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King Tiger Armor Strength


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No, sorry, the terms of the duel are set by some actual historical matchups, not a clay pigeon firing range.

The Germans get a full platoon of 4 King Tigers, plus one company of green FJ infantry. Their mission is to take a US held town. The American defenders have no tanks at all and only 2 76mm towed anti tank guns (with APCR to be sure) as heavy AT weapons. But they also get a full infantry battalion, 1 155mm and 2 105mm FOs - and air support from 10 P-47s. (This actually happened on the northern flank of Peiper's break in, during the Bulge).

Second situation. The Germans get 2 King Tigers and a company of veteran panzergrenadiers. Their mission is to take a complex of stone buildings held by some American defenders. The defenders have 2 companies of veteran paratroops and 1 company of regular engineers. Every squad gets demo charges. The stone building complex is ringed by deep woods, though the area immediately in front of it (facing the Germans) is open fields, with low stone walls, and a slope down to the buildings. There is snow on the ground. It is night. No artillery or other heavy weapons for either side. (This also happened at one point, near the tip of Peiper's column).

Third situation. The Germans get 2 King Tigers and 2 Panthers, 2 platoons of veteran panzergrenadiers, and a platoon of SPWs carrying the second of them - the first is riding the tanks. They are attacking down a wooded road. The American defenders have a platoon of Sherman tanks, 2 with 76mm guns and 3 with 75mm guns, 2 platoons of regular armored infantry, 2 platoons of veteran airborne infantry, and 1 platoon of regular engineers. They have plenty of bazookas - like 12 of the things - and the engineers have demo charges as well. The forested road is one tile wide and winds alongside steep terrain on one side, falling off into a rocky gorge. The other side is a steep forested slope, rising above the road. The Americans also get 1 roadblock and 5 AT minefields.

Same comment, pretty much.

Best out of 3 is the winner.

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I agree with the historical consensus that the time, effort and resources used for Hitlers fascination with super tanks was a colossal waste.

Quite the opposite. Without the heavy tank battalions the Germans would have collapsed sooner on the Eastern front. It was simply not possible to recover these situations with medium tanks. IE. Citadel, Prussia 1945.. These tactical successes (keeping the German army intact despite losing the initiative) were the backbone of so many actions and were achieved by the heavy tank battalions supporting other units. In fact, they remained mostly successful throughout the war.

The Panther was never suited to a breakthrough tank and by late 1944 and 1945 especially, were even by the Germans considered simply too weak against the soviets, especially in counter attacks that were crucial to not further stagnate the defense as well as preventing encirclement. Also they simply lacked the manpower and resources to maintain a large fleet of tanks ill suited to the situation at hand. And the Panther was still a somewhat problematic machine, made even worse by the decline of the industry.

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Vanir Ausf B,

Okay, APCR. Have brain trained from CMx1 to carefully remember to use "T" rather than "HVAP" for U.S. rounds of this type. As far as the ability of the 90mm to penetrate a King tiger's turret frontally, I've so far unearthed no such combat account. If I had my 1944 FM 17-12 Tank Gunnery, I could look up the penetration curves for the various 90mm projectiles, but it may not exist anymore, given I have no idea what happened to the rest of my library!

(goes off and does online research)

Lone Sentry has the charts (the whole manual, for that matter), but not the magnify feature (bit of an eye test), and the firing trials are against a Panther.

http://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/90-mm-ammunition/

Regards,

John Kettler

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Quite the opposite. Without the heavy tank battalions the Germans would have collapsed sooner on the Eastern front. It was simply not possible to recover these situations with medium tanks. IE. Citadel, Prussia 1945.. These tactical successes (keeping the German army intact despite losing the initiative) were the backbone of so many actions and were achieved by the heavy tank battalions supporting other units. In fact, they remained mostly successful throughout the war.

The Panther was never suited to a breakthrough tank and by late 1944 and 1945 especially, were even by the Germans considered simply too weak against the soviets, especially in counter attacks that were crucial to not further stagnate the defense as well as preventing encirclement. Also they simply lacked the manpower and resources to maintain a large fleet of tanks ill suited to the situation at hand. And the Panther was still a somewhat problematic machine, made even worse by the decline of the industry.

You bring up some good points and I don't dispute what you've mentioned. The heavy tank battalions were crucial. But was the overall cost worth the effort? Would it have been more useful to have not spent time designing and producing the Tiger I, King Tiger and Jagdtiger and use those resources to just focusing on the Panther, Jagdpanther, maintenance and assault rifles.

Back to my original thesis. Take the enormous resources allocated to designing, producing and fielding the super tanks and instead allocate 50% to making more Panthers, 20% to producing more assault guns, 20% to maintenance and the remainder to the new assault rifles.

True the Panther was outclassed in many, but not all ways with the huge Soviet tanks like the JS series, but I would bet that till the wars end the bulk of the Soviet tank force was still the T-34 and the Panther matched up well against the T-34. The JS series would no doubt be a problem, but not an insurmountable one and having more tanks to deal with it would have eased the situation as the Soviet super tanks could not be everywhere at once.

20% of the resources used for German super tanks to making more assault guns. You can make more assaults guns from the resources used to make tanks. The Jagdpanther mounted a similar 88mm mounted on the Tiger. Its low profile made it ideal for defensive operations which by the end of 43 were the type of war Germany was fighting. It also shared the same chassis as the Panther and this would have made a big logistical difference. Having just 2 main tanks Panther and Jagdpanther to support would have been a much easier task than the myriad of different tanks Germany was trying to field and the fact the Panther and Jagdpanther shared the same chassis would have eased the maintenance and logistical issues considerably.

20% of the resources to maintenance of the German tanks. This would translate into more maintenance units, training for those units as wells as more recovery vehicles and those vital but overlooked things such as winches to pull tank engines, not to mention spare parts. Combine the 20% more for maintenance and limiting the newly developed tanks to just the Panther and Jagdpanther with the commonality of the chassis and you now have a tank force that is far more sustainable. Recovering an abandoned Panther or Jagdpanther is far easier than a King Tiger which was a nightmare to recover. The TigerI was also not very easy to recover.

10% of the resources used for super tanks to mass producing assault rifles and ammo of the assault rifles. That's a lot of FG42's and MP44's in 1943/44. That would have really made a difference especially on the Eastern Front where the German infantry often had to face hordes of Soviet troops with a bolt action rifle. Tanks without infantry support become very vulnerable.

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To Karakekian - the Germans conquered Europe in Panzer IIIs with short 50mm main armament or less. They lost it in Panthers and Tigers. The usefulness of heavy tanks and superior gun and armor specs is extremely exaggerated by tactical wargames and tactical wargame players. It literally never mattered for the outcome of any full operation (which means armies for months, not regiments for hours).

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To Karakekian - the Germans conquered Europe in Panzer IIIs with short 50mm main armament or less.

As well as the Panzer II, 38t, a lot of horses etc. We could simply conclude that the war was futile in itself and end the discussion. But as it happened, they were really, really motivated to fight this one out, whatever the outcome.

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Sounds like the same situation for Japanese fighters that were produced in 44. On paper they were far superior to American fighters. In fact when captured Franks and NiKi's were test flown at Miramar the American test pilots were stunned at their characteristics performance-which in the hands of a good pilot could best the P-51, P-47, Corsair and Hellcat.

In reality the subpar material used caused issues such as landing gear collapsing, bad engine wear and performance and the lack of experienced maintenance crews and pilots meant the Japanese fighters never really lived up to their potential-except for a few instances where all the right ingredients were in place.

It was also the lower-grade fuel quality that hampered Japanese aircraft performance.

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