What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today.
Yoozername
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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 05 Sep 2016 19:10

A possible scenario is that ALL Tigers were sent to Russia instead of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. This would have the benefit of parts, repair and ammunition supplies being in one theatre also.

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by BDV » 06 Sep 2016 22:14

Tim Smith wrote:The best way for the Germans to fight the Battle of Kursk would be not to fight it at all...
And the best way to employ the Tiger was not to employ them at all... Any tank above 39 tons is a burden that flimsy German logistics just can't cope with.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 06 Sep 2016 23:08

That is quite enlightening. But, you do know its a "What If" thread? And not a "What if Not" thread?

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by BDV » 08 Sep 2016 14:36

Yoozername wrote:That is quite enlightening.
I hope so.

But, you do know its a "What If" thread? And not a "What if Not" thread?
Well, "What If not" is a subset of the "What If" concept. As to your starting question, it would be a fiasco pretty much along the lines of the OTL Kursk fiasco.

Soviet tactics and operational methods had improved to where poorly arranged collapsible Soviet defenses were a distant memory, Luftwaffe was down to fighting with VVS on equal terms, and maskirova*, Soviet sigint, and information sharing between Soviets and Enigma-cracking WAllies had the Ost Front Axis fight at a distinct information disadvantage. Concentrating the TIgers would have meant that the logistical bottleneck is even worse, so even in case of Soviet collapse the Schwere Abteilungs would choke on their own supply chain.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
*Hence the ability of RKKA to turn a 1.3-1.5 overall manpower advantage into a 5-10 fold manpower advantage on selected Front sectors, repeatedly.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 08 Sep 2016 15:30

Can you cite some of the logistical bottlenecks that happened during Kursk 'as is' (Not 'not as is')? I believe there are reports regarding the Tigers losses/repairs/etc. around somewhere? Many were lost due to these "logistical bottlenecks"?
I hope so.
Well, keep hoping...I was being sarcastic...

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Graniterail » 09 Sep 2016 07:15

Yoozername wrote:Can you cite some of the logistical bottlenecks that happened during Kursk 'as is'...
(Not BDV)

"Originally the Germans planned to launch their offensive in early May. Delays in the production of tanks, chronic shortcomings in logistics, and concerns about keeping sufficient forces in reserve to counter possible Anglo-American operations in the West forced postponement until July." (Emphasis added). Russia at War, Timothy C.Dowling.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=KT ... ns&f=false

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 09 Sep 2016 16:16

I believe the whole Title is...'Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond'...a somewhat ambitious title. Early May 1943 saw the surrender of the German army in Africa. Mr. Nelson might have cited that fact instead of "..concerns about keeping sufficient forces in reserve to counter possible Anglo-American operations in the West". One could argue that not having to supply the Afrika Corp, alleviated the "chronic shortcomings" somewhat. Indeed, German losses in June 43 were comparatively light. Which is a joke, of course. One of the reasons cited for even contemplating Kursk was the continual loss of manpower by the German military.

Again, the Germans had to make something happen in the way of a victory in 1943. They were looking for a decisive action to stop the war of attrition that they were engaged in the East. They also were losing face (not just to the world but more importantly, to their Axis allies) in addition to a monthly blood-letting of men, and their enemies were getting stronger. They had massive setbacks against the Soviets, and now a major loss to the Anglo forces. They had to show that they could still use their combined arms, and superior weapons, in a decisive manner. And, the Soviets, while they had learned much and had out-produced the Germans, still had problems in regards to wielding large units in a mobile battle. Defensive operations would suit them fine, and the Germans obliged.

Having 20/20 hind-sight in a "What IF" thread is not what I am talking about though; The Germans were attacking regardless. I am interested in the actual disposition of the heavy weapons and 'what if' they were used differently. IF the Germans attacked in May, and could concentrate all Tigers produced up to that point, it is about the same to me. The Panthers and Ferdinands should not have been used in the first days of the attack IMO.

In any case, my question remains "What logistical bottlenecks can be cited regarding Tiger tank operations during Kursk?" They had low losses, they were used often and to good effect, they were damaged and repaired quickly, etc. They were actually used as they were designed...as a Break-in AFV that could face enemy weapons and destroy them. The Germans had been using the Tiger I for many months and had kept losses low as they increased the fleet size. They had time to develop tactics and maintenance and recovery SOP's etc. By this time, it was a mature weapon system.

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 09 Sep 2016 20:41

FWIW...
The best year for the German rail system was during the summer of 1943. Nearly every important rail line in the Soviet Union had been converted to the standard gauge. Every day, over 200 trains departed Germany for the eastern front. HGrS took the lions share of the supplies for during this period, 125 of the 200 trains were slated to support HGrS. Of note too is that despite an increase in Soviet partisan activities in central Russia, German train schedules were affected very little by same. A prime reason for this can be attributed to the extensive network the Germans had built up in Russia. If the partisans did manage to knock-out a particular line, the Germans were in an optimal position to re-route the trains through any number of side lines.

In addition, during the longer summer days, German supply and security trains were able to operate within visual sight of one another. This greatly increased their security factor and made it more difficult for Soviet partisans to conduct daylight attacks against the German trains.

For example, during the month of June 1943, the Germans counted over 840 partisan attacks against German rail lines in the sector controlled by HGrM. During that same time frame, the Germans were able to run over 860 troop trains. nearly 1.000 supply trains and over 700 other support trains in the same area.
From...
http://www.feldgrau.com/dreichsbahn.html

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Graniterail » 10 Sep 2016 09:11

Yoozername wrote:...

Having 20/20 hind-sight in a "What IF" thread is not what I am talking about though; The Germans were attacking regardless. I am interested in the actual disposition of the heavy weapons and 'what if' they were used differently. ...


Ok.
In any case, my question remains "What logistical bottlenecks can be cited regarding Tiger tank operations during Kursk?" ...
For result 3 of 23: Kursk, Rupert Matthews.

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=4F ... er&f=false

"Bridging the Donetz

The main problem confronting Breith, and indeed all of Kempf's units, was that they had to get across the Donetz river before they got to grips with the Soviet defences. In theory this should not have been much of a problem. Kempf had been supplied with a large contingent of engineers to build bridges across the river. Painstaking work had gone into where to place these bridges. Working from Aerial photos, the German Engineers established several bridges, each designed to adequate to it's allotted task, be it allowing Tigers, infantry or support Trucks to cross the river.
Unfortunately for the Germans the Soviets had anticipated that such temporary bridges would be brought into play, and had even guessed where they might be prepositioned. As soon as it became clear that German sappers were clearing minefields, Soviet scouts pushed forward to locate exactly where the German bridges were being built. These spots were heavily targeted by the Soviet predawn bombardment. An indication of the difficulties the river caused can be gagued from the fact that of the entire 6th Panzer division, only a Dozen tigers.. managed to get across the Donetz that evening.. the attack came to a halt to await the rest of the Division.
...
To the right of the 19th Panzer Division, the 7th Panzer Division hit a problem that had nothing to do with the Soviets.
Nobody had told the Engineers that the 7th Panzers included Tigers, so the bridges thrown over the Donetz had been designed to take Panzer III's and Panzer IV's. They would have simply collapsed if a Tiger had tried to cross.
After some frantic work a ford was found and the Tigers drove there only to find that the far bank was to heavy for the Tigers to use
"
they were damaged and repaired quickly, etc ... By this time, it was a mature weapon system.
For Result 11 of 26: "Rather more alarming was the number of Tiger and Panther tanks that were being forced to leave the battle due to engine breakdowns and other mechanical problems. These were the secret weapons that were supposed to guarantee Victory, and yet they were being lost to Hoth even though the Soviets had found no answer to their formidable fighting power."

Yoozername wrote:FWIW...
The best year for the German rail system was during the summer of 1943. ...
From...
http://www.feldgrau.com/dreichsbahn.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... uperiority

The Luftwaffe command understood that their support would be crucial for the success of Operation Citadel, but problems with supply shortfalls hampered their preparations. Partisan activity, particularly behind Army Group Center, slowed the rate of re-supply and cut short the Luftwaffe's ability to build up essential stockpiles of petrol, oil, lubricants, engines, munitions, and, unlike Red Army units there were no reserves of aircraft that could be used to replace damaged aircraft over the course of the operation.[148] Fuel was the most significant limiting factor.[149] To help build up supplies for the support of Citadel, the Luftwaffe greatly curtailed its operations during the last week of June.[150] Despite this conservation of resources, the Luftwaffe did not have the resources to sustain an intensive air effort for more than a few days after the operation began.[151]

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 10 Sep 2016 21:20

Rupert Matthews? Oh Lordy! I would like to know what 'sources' (not flying saucers) he used for that paragraph.

I believe the 6th Panzer Division was not assigned Tigers. Specifically from the 503rd? I believe the 7th and 19th PD had a company, and the rest of the 503rd (HQ) was with the 168 ID
6th Panzer Division (minus Panzer Observation Battery 76)
Major General Walther von Huenersdorff
II Battalion, Panzer Regiment 11
Panzergrenadier Regiments 4,114
Panzer Artillery Regiment 76
Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 6
Panzerjaeger Battalion 41
Panzer Engineer Battalion 57
Attached:
Regimentsgruppe, 168th Infantry Division
(Grenadier Regiment 417)
(One company, Engineer Battalion 248)
Reconnaissance Battalion 248
Assault Gun Battalion 228
II and Ill/Artillery Regiment 248 (168th Inf. Div.)
Ill/Mortar Regiment 54
This quote below is probably referring to the Panthers and Ferdinands. Hoth did not have the Ferdinands BTW. Matthews reads like he is writing a 'Hardy Boy' book...
For Result 11 of 26: "Rather more alarming was the number of Tiger and Panther tanks that were being forced to leave the battle due to engine breakdowns and other mechanical problems. These were the secret weapons that were supposed to guarantee Victory, and yet they were being lost to Hoth even though the Soviets had found no answer to their formidable fighting power."
Heavy Banks? Full of Gold? Kelly's Heroes?
After some frantic work a ford was found and the Tigers drove there only to find that the far bank was to heavy for the Tigers to use"

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Graniterail » 11 Sep 2016 12:24

Yoozername wrote:Rupert Matthews? Oh Lordy! I would like to know what 'sources' (not flying saucers) he used for that paragraph.

I believe the 6th Panzer Division was not assigned Tigers. Specifically from the 503rd? I believe the 7th and 19th PD had a company, and the rest of the 503rd (HQ) was with the 168 ID
Tiger Unit Histories,

.. schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503
schwere Panzer-Abteilung Feldherrnhalle (21 December 1944)

.. 5 July 1943 Operation Zitadelle (Battle of Kursk) commences, Abt. split up between three panzer divisions against the battalion commander's advice

http://www.alanhamby.com/unithist.shtml#503

6th, 7th & 19th PD would make three Panzer Divisions.
7th, 19th PD & 168ID would make two Panzer Divisions & 1 Infantry Division.

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 11 Sep 2016 15:11

So, your thought is that Tigers can cross and the other panzers can't? Can you state what the point of that is?

And, I posted the correct order of battle. I will post the OOB for all the divisions.

In the meantime, can you elaborate as to what your previous post about the Luftwaffe has to do with this thread?

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Graniterail » 12 Sep 2016 01:38

Yoozername wrote:So, your thought is that Tigers can cross and the other panzers can't? Can you state what the point of that is?

And, I posted the correct order of battle. I will post the OOB for all the divisions.

In the meantime, can you elaborate as to what your previous post about the Luftwaffe has to do with this thread?
Don't you mean that my thought would be that it's the Tigers that couldn't cross and the other Panzers that could?

If you have alternate references, please enlighten us. That website with the Tiger Unit histories has a list of ten different books used as sources, I've been willing to respond to the feldgrau article you posted - in fact that was what I was getting at with the post about the Luftwaffe.

As far as I can see the different points we're trying to get across are:

(Yourself) What effect could a concentration of Tiger Tanks on the Southern portion of the Kursk Salient have achieved?
vs
(Me) Could such a concentration have even been logistically supported?

If the Germans can't get the bridges in place to move the Tigers into battle properly(such as actually happened), then they're not adequately logistically supported. If the Germans are having their best time of the war vis-a-vis rail transport(like your link suggests) yet it's still not enough(such as my link in response suggests) to adequately supply the Luftwaffe with petrol, oil, lubricants, engines, munitions in the period, then why would we assume that in adding more logistically demanding units to the battle, (i.e creating a concentration of Tiger tank units) that they can be adequately supported?

If they can't be adequately logistically supported, then the answer to the question in the title of the thread would seem to be:

Not much differently to what happened historically, the German advance falters before the Soviet defences with Tiger tank units being fed into battle piecemeal & the Soviet counter-offensive unravelling the German lines through the Autumn.

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 12 Sep 2016 01:59

An indication of the difficulties the river caused can be gagued from the fact that of the entire 6th Panzer division, only a Dozen tigers.. managed to get across the Donetz that evening.. the attack came to a halt to await the rest of the Division.
Thank you for supplying the odd mis-information that you don't seem to comprehend...

1. So, answer a direct question...how many Tigers got across..of the total amount that you claim that 6th Panzer division had? You claim they had a company, no? So, a dozen got across. Explain what your logic is?

2. Your quote seems to imply that the Tigers had to wait for something...the attack came to a halt...they had to wait for the rest of the division...wait for what? Can you supply information about what else got across? Do you argue with the hope that others supply the information you seem to 'lack' or misinterpret?
Don't you mean that my thought would be that it's the Tigers that couldn't cross and the other Panzers that could?
Ok, Tigers got across and the other Panzers that could. Supply information regarding the Panzers "that could"...?
Last edited by Yoozername on 12 Sep 2016 02:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What IF the Germans concentrated Tiger tanks during Kursk?

Post by Yoozername » 12 Sep 2016 02:01

And, the Luftwaffe thing...should we just think you cut and paste and have no reason?

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