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"Tigers on the West Front" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

1,406 hits since 14 Oct 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Achtung Minen14 Oct 2018 4:22 a.m. PST

I know they were used in the Ardennes, but is there a comprehensive resource of the other times and places that Tigers and King Tiger were deployed on the Western front?

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 5:27 a.m. PST

Here is a site which has a great deal of information
on the Tiger tank and variants.

There is deployment info (strength, type, dates) for
Tunis, Sicily, Italy and Western Europe but you'll have
to read through the text to get to it.

That information is segmented, so not too difficult to
do. Just look for the headings (right-center of the page)
as you scroll down.


Martin Rapier14 Oct 2018 5:34 a.m. PST

Wolfgang Schneiders 'Tigers in Combat' series has extensive coverage of their use in Tunsia, Italy and of course in Normandy and the rest of the campaign in Western Europe, sometimes down to the level of individual vehicles.

Essentially, they turned up all over the place all the time (particularly if you were unfortunate enough to be British, Canadian or Polish) supporting all kinds of odd units, so you can never have too many Tigers, of all types.

stephen m14 Oct 2018 6:10 a.m. PST

Joe's has the last book for sale in the marketplace right now.

Lion in the Stars14 Oct 2018 6:38 a.m. PST

One of the guys in my game group has more Tigers than were ever deployed to a single battlefield…

Not like I can talk, though, since I have 4 Tiger 1s (2x Tiger 1(P) and 2x Tiger 1e), a pair of Sturmtigers, plus a Tiger II.

deephorse14 Oct 2018 6:55 a.m. PST

There's no shortage of books on the Tiger tanks, but in addition to the three volumes of ‘Tiger in Combat' that Martin mentions, I would add the two volumes of ‘Tiger' by Waldemar Trojca, ‘Tiger' by Klein & Kuhn, and, just for Tiger Is, ‘Tiger I on the Western Front' by Restayn. You can never have too many good quality books on Tiger tanks!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

Canadians (and the Poles assigned to II Corps) ran into them regularly from Normandy right through to the end of the war when they came up against a Tiger II in the fighting around the Kusten Canal in Germany.

My guess is the number of Tigers they kept facing was a big factor in why the First Hussars went to 2 Fireflies per troop of Shermans instead of 1.

mkenny14 Oct 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

the first 45 T1 turned up on June 14th 1944. The next 45 Tigers arrived July 12-ish and 12 were TII. By this date 15 of the original 45 had been destroyed and on July 18 a further 11-14 were removed from the equation. Thus the TOE of 90 became 60-ish. The next 45 arrived in piecemeal form mid July but given the high knock-out/ in repair numbers it is unlikely that there were more than 40-50 in action on any one day at peak strength. A further 30 TII were sent as replacements in August but they all fought in the Seine battles and after. This is when US Units first started engaging Tigers-30 at most.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

Some Tiger I's were sent to Normandy, but many broke down on their way there, along the roads. There are pics of some of them doing that.

Also, a famous shot of a platoon of the first T-2s hiding in a wood, from allied fighter bombers, and getting ammo, IIRC. Porsche turrets on those Tiger IIs. I think that was somewhere in France, after the Normandy invasions as well.

A handful of Tiger I's stopped a good portion of the British Army at Villers-Bocage, and shot them up pretty badly, in a minor counterattack there. Lots of great photos and accounts of that battle on the net.

USAAC heavy bombers wiped out a unit of them, as the aircraft provided close-air support vs. a Tiger unit in Normandy. Many were put out of action, and some even flipped upside down from all the bombing – hard to flip those very heavy, Tiger Is, I imagine. Can't recall which unit.

deephorse14 Oct 2018 1:38 p.m. PST

Can't recall which unit.

s.Pz.Abt 503

mkenny14 Oct 2018 2:22 p.m. PST

A handful of Tiger I's stopped a good portion of the British Army at Villers-Bocage,

The 'British Army' in France on 13/6/44 was c 6 Inf Divisions, 2 Armoured Divisions and 3 Tank Brigades.
7th AD was thus a sub-set of a much larger Army.
The Unit attacked by Wittmann was 4th CLY.
It was one of 4 Tank Regiments in 7th Armoured Division. Wittmann engaged the HQ Troop, 2 Stuarts and 3 OP tanks from a RHA Unit. It is possible Wittmann may have engaged 3 tanks of A Squadron.

So from a total of some 300 tanks in 7th AD Wittmann engaged perhaps a dozen. That is about 4% of one Armoured Division and an even smaller % of the entire landed Army by this date. It was not by any stretch 'good portion' of the Army and was perhaps the equal of 75% of 1 of the 12 Squadrons in 7th AD.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 2:53 p.m. PST

You know, if Hitler had had as many Tiger tanks as there have been books published about them, the war would have been over in late 1943, when the Wehrmacht completely ran out of fuel.

But take a look at David Porter, ISS Panzer Corps at Villers-Bocage. It took 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion five days to road march 160 miles. Or, more accurately, by 12 June, of the 45 Tiger I's, 17 had arrived at the front--all badly in need of maintenance. There is a reason Wittman attacked more or less on his own.

Some of the Tiger freaks among us might want to take a look at comparable road marches by US tank battalions. Hard to win the battle if you don't show up.

Lee49414 Oct 2018 3:24 p.m. PST

Guys!!!! Good grief. IIRC, doing this off the top of my head, there were THREE Tiger Battalions only, ever, that fought in Normandy with perhaps 100 Operational Tigers at peak strength out of something over 2000 AFVs that the Germans fielded in Normandy. So a max of 5%, or 1 in 20 AFVs were Tigers. Tigers were few and far between which is why the US Army didn't go nuts trying to field a tank to kill them. The Panther was a much more prevalent problem. Whitman's unit actually lost several of its Tigers at Villers Bocage, but you rarely hear that, and he himself was killed by a Sherman … it's still debated … whether by Firefly or regular Sherman. There are a number of historians that claim you can count US Tiger vs Sherman Battles in NW Europe on the fingers of one hand. The Tiger Myth is largely a retro History rewrite eagerly picked up by Hollywood and gamers. Cheers!

wrgmr114 Oct 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

Who killed Micheal Wittman.
YouTube link

Keith Talent15 Oct 2018 1:37 a.m. PST

‘There are a number of historians that claim you can count US Tiger vs Sherman Battles in NW Europe on the fingers of one hand. "

You can do it on your thumbs for Tiger I's

TacticalPainter0115 Oct 2018 2:01 a.m. PST

Yeah, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story. The Tigers just keep on rolling on…….

Achtung Minen15 Oct 2018 4:28 a.m. PST

I am actually more interested in August '44 to April '45, not so much Normandy. As far as I can tell, the only places Tigers were encountered within this timeframe are the Battle of the Bulge and the Ruhr Pocket. There appear to be no Tigers for Nordwind or other operations. Does this match what others have found?

Edit: Just came across another source—not sure how reliable it is. Trail of the Tigers by Ron Klages. His data indicates that Tigers were employed in the following Western Front campaigns:

• Normandy Invasion (sSSPzAbt. 101 and 102, sPzAbt. 503, PzKp.(Fkl) 316
• Market Garden (sPzKp. Hummel, sPzAbt. 506)
• Ruhr Area (sPzAbt. 506 and 507 and 510 and 424, PzKp. Paderborn, sPzKp. Hummel, sPzAbt.(Fkl) 301)
• Battle of the Bulge (sSSPzAbt. 501, sPzAbt. 506)
• NW Germany (sPzAbt. 507 and 508 and 510 and 511, TigerGr. Fehrmann, PzKp. Groson, PzLehrAbt. Mutlos, PzKp. Kummersdorf, PzLehrAbt. Putlos)

That is most of them, although I may have missed something… lots of tables!

deephorse15 Oct 2018 5:20 a.m. PST

Between the dates you are interested in there were many more units fielding Tigers than perhaps you are aware of. These vary from complete Heavy Tank Battalions right down to small kampfgruppe with just one or two Tigers in their establishment.

It would take a book to detail all these units for you, but fortunately, as mentioned above, Mr. Wolfgang Schneider has already written one for us. If you want to have the most detailed information on Tiger operations then try and get a copy of his "Tigers in Combat vols. I & II. It's all in there.


Ah, you seem to have found more information whilst I was typing my response. Get those books anyway if you can!

Old Wolfman15 Oct 2018 6:40 a.m. PST

Any of 'em show up on the Russian Front?

catavar15 Oct 2018 6:49 a.m. PST

There was contact between a US Infantry Division and a company of King Tigers near Paris in August '44.

Martin Rapier15 Oct 2018 6:59 a.m. PST

"Any of 'em show up on the Russian Front?"

Rather more than they did in the West,but the OP was asking about the western front.

They cropped up all over the place because they were Corps or Army assets dished out in support of all and sundry, rather like GHQ tank battalions or Infantry tank brigades. Notable exceptions being the integral Tiger companies in the 1st three SS divisions and Gross Deutschland, at least until mid 1943.

Achtung Minen15 Oct 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

@Old Wolfman, most of the Tigers (I and II) seem to appear on the Eastern front. West front got relatively few! That said, relative is relative… there appear to be more than enough Tigers in the West (and in Italy) to come up with countless scenarios for wargamers.

@deephorse et al., I will definitely be getting the Schneider book. It seems to come highly recommended!

deephorse15 Oct 2018 8:04 a.m. PST

There was contact between a US Infantry Division and a company of King Tigers near Paris in August '44.

Probably 1st company s.SS.Pz.Abt.101 together with 18 Luftwaffe Field Division, vs U.S. 79th Inf. Div.

deephorse15 Oct 2018 8:10 a.m. PST

@deephorse et al., I will definitely be getting the Schneider book. It seems to come highly recommended!

It's a three volume series, but vols. 1 & 2 contain all the combat details. They have colour profiles, organisation charts, War Diary entries and stacks of photos. These are the books to be saved if your house catches fire!

The hardbacks, which I have, are pretty expensive now, but the paperbacks are very reasonably priced for what they contain.

PiersBrand16 Oct 2018 1:30 a.m. PST

You don't get much more reliable than Ron Klages with regards Tigers…

fozman16 Oct 2018 5:24 a.m. PST

Other factors to consider when looking at Tigers…

1. Apparently, some in British 2nd Army initially thought that the side skirts on PzIVs were specifically designed to make them look like Tigers (which also may account for how many tanks were destroyed by "Tigers") – unfortunatly can't remember my source for this

2. I think that it was Bayerlin who wanted less Tigers & Panthers & more Pz III & IVs as the latter could actually turn their turrets in the narrow Norman lanes without getting their guns caught in bushes & trees – and their guns were sufficient to deal with majority of Allied armour

In fact, the only places where Tigers & Panthers had a chance of being really effective was in the British & Canadian sectors around Caen as generally they were much more open & therefore they could actually make use of their longer gun ranges…

All of which seems to counter the fact that I have 12 T1s & 12 T2s as well as 17 Panthers in my wargaming models!


Griefbringer18 Oct 2018 2:06 a.m. PST

All of which seems to counter the fact that I have 12 T1s & 12 T2s

You should consider buying a few more – that is not enough to field full 14 tank companies of each type.

deephorse18 Oct 2018 6:59 a.m. PST

Where have all the posts about Pz IIIs gone, or was I imagining them?

Griefbringer18 Oct 2018 8:08 a.m. PST

deephorse, maybe you are thinking of this other thread:

TMP link

deephorse18 Oct 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

Yes, thanks. Thought I'd gone mad!

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