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Tiger 1--what a weak point hit can look like


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This is a most apt example of the beloved by the shooter and dreaded by the recipient weak point hit. If the below mantlet hole looks like where the gunner's sight is supposed to be, you'd be right, but he's not around anymore. That particular tank survived the hit, as well one to the radio operator's position via the side armor. He didn't make it, either. Both blanket wrapped corpses are visible on the hull top.

tumblr_oqzmcmwe491rqpszmo1_1280.jpg

The tank of the SS division “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler” (SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) sitting on the armor destroyed tank “Tiger” Pz. Kpfw. VI ), in the Kharkov region. During the battle, a shell hit the mantlet (almost in the hole for sight) had killed his gunner. The second shell that hit the starboard side above the tracks, was killed by the radio operator. Covered the bodies of the dead lay on the armor, in front of the tank.  Image Credit: https://bmashina.tumblr.com/page/64

Regards,

John Kettler

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Bulletpoint,

If it was Kharkov, where was LSSAH fighting and against what Russian force? Was it attacking static defenses or engaging in mobile warfare? Knowing the answers would help define the threat set. At this stage of the war, the Russians have 45 mm, 57 mm and 85 mm (DP role for 85 mm) ATGs, 76.2 mm tank/Su-76 cannon and 122 mm howitzer firing HE in both towed and SPG form. To get a 122 mm cannon with true AP (APHE), you're talking at least Army level, though the guns might actually be in a division's sector. Symmetry of damage and lack of typical HE extensive frag damage indicate a DF engagement with AP, not a HE hit. That's as far as I can go for now. The presence of a penetration or two for the gunner's sight creates an unusual situation in which an AP hit (not Arrowhead) may be able to create a considerably larger hole than usual because it has already got a situation in which a precursor penetration exists and is able to exploit this. Given this, I deem it possible this is 76.2 mm AP.

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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Andy,

Looks awfully big for a 57 mm hit, but that's merely my military technical opinion. The penetration dynamics with an already there through and through looks to me like a HerrTom or ArgusEye type problem, for we are on territory not envisioned by standard terminal ballistics.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Possibly too early for the 85mm gun, I'm going with the theory that the shot to the gun-sight was deliberate (6pdr gunners would do similar in NWE), as both of the visible hits are perfectly placed to penetrate a Tiger I and the hull and turret are not peppered with non-penetrating hits.....So whatever he was using, the gunner knew exactly what he was doing.  It is my recollection that the high-velocity 57mm ZIS-2 Guns were reserved to deal with German heavies, hence my wider theory.

The camo scheme of the Tiger in the picture is quite unique (I know for a fact that Dragon have kitted this vehicle, but sadly it's the one 1/72 Dragon Tiger I kit that I don't have).....So tracking it down shouldn't take me too long (I'll probably just ask over on ML TBH).

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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c3k,

If I could be sure static defenses were being attacked, I'd agree in a heartbeat, but the only way to be sure is to have solid data on the whereabouts and activities of LSSAH during the Third Battle of Kharkov. (Goes off and does a bit of research). Okay. Higher ordered a stupid direct attack into Kharkov proper, where I would reasonably expect to find the 85 mm playing 88 equivalent. 

Andy,

Given the extensive documentation on Tiger tanks, perhaps one of those zillion dollar Fedorowicz books has the skinny on this Tiger and cause of loss.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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Larger photo:

 q8pfmcrsbo3z.jpg

and a comment:

"According to TIFF, the original photo caption stated that only the Gunner "Willems" died and Commander "Philipsen", was heavily wounded.
"11.03.1943 - The Tiger and a KW1 shot at the same second and both were immobile at the same time. Tiger gets a hit right into the optics on the gun mantlet and the shell exploded in the turret."

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Actually, the hit was a bit above the two (binocular) gunsight holes. They should be close to the lower edge of that hole. But the mantlet is not of reinforced type, and the armor in gunsight area is thinner (there is an indentation from the inner side). From 95 to 110mm and weakened by the gunsight holes.  

http://tiger1.info/EN/Telescope-holes.html

And the shot was probably from close range.... 

I guess this penetration was a reason for reinforcing this area in later versions. Reinforced mantlets seem to be tougher :).

 King_Tiger.png24.png

Still - unlucky hit  into ( or only a few centimeters from) the hole with >=85mm AP would IMO get trough anyway.... 

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Well hardened AP rounds often penetrated RHA armor undamaged and undeformed. They were designed to penetrate intact, so were made to be  harder (in front part) than armor they were supposed to penetrate.  Chances of shell breaking up or it's deformation were higher If the hit velocity was very high and armor thick, or the armor was hit at an angle.

Probably not much German Pzgr 39s survived penetration of T-34 frontal slope in bursting condition. They either penetrated in damaged condition and did only kinetical damage - still enough to knock-out the crew, but in many cases only left big holes in T-34s armor with pieces of steel thrown inside (injuring or even killing the crew), but actually bounced away.

From some T-34 crew memories (of 1944-45) - clean penetrations of T-34 front hull armor were rare. Armor was not especially hard to be holed, but in most cases those were partial penetrations. Once after the fight they found several holes in front armor, and an unexploded shell in the fighting compartment, but luckily no one was seriously injured. 

Seems for me that the T-34s 60-deg sloped armor saved lives of many, many tankers which would be killed with shell burst if they fought behind vertical or 30-45deg sloped armor of equivalent thickness...  Thin sloped armor didn't stop all the shells, but damaged the penetrating ones and made less effective after penetration.

Edited by Amizaur
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/19/2017 at 11:15 PM, John Kettler said:

Bulletpoint,

If it was Kharkov, where was LSSAH fighting and against what Russian force? Was it attacking static defenses or engaging in mobile warfare? Knowing the answers would help define the threat set. At this stage of the war, the Russians have 45 mm, 57 mm and 85 mm (DP role for 85 mm) ATGs, 76.2 mm tank/Su-76 cannon and 122 mm howitzer firing HE in both towed and SPG form. To get a 122 mm cannon with true AP (APHE), you're talking at least Army level, though the guns might actually be in a division's sector. Symmetry of damage and lack of typical HE extensive frag damage indicate a DF engagement with AP, not a HE hit. That's as far as I can go for now. The presence of a penetration or two for the gunner's sight creates an unusual situation in which an AP hit (not Arrowhead) may be able to create a considerably larger hole than usual because it has already got a situation in which a precursor penetration exists and is able to exploit this. Given this, I deem it possible this is 76.2 mm AP.

Regards,

John Kettler

You might find this very useful   https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-victory-in-russia-george-m-nipe/1111951643

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