Tiger, I'd have some doubts about that. Armour function following Turret form and associated coincidence more likely.)
  17. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    In the documents I've read they get it 'right' 50% of the time, and the infantry shot up a derelict Churchill as they were positive it was a Tiger.

    From what I've read, Tiger fear was real for many tank crew as the Germans often camoflagued their vehicles making it harder to tell. Its in one of my paragraphs looking at German tanks.

    Or is Tiger fear a more modern invention?
  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    No, 'Tiger Panic' is definitely mentioned in contemporary stuff, to the extent edicts (pamphlets even? Sieve-mind kicking in here) were issued about it from on high.
    Will endeavour to dig something out later tonight... in between Christmas nonsense.
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Alright, sod Christmas for the mo...

    Buckley has a reference in 'British Armour in the Normandy Campaign' to a june 16th SHAEF report saying that Mk.IVs were being deliberately disguised as Tiggers, but this was countered straight away by someone explaining what schurzen were.

    Concern spreading in High command as further Technical evaluations of Tigger were carried out -Dempsey in 21AG combat report that; 'at the present time our armour is fighting under a considerable handicap'. - Buckley then cites: "However the greatest source of the panic that began to filter out to Britain was XXX Corps HQ, undoubtably still in shock after the reversal at Villers Bocage" ... 16/06 Report from Brig H Pyman to Erskine that "recent operations had revealed the Tiger & Panther tanks now form a high proportion of the equipment of German Armoured Regiments" - (Not correct, but seems to have led to further pessimistic reports being compiled).
    Buckley has more on this buildup of fear, but I'll try and scan the whole thing later.

    Monty gets progressively more "infuriated" at the tone of some of this stuff and it's affect on morale etc. - issues a public letter to Grigg (SoS for war) on 25/06 claiming all was well:

    "...we have had no difficulty in dealing with German Armour, once we had grasped the problem. In this connection British armour has played a notable part.
    We have nothing to fear from Panther or Tiger Tanks; they are unreliable mechanically, and the Panther is very vulnerable from the flanks. Our 17-pdr gun will go right through them. Provided our tactics are good we can defeat them without difficulty."

    Also issued 'Memo #506' on 06/07 containing Grigg letter and further notes on dealing with the big cats.
    (Book's well referenced, so I can probably dig out citations for any of you archive-ites that may want to check more deeply.)

    His defence of British Armour, and dismissal of the Tiger & Panther were certainly somewhat overstated, but he was definitely doing so in response to a contemporary fear/panic/whatever that he felt needed nipping in the bud.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Don't forget it worked the other way too; in 1940, looking at Montefiore, there are several examples where advancing German forces were attacked by British tanks...which in reality were charging Bren Gun Carriers!

    I think I've said it before - every tracked vehicle is a tank of whatever class....when you're an infantryman!

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