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"King Tigers Vs. Shermans and Fireflys ?" Topic


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frankietanch Inactive Member10 Dec 2012 5:56 a.m. PST

Hi guys, my history sucks big time, and recently I bought a bunch of King Tiger, Shermans and Fireflys at 1/72 scale and was thinking to do a scenario on them.

Question: Was there a real battle fought using King Tigers Vs. Shermans or Fireflys [or both] ?

Were King Tigers common during WWII and did they deploy agst the Russians?

Was it Adennes or somethings? Thanks in advance !

Personal logo taskforce58 Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 6:11 a.m. PST

King Tigers were in Ardennes facing off US Shermans, but no Fireflies. I believe they were also present during the British/Canadian breakout from Caen in July 1944, and would have fought against both Shermans and Fireflies.

Shark Six Three Zero Inactive Member10 Dec 2012 6:28 a.m. PST

King tigers were active in Normandy but not in large numbers. In the Ardennes they had a difficult time negotiating the narrow roads and had mechanical problems.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 7:01 a.m. PST

The King Tiger (which, as I recall, is not an exact translation – I thought it was supposed to be "Bengal Tiger" or something like that but King Tiger has stuck) was produced in relatively small numbers – just under 500, as I recall – but did see a fair bit of service

As noted, Schwere Heerespanzerabteilung 501 was issued with King Tigers prior to the Normandy Landings and was active in Operation Atlantic and Operation Goodwood, so there is the chance for your Shermans and Fireflies to have at them – plus also as noted were active in the Ardennes

The first batch of the King Tigers had major reliability problems related to leaky gaskets which the Germans had pretty much solved by late 1944, but the problem of poor quality construction material pretty much dogged the King Tigers until the end of the war

Personal logo Jamesonsafari Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 7:07 a.m. PST

A company of King Tigers were used to counterattack the big British armoured attack in Operation Goodwood. So KTs vs. Shermans and Fireflies right there.

nickinsomerset10 Dec 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

Of course it was during Goodwood that the legendary ramming incident took place,

Tally Ho!

Warlord10 Dec 2012 8:19 a.m. PST

The King Tiger (which, as I recall, is not an exact translation – I thought it was supposed to be "Bengal Tiger" or something like that

That is exactly correct; my research yielded the same results – funny how we embellish the Germans.

link

Also make sure to check for gun type, the M1 76mm gun is a far better gun than the 75mm that was more common on the Sherman tanks and in some cases makes a big differences in a tank fight (especially against Tiger 1s).

Warlord

Dynaman878910 Dec 2012 8:20 a.m. PST

The Germans had some King Tigers in Market Garden, not sure if they fought any Fireflys though. The one scenario I have with them they are attacking the Red Devils in the Arnhem area.

Having KTs fight Fireflys in the Bulge is possible, if things had gone any worse the Brits would have gotten more involved.

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member10 Dec 2012 8:57 a.m. PST

I have quite a few photos of abandoned, dead and disabled Tiger IIs after the Ardennes. Robert

Jemima Fawr10 Dec 2012 10:35 a.m. PST

As Frederick said above, though it was Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung 503, not 501. The unit had a single company (No.1) of Tiger II (round-fronted, Porsche turret type) and two companies (Nos.2 & 3) of Tiger I. The battalion suffered losses even before seeing action, when it was heavily bombed just prior to Operation 'Goodwood'. This is the unit photographed just before being bombed:

picture

And after being bombed:

picture

Although it was theoretically an independent battalion, it spent the campaign shoring up the depleted 21. Panzer-Division. It fought against Guards Armoured Division on the eastern flank of Operation 'Goodwood', including the incident mentioned by Nick, where a Sherman commanded by one Lt Gorman of the Irish Guards successfully rammed a Tiger II! So yes, British Shermans and Fireflies were certainly encountered.

picture

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After the 'Goodwood' battles, it was rushed west with 21. Panzer-Division to launch a diastrous counter-attack against Operation 'Bluecoat' at St Martin-des-Besaces, where it once again encountered Guards Armoured Division.

picture

Following this abortive attack, the remnants of the battalion, along with elements of 21. Panzer-Division and 10. SS-Panzer-Division 'Frundsberg', mounted successive rearguard actions against 43rd (Wessex) Division and 8th Armoured Brigade (again with Shermans and Fireflies) at the Bois du Homme, Jurques, Mont Pincon and Le Plessis-Grimoult. At this last village, the unit suffered the ignominy of losing a Tiger II to a 2-inch mortar:

picture

The unit lost four more Tiger II on 18th August, when they had to be scuttled by their own crews. Two more were scuttled on the 20th an it's probable that the Tiger IIs ceased to exist on this date.

Some other Tiger IIs were encountered by the Americans during the breakout from Normandy:

Five Tiger IIs (again, Porsche turrets – these were experimental radio-control tanks belonging to Funklenkpanzer-Kompanie 316) had been sitting in a railyard in southern Normandy. The crews then attempted to use them as pillboxes to cover the retreat:

picture

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Two companies of Henschel-turreted Tiger IIs were also in France, on their way to reinforce the 503rd and 101st SS Tiger Bns in Normandy, when the German defence collapsed. These tanks were usually found abandoned, but a few mounted spirited rearguard actions against American units across northern France and Belgium before being overwhelmed.

Mako1110 Dec 2012 11:26 a.m. PST

They were deployed on both the Western and Eastern fronts.

Personal logo jdginaz Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 12:27 p.m. PST

My understanding is that the Tiger IIs in the Ardennes were stuck behind other units during the German attack and were never engaged in combat.

Gravett Islander10 Dec 2012 2:19 p.m. PST

Mr Davis, "the unit suffered the ignominy of losing a Tiger II to a 2-inch mortar" !!!!!!!!!!!!
How did that happen? Round dropped into an open hatch? More info please, I won't be able to sleep tonight!

Steve Wilcox10 Dec 2012 3:06 p.m. PST

Mr Davis, "the unit suffered the ignominy of losing a Tiger II to a 2-inch mortar" !!!!!!!!!!!!
How did that happen? Round dropped into an open hatch? More info please, I won't be able to sleep tonight!

So that you could get some sleep he thoughtfully went back in time and answered your question:
R Mark Davies said: The 2-inch mortar story is largely true, although the 2-inch mortar bomb actually ignited the ammunition truck that was conducting a resupply to the adjacent Tiger II. The consequent explosion caused a chain-reaction that set off the Tiger II's ammunition. There is a famous photo of Allied troops examining the Tiger II, whose turret is at a slight tilt, having been dismounted by the internal explosion.

The incident took place at Le Plessis-Grimoult (on the southern slope of Mont Pincon), during Operation 'Bluecoat' in August 1944.


TMP link

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 3:43 p.m. PST

"My understanding is that the Tiger IIs in the Ardennes were stuck behind other units during the German attack and were never engaged in combat."

Not entirely. Kampfgruppe Peiper had three companies of Tiger IIs and they broke through in the early phases but then got cut off and trapped on some mountain roads and eventually had to be abandoned for lack of fuel. Not a very glorious fate.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 3:57 p.m. PST

Anyway, Tiger IIs were supposed to re-equip all the heavy tank battalions once Tiger 1 production ceased, so they saw action in both east & west (although only Tiger 1s soldiered on in Italy until the end of the war).

After its adventures in Normandy the 503rd was fully rebuilt with Tiger IIs and sent to Budapest where it was attached to PGD Feldhernhalle. The siege of Budapest didn't end terribly well for the Germans….

The 506th Tiger Bn fought at Arnhem after being re-equipped with Tiger IIs (bulk of the battalion fought agsint XXX Corps) and later against US forces around Aachen, it took part in the Bulge and eventually surrendered in the Ruhr pocket in 1945. Plenty of scope for action vs Shermans there too.

frankietanch Inactive Member10 Dec 2012 4:05 p.m. PST

You guys are great! Btw is it commmon to have a mix of Tigers, Stugs and KTs in a battlion ?

Personal logo Don Manser Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2012 4:18 p.m. PST

>>>In the Ardennes they had a difficult time negotiating the narrow roads

They also had problems with bridges supporting their weight.

DM

Milites10 Dec 2012 4:55 p.m. PST

A hypothetical battle to stop the German bridgehead on the Meuse?

Jemima Fawr10 Dec 2012 5:10 p.m. PST

Re the 506th – a group of two companies were sent to Arnhem, while the remaining company plus Bn HQ were sent south to meet the Americans.

The two companies at Arnhem had enormous difficulties getting to where the action was, let alone actually engaging in combat. They were moved south across Arnhem Bridge to Elst after the withdrawal of 1st Airborne Div, where they were engaged against XXX Corps, but found it impossible to manoeuvre off-road or on back-roads where the bridges were too weak.

Frankie, no it wasn't, but you might find King Tigers and StuGs adjacent to each other (such as at Oosterbeek or Jurques) or grouped within the same battlegroup (such as at Mont Pincon). Tigers and King Tigers did serve together in the same battalions, as mentioned above.

number410 Dec 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

There is also the strange story of the 740th tank battalion, which was allegedly refitted from a British tank repair depot on 18 December and was flung into the path of KG Pieper during the Ardennes Offensive…. EDIT that appears to be a myth as I've been unable to confirm it from any veteran's account.

Timbo W10 Dec 2012 6:34 p.m. PST

As R Mark says Tigers & King Tigers in the same unit is possible. Stugs shouldn't be. But, after heavy fighting (and especially retreats where the 'big cats' often had to be abandoned) tank battalions could be reduced to a small handful of vehicles.

number410 Dec 2012 8:00 p.m. PST

Now this particular engagement is interesting!

picture

link

BattlerBritain11 Dec 2012 2:36 a.m. PST

Great piccies RMD – cheers for those :)

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2012 4:00 a.m. PST

"it commmon to have a mix of Tigers, Stugs and KTs in a battlion "

Tiger Is and IIs yes, although not 'common', usually an expediant mix of companies depending on how re-equipment was going. Most Tiger battalions were homogenous, some weren't.

No Stugs in a Tiger Bn, although early Bns were a mix of Tigers and Pz IIIs.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2012 5:33 a.m. PST

The official marker for the 740th at Fort Knox confirms the story at least partially: link

The 740th was trained as a Canal Defense Light (DCL) unit as well as a standard medium tank unit. It crossed the channel in October 44 and members of the unit arrived in Belgium in November but minus any tanks! Ordered into action it arrived on 16 December at the ordnance depot at Sprimont Belgium where it took on a mix of Sherman tanks including several British tanks in for repair or overhaul and even some ex DD tanks.

As far as an account the following includes quotes from Cecil Taylor a tank commander in the 740th. Note that the nickname was actually "Berry's Bastards"
link

And this account from another 740th veteran has a Sherman from the 740th engaging a Tiger II during the battle:

At the same time, elements of the 740th Tank Battalion were moving south along the N33 after the capture of La Gleize. Sergeant Glenn George in a Sherman encountered 332 parked on the side of the road. George immediately directed his gunner to fire at the Tiger. The crew had a white phosphorous shell loaded, and the smoke from this exploding shell apparently caused the German crew to think their vehicle was on fire. To George's surprise they opened their hatches and scrambled out of the Tiger. George chased them off with machinegun fire and continued his advance. (23) Later a unit of the 463rd Ordnance Evacuation Company recovered the still operational Tiger 332 and transported it to Spa. It was eventually shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, one of the first Königstigers captured by the Americans.
link

flicking wargamer11 Dec 2012 11:41 a.m. PST

The Brit Paras during Market Garden managed to destroy all three Tiger IIs that made it into action against them in Oosterbeck. The tanks were caught in urban areas and were having a terrible time with the roads, which they would tear right up. At least two of them were destroyed after their infantry support was driven off and they could not escape the town. I can't remember, but I think the third was tracked and then destroyed from above by someone on the second floor of the building next to it.

number411 Dec 2012 10:42 p.m. PST

The Sprimont Ordnance depot must have been a US outfit because it was in the American sector and contained two M24 Chaffees and at least one M36 Jackson which the 740th put to good use link

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2012 5:00 a.m. PST

From all I could find I agree with you Number 4, was a US depot. Several of the tanks in were from British sources, but it was a US depot. Really quite a story!

mkenny12 Dec 2012 5:50 a.m. PST

400 Shermans were transfered to the Americans from 21st AG in December 1944

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2012 7:27 a.m. PST

Yes, as with ammunition supply, there were miscalculations in estimated consumption which led to under-production so along with the great 'shell shortage' there was also a 'Sherman shortage' in late 1944.

number412 Dec 2012 9:13 p.m. PST

On the Eastern Front, the Tiger B was first used on 12 August 1944 by the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion resisting the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. It attacked the Soviet bridgehead over the Vistula River near Baranów Sandomierski.

link

"On the night of August 12th, Capt. Ivushkin and crews of two tanks heard a sound of engines. In the morning ofAugust 13th, Germans performed an artillery and air bombardment but without any success due to the good camouflageof the Soviet troops and tanks and overall lack of inteligence on Soviet positions. At 7:00, 11 Kingtigers moved straight into the Soviet ambush. German tanks had problems to move in the sandy ground and advanced slowly. Three Kingtigers passed the camouflaged T-34-85 andafterwards two tanks of Capt. Ivushkin opened fire and destroyed 3 Kingtigers by direct hits to their side armor.The road was blocked and other Kingtigers were forced to retreat.

On the northern flank of the bulge, the attack started at 9:00 as four Kingtigers went into the counterattack against the Soviet Infantry, supported by the assault guns.Germans lost one Kingtiger to the fire of ISU-122 of Lt. Klimenkov. The other three tanks were forced to retreat,because the sandy ground limited their maneuverability."

SpankinginRed Inactive Member13 Dec 2012 9:20 a.m. PST

On the Normady front, is had been reported that one King Tiger was destroyed by naval gunfire. Namely. bombardment started with?? number of Tigers, finished with one less!
Souce – Israely Army

Jemima Fawr13 Dec 2012 12:20 p.m. PST

Spank,

I don't think that's true. The only time that the 503rd were anywhere within range of the Allied naval bombardment force was on 16/17th July, at the start of Operation 'Goodwood'. The damage there was done by heavy bombers and not naval bombardment. For the rest of the campaign they were too far south of the coast for naval bombardment to reach them.

number414 Dec 2012 4:34 p.m. PST

Probably this one

picture
The RAF claimed it, but then again, they claim everything :)

Jemima Fawr14 Dec 2012 6:45 p.m. PST

Yup, heavy aerial bombing, not NGFS.

Archeopteryx Inactive Member15 Dec 2012 3:04 a.m. PST

The King Tiger (which, as I recall, is not an exact translation – I thought it was supposed to be "Bengal Tiger" or something like that

That is exactly correct; my research yielded the same results – funny how we embellish the Germans.

link

Also make sure to check for gun type, the M1 76mm gun is a far better gun than the 75mm that was more common on the Sherman tanks and in some cases makes a big differences in a tank fight (especially against Tiger 1s).

Warlord

Ah how I love language – its because the literal translation of "Konig" is indeed King… but since when was language literal – the English named the Indian Tiger the "Bengal Tiger", in German it's named it the "King's Tiger"… but its the same old Shir Khan they are referring to…..

number415 Dec 2012 11:30 a.m. PST

Which reminds me of JFK's unintentionally hilarious gaffe "Ich bin ein Berliner" which means "I am a doughnut" in German….. :)

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