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"How Many Tiger II Tanks at Mont Pincon?" Topic


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1,162 hits since 21 Jun 2013
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 8:33 a.m. PST

To the wise folk of TMP:
Does anyone know or have a reference for the number of Tiger II tanks operating around Mont Pincon in early August 1944. It is really difficult to put even an approximate number but my best guess (and the key word here is guess) based on what I have found to date is that there were between 10 and 12 of these monsters operating around August 5th at or near Mont Pincon. The all seem to be of the Porsche variety but it is hard to tell from the photos. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Rod Robertson

Last Hussar21 Jun 2013 8:40 a.m. PST

Hundreds. And all the AT was 88's. wink

Jemima Fawr21 Jun 2013 8:45 a.m. PST

The Tiger IIs were certainly all of the Porsche turreted variety.

However, sPzAbt 503 only had one Tiger II Company (1. Kompanie) in Normandy. The other two companies were initially Tiger I, though all the remaining Tiger Is were massed in 2. Kompanie after Goodwood.

The surviving crews from 3. Kompanie were sent back to Mailly-le-Camp to re-equip with Tiger II (Henschel turret). They left Mailly on 11th August to return to Normandy, but didn't make it – they ended up fighting rearguard actions across France (as did the similarly-equipped and reformed 1. Kompanie of sSSPzAbt 101).

So those 10-12 working Tigers at Mont Pincon were of both types – Tiger I & II. It's anyone guess how they were split, but I'd call it evens and stick four of each in two platoon-sized companies, with the remainder as Tiger Is in the Bn HQ.

There is a book called '45 Tigers in Normandy' which covers the 503rd's campaign and that will probably give you the answer, but it's rather pricey.

Jemima Fawr21 Jun 2013 8:48 a.m. PST

I should add that there were a similar number of Tigers in short-term and long-term repair, so the given number of available tanks at the start of any given day, as tanks in short-term repair might be constantly recycled out of the field workshop, while freshly-Bleeped texted tanks go in for repair.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 8:53 a.m. PST

RMD:
Thanks for the help and the reference. I'll keep looking.
Rod Robertson.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 8:54 a.m. PST

Last Hussar:
Thank-you for the period accurate panic and hysteria!
Rod Robertson.

Jemima Fawr21 Jun 2013 8:59 a.m. PST

Looking at previous King Tiger losses – I don't know how many were lost during the pre-Goodwood bombing, but three were KO'd mistakenly by 88s during that battle and a fourth was rammed by Lt Gorman of the Irish Guards. A further three were captured in the Bois des Hommes during Bluecoat, so that's at least half the Tiger IIs lost before Mont Pincon – 7 out of 14 – and there may well have been other unrecorded losses. They also didn't receive any replacements during the campaign (3. Kompanie's Tiger IIs were the replacements).

Given that Tiger IIs were brand-new technology, it's also highly probable that their reliability was questionable even by Tiger standards. Four available Tiger IIs is probably optimistic.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 8:59 a.m. PST

Mark:
Do you mean "Tigers in Normandy" by Wolfgang Schneider because I'm coming up with nothing for "45 Tigers in Normandy". Who is the author of the book? Again thanks in advance.
Rod Robertson

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 9:30 a.m. PST

According to the average gamer, 500. grin

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 10:05 a.m. PST

'Tigers in Normandy' is free on kindle, I read it recently.

As Mark says, all Porsche turret and probably no more than a platoons worth. I'll see if I can find the relevant section later.

There were a surprising number of Tiger I & Tiger II actions in Normandy, almost exclusively against British & Commonwealth forces.

iirc 101st SS panzer got to use some of their shiny new Tiger IIs against US forces holding one of the Seine bridgeheads, but that was really post Normandy.

Anyway, Schneiders book is very detailed and very good with loads of maps and fascinatng terrain photos, even if he does say unkind things abut Lt Gorman and his Tiger ramming incident:)

Dynaman878921 Jun 2013 11:02 a.m. PST

> 'Tigers in Normandy' is free on kindle, I read it recently.

It might have been, but it is $16.99 USD now.

Steve Wilcox21 Jun 2013 11:34 a.m. PST

Different book. I believe the one Mr. Davies is referring to is 45 Tiger en Normandie by Didier Lodieu:
link
link

Mako1121 Jun 2013 12:37 p.m. PST

There should be a photo of them on-line, if I recall correctly, sheltering in a small set of trees, replenishing, or preparing for battle, so you might look for that on-line, or in books.

I suspect it may be for this unit, given the relative rarity of Tiger IIs at the time.

They were Porsche turret models.

I'd be surprised if they didn't field a whole company, so probably 12 – 14 vehicles, in total.

As mentioned though, even the Tiger Is in June were frequently breaking down during road marches, so that might have reduced their numbers a bit.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 12:59 p.m. PST

Ok, it looks like 11 operational Tigers in all for the whole battalion, of which at least two were Tiger II as two were rearming when their ammo truck was hit completely destroying one of them. For game purposes I would assume a platoon of 3 Tiger II, two platoons of three tiger 1 and bhq with two tanks.

Mako1121 Jun 2013 1:59 p.m. PST

Here are some pics of Tiger IIs, which might be useful, since some of the captions mention them as being in France as early as June of 1944:

link

I've read that the first ones were Porsche turreted vehicles, but some of the captions, if they are correct, show some Henschel turrets as well.

The third pic showing a guy close up to the front of the Tiger II demonstrates very nicely, how massive these tanks really were.

charon Inactive Member22 Jun 2013 3:12 a.m. PST

"Knocked out Tiger II heavy tank, France, Aug 1944; note penetrated frontal turret armor"

And I thought that they were virtually inpenaterable from the front.

Any ideas what took it out?

The comment against the phote reads:

"Bill says:
26 Dec 2012 06:01:26 PM

The tank in the photo appears to have been abandoned prior to being shot up. Look at the gouges in the armour. Allied tankers would routinely put a few shells in stationary German tanks "to see if anyone was home" since the wily Germans would often disguise tanks as being knocked out then shoot up approaching Allied tanks. There are three small gouges in close proximity 10 o'clock of the MG. The Allied tank shooting was doing that while stationary at a distance. Seeing no response they came closer and fired a fourth which hit in front of the driver at the same angle as the previous three. Still no response so they approach nearly head on and fire a fifth that hits 4 o'clock of the MG. Now they're at point blank range and send a sixth shell thru the turrent to rattle around a bit. "

17pdr APDS?

Steve

mkenny22 Jun 2013 6:58 p.m. PST

Looking at previous King Tiger losses I don't know how many were lost during the pre-Goodwood bombing, but three were KO'd mistakenly by 88s during that battle

They would say that wouldn't they!

Accepted version 1944 to 1966-ish:

Rosen led his Tigers forward to attack the advancing British tanks and straight away 2 were penetrated frontaly. He was so disturbed by this he called off the attack because he feared a new Allied' 'wonder-weapon' had been used. Exit Tigers stage left.

Some time in the mid 1960's Rosen gets to hear about the (so far unlocated and unknown) Flak unit that Luck (a story known only from the account of Luck) says he 'forced' to fire at the British (no evidence other than his word) near Cagny. Rosen then makes a leap says it must have been these guns that knocked out his Tigers.

Much effort has also gone into constructing a very elaborate timeline for the destruction of the TII rammed by Gorman. As noted earlier Schneider spends rather too much time over-analysing the photos to 'prove' it was in reverse at the time it was hit (thus it was not 'rammed by Gorman' but rather it 'accidentlly reversed into Gorman')and that at the precise moment of the collision a German gun(88?) put a round (that was aimed at the Sherman)into the side of the TII. The sole 'evidence' for this is the account of a crewman of the TII who says that is what happened.
Frankly it seems to me mountains are being moved in order to further the myth of the invulnerable (to all but German weapons) Tiger tank.

Skarper22 Jun 2013 9:37 p.m. PST

Plenty of 17pdr ATGs and SPGs/Tanks in the Goodwood area. Was APDS available yet – I think so but don't know the precise dates.

There is therefore no need to speculate about 88s mistakenly destroying Tigers. I'm inclined to think friendly fire was unlikely even though the Tiger II was a new design and some of the FlaK crews especially might not have ID them properly. I still think they would have guessed from the profile and markings (if close enough).

I'd want to see more evidence of friendly fire than a few partisan writers with an agenda to advance before I believed it.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2013 1:46 a.m. PST

Indeed. What I find interesting is that the Germans essentially treated all Tigers of whatever type as the same from a tactical pov, they also seem equally vulnerable.

Perhaps our war games rules massively overrated the effectiveness of Tiger 2s, just as they do Panthers, or perhaps it is due to real life prevalence of side shots.

I do recall a regular army officer saying that if he had the choice, he would never engage an enemy tank frontally.

Jemima Fawr23 Jun 2013 6:29 a.m. PST

Rod,

I saw it in several bookshops in Normandy and it was definitely called '45 Tigers in Normandy'. However, I might have been reading the French title and unconsciously translating it.

Mark

Edited to add: Steve, yes that's the one.

Jemima Fawr23 Jun 2013 6:54 a.m. PST

Rosen's Tigers were Tiger Is (3. Kompanie). I might be mistaken, but I thought the three 1. Kompanie Tiger IIs were lost in a different incident?

I'm not really interested in the cause, just in how many had been lost prior to Mont Pincon. Whatever the cause, three Tiger IIs were apparently KO'd during their counter-attack against Goodwood, plus the one that Gorman nailed. The point I was making was that only a platoon's-worth could possibly have been available at Mont Pincon – I really don't care how the previous losses were incurred, just that they were lost and could not therefore have been at Mont Pincon.

Re Turrets: All of 1. Kompanie's Tiger IIs were Porsche-turreted models, as were the five allocated to Panzer-Abteilung 302 (Funklenk) at Reims (which were encountered individually during the US breakout from Normandy).

Henschel-turreted Tiger IIs did fight in France, but as discussed above, these belonged to the re-constituted 1. Kompanie, Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung 503 and 1. Kompanie, Schewe-SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101. Neither of these units made it to the main Normandy battle area before the collapse of German resistance there.

Yes, 17pdr APDS began appearing in Normandy in July 1944.

Jemima Fawr23 Jun 2013 7:12 a.m. PST

After some reading, I mixed up the two incidents. Three Tiger IIs were apparently lost during Goodwood – two in combat (including the Gorman's) and the company commander's tank, which was abandoned after being bogged in a bomb-crater.

mkenny23 Jun 2013 9:07 a.m. PST

The actual number of Tigers lost during Goodwood has never been fixed but up to 13 could be possible. The bombing destroyed 2 TI for sure and got one stuck in a crater.
An account of a Panther being knocked out north of Mannerville is almost certainly a TII and it could be the one said to have 'fell' into a bomb crater-the photo evidence is ambiguous. Rosen admits to 2 Tiger I knocked out north of Cagny and the Gorman TII complete the only certain losses.
That leaves up to 6 who have never been identified.
sPz Abt losses in Normandy are odd in that they claim the only combat losses they suffered were during Goodwood. They claim all other tanks lost were destroyed by the crews or hit after they were abandoned. The only provable exception is the TII lost at Mt Picon.
Figures say they has 13 Tigers in service on Aug 1st with 16 in repair. It is highly unlikely you would see more than 2-3 Tigers of any type in action together at any one time.

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2013 6:30 a.m. PST

Thank you gentlemen for your comments. They are much appreciated. The 45 Tigres en Normandie book is very expensive at 80.00 Euros so I will go with the cheaper but no less valuable wisdom and informed speculation from you folks on TMP. As usual, I was way off in my understanding of the Tiger II numbers at Mont Pincon so thanks for setting me straight.
Rod Robertson

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2013 6:41 a.m. PST

Mako 11:
Thanks for the photos! I wonder if the Tiger II captured by the Americans shown on the second page was just a photo event or if it was actually used. I smell an upgraded re-make of Kelly's Heroes if it was used in anger!
Rod Robertson.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2013 2:19 a.m. PST

AFAIK most of the captured Tigers used by Allied units tended to be Tiger 1s, I'm not sure why, maybe just because Tiger 1s were more prevalent in Normandy (where the bulk were captured) and were more mechanically reliable than Tiger IIs.

That Tiger II has been thoroughly repainted and marked up though, which implies it is in use. The weather looks like winter/early spring so probably late 44 or early 45. Several abandoned Tigers lying around then to be captured of course.

Ah, I found the caption for that photo on the Tiger Tank Battalions website:

"This Pz.Kpfw.Tiger Ausf.B, from the 2.Kompanie/schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 was captured by American troops and restored to running condition by Company B, 129th Ordnance Battalion by 15 December 1944. "

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2013 7:31 a.m. PST

Martin Rapier:
Thank you for your research. Very interesting! I wonder if the tank was ever used in combat or whether it was just a self-propelled photo-op?
Cheers.
Rod Robertson

mkenny02 Jul 2013 11:38 a.m. PST

This TII took a hit to the base of the turret that jammed it at 3 o'clock. A heavy wrecking truck was used to 'twist' the turret to the forward position and the US soldiers are from an ordnance Unit that would have no use for a tank of any description. They are probably a battlefield clearance unit.
The tank has not been repainted. The stars are all on canvas panels tied to the tank.

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