Why didn't the Allies build their own 'tiger'?

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
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WEISWEILER
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Why didn't the Allies build their own 'tiger'?

Post by WEISWEILER » 14 Apr 2018 11:20

As far as summer 1944 and beyond the German Tiger and even the Panther, struck fear into Allied lines.

Already in battle in '42, why didn't the Allies create an answer right away?

Tnx /W
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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Apr 2018 15:23

WEISWEILER wrote:As far as summer 1944 and beyond the German Tiger and even the Panther, struck fear into Allied lines.

Already in battle in '42, why didn't the Allies create an answer right away?

Tnx /W
Heavy tanks were what competitive ancient wargamers used to refer to as a gimmick - like scythed chariots, kataphractoi or elephants. The gimmick distracts attention from the real balance of fighting power. The Germans conquored europe without any heavy tanks at all and faced the British Infantry Tank Mk II (Matilda) and the French Char 1 bis had armour that was impervious to 1940 German tank and anti tank guns. The Russian KV1 was an even bigger shock in 1941, but did not stop the Germans reaching the gates of Moscow.

Heavy tanks were conceptually a development of the WW1 tank as an assault weapon to fight through defensive positions. The decisive impact of the panzers between 1939-42 was their operational and strategic mobility. You could not mount a blitzkrieg with tiger tanks, which were exceptional tanks as long as they broke down in a fire position. In June 1944 the 101 Heavy SS panzer battalion drove about 120 miles to the Normandy battle area on their tracks. The move took over 4 days. on 13th June only 5-6 out of 45 tiger tanks reached the battlefield. Famously Wittman stopped the 7th Armoured Division with these tanks - but that misses the point. The Germans were not going to drive the allies into the sea with a handful of tanks.

The Red army, the main land opponent of the Germans, developed a family of heavy tanks from the KV1 to the KV85 and then the IS 1, 2 & 3. These provided.


Both the British and US army developed Abti tank guns capable of knocking out the Tiger and gave their heavy AA guns a secondary anti tank role. Both looked at heavy tanks. The British contemplated TOG 1 and the US some monstrosity of their own. Neither saw service. The British and Ameircans had to transport tanks long distances, with limited shipping capacity and restrictions on roads, bridges and railways.

British scientists looked at whether it was worth up-armouring tanks, and came to the conclusion it was better to fit tanks with bigger and better armament which would enable a medium tank to KO a heavy tank. Arguably the Sherman firefly and 76mm M4 were answers to the tiger. Most post war tanks were all around 45-60 tons with guns that could KO any other tank it hit.

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by WEISWEILER » 14 Apr 2018 16:52

Much of what you say makes sense. Btw I was talking particularly about the Africa and western campaigns but I understand your about Russia comment. They were allied as well. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection, generally spoken. The strategy was different. And about transport issues this was something i was thinking from the start.

Is there anything known about official policy on this subject?

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Apr 2018 17:32

WEISWEILER wrote:. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection
So should sailors in Destroyers complain that they would be safer in in Battleships?

Is a Destroyer of no use at all because it is not as well protected as a Battleship?

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by WEISWEILER » 14 Apr 2018 18:47

Michael Kenny wrote:
WEISWEILER wrote:. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection
So should sailors in Destroyers complain that they would be safer in in Battleships?

Is a Destroyer of no use at all because it is not as well protected as a Battleship?
If destroyers would have to attack battleships, I'm pretty sure the sailors of the first would want battleships too, no matter what the strategy is. Meaning, Allies who met German units with heavy tanks, the men in the tanks at that moment would want a heavy one as well. I sketched the common feeling of the men on the ground versus the strategy used by the leaders back home in the capital. Never said light tanks were useless. Besides the outcome has proven they were useful because of the strategy used.

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build their own 'tiger'?

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Apr 2018 19:32

WEISWEILER wrote:Already in battle in '42, why didn't the Allies create an answer right away?
Because tanks aren't cupcakes you can shove in an oven and bake until ready? Designing, prototyping, and testing tanks for service takes time, especially when it was a new technology. The main hindrance for heavy tanks was developing the engine, transmission, and suspension. For the American T20-series that spawned the Heavy Tank T26 that work began on 25 May 1942, General Motors Product Study Division completed a wooden mock-up of an improved medium tank. It then went through three similar pilot series - T20, T22, and T23 - with various sub-types, before advancing to the definitive T25/T26 pilots...one of them medium and one of them heavy, before the decision was made to proceed with the heavy type, after redesign to correct deficiencies required by the service end user - the Armored Command. The first production pilot of the accepted type, the T26E3, was completed by Fisher Grand Blanc Tank Arsenal on 31 October 1944, so basically two years and five months later. The Germans did little better; Henschel spent some four years getting from DW I to Tiger I.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Apr 2018 19:38

WEISWEILER wrote:Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection, generally spoken. The strategy was different. And about transport issues this was something i was thinking from the start.
You may be sure of that, but for at least the American tankers what they wanted was a gun and projectile they could reliably hit, penetrate, and destroy enemy tanks at battlefield range...at least that's the gist of Ordnance trip reports in the ETO in summer and fall of 1944. The main reason they wanted the T26E3 when it arrived was for the 90mm gun, not for the additional armor, which turned out to only cause reliability issues given the weight over-stressed the engine and transmission. BTW, the decision to go with the "heavy" T26 over the "medium" T25 was made by Ordnance with little or no input from the theaters that I have been able to find.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build their own 'tiger'?

Post by MLW » 14 Apr 2018 21:03

I think the question is flawed. It assumes the Tiger was a weapon of value on the Western Front, which it was not. Why copy something that was a failure?

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Apr 2018 21:21

WEISWEILER wrote:I sketched the common feeling of the men on the ground
Perhaps you could give us a few examples of 'the men on the ground' demanding Tigers and the date of the 'complaints'?

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Apr 2018 23:46

WEISWEILER wrote:Much of what you say makes sense. Btw I was talking particularly about the Africa and western campaigns but I understand your about Russia comment. They were allied as well. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection, generally spoken. The strategy was different. And about transport issues this was something i was thinking from the start.

Is there anything known about official policy on this subject?
You are right. Serving in a Tiger was a lot less dangerous than serving in an M4 Sherman. The crews were well aware of this and would far far rather have been issued Tigers. The same was true of German Panzer truppen who faced Char 1 Bis with Pz II or T34s with Pz38T or Pz IIIG - or for that matter the majority who served in Mk II, III, IV and V which were little less vulnerable than their allied opponents.There is no comparable historic paranoia by Panzer crews.

Putting the message over that the best strategy for the allies was to have five shermans rather than one Tiger was a leadership challenge for the Allied armoured commanders. They were not wholly successful, which is why the matter was still contentious. There were questions in the House of Commons about the quality of allied tanks. I suspect the whole M4 scandal might just be a media and political storm possible in a democratic state, even while the battle was raging. Here is an extract from Hansard 2 August 1944.
General Montgomery has written as follows about the recent battle: "In the fighting to date we have defeated the Germans in battle, and we have had no difficulty in dealing with the German army once we had grasped the problem. In this connection British armour has played a notable part. The Panther and Tiger tanks are unreliable mechanically and the Panther is very vulnerable from the flanks. Our 17-pounder guns will go right through them. Provided our tactics are good we can defeat them without difficulty." Well, they say the customer is always right.

The Cromwell, of course, possesses superior speed, which will be specially effective when and if we come as we may into more open country. As to the Sherman, I saw with my own eyes last week an example of the work of the 17-pounder. It was on the approaches to Caen. There was an expanse of large fields of waving corn out of which a grey stone village rose. Generals Montgomery and Dempsey brought me to this spot and invited me to count the broken-down Panther tanks which were littered about. I counted nine in the space of about 1,000 yards square. The generals then told me that all these nine had been shot with a 17-pounder from one single British Sherman tank from the side of the village wall. One cannot help being impressed by these things when one sees them with one's own eyes. Of course you will never get the same armour in a 30-ton tank as you will in one of 60 tons. But mobility, speed and manoeuvrability also count high, and when the 17-pounder gun is added to all these qualities, no one has the right to say that these lighter tanks are not fitted in every way for their task and are not a wise and far-seeing employment of our war power.
HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1459-568 1459 The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

Would anyone on this forum take issue with the words of the greatest Briton?
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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Apr 2018 00:03

Sheldrake wrote:
You are right. Serving in a Tiger was a lot less dangerous than serving in an M4 Sherman.
Taking Villers Bocage as an example shows that the casualties per penetrated tanks (that is tanks known to have been hit) was much the same. In fact more Tiger crew casualties (per penetrated tank) than British casualties. One Cromwell was hit at point blank range and none of the crew were killed or seriously wounded.

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Apr 2018 00:17

Sheldrake wrote: There is no comparable historic paranoia by Panzer crews.
The German nick-name for the Pz IV was 'Rotbart der Hauchdünne'-Redbeard the thin-skinned. I presume it was a play on the name of a popular brand of razor blades (Rotbard) sold in Germany

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by Nick the Noodle » 15 Apr 2018 00:37

Sheldrake wrote:
WEISWEILER wrote:Much of what you say makes sense. Btw I was talking particularly about the Africa and western campaigns but I understand your about Russia comment. They were allied as well. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection, generally spoken. The strategy was different. And about transport issues this was something i was thinking from the start.

Is there anything known about official policy on this subject?
You are right. Serving in a Tiger was a lot less dangerous than serving in an M4 Sherman. The crews were well aware of this and would far far rather have been issued Tigers. The same was true of German Panzer truppen who faced Char 1 Bis with Pz II or T34s with Pz38T or Pz IIIG - or for that matter the majority who served in Mk II, III, IV and V which were little less vulnerable than their allied opponents.There is no comparable historic paranoia by Panzer crews.

Putting the message over that the best strategy for the allies was to have five shermans rather than one Tiger was a leadership challenge for the Allied armoured commanders. They were not wholly successful, which is why the matter was still contentious. There were questions in the House of Commons about the quality of allied tanks. I suspect the whole M4 scandal might just be a media and political storm possible in a democratic state, even while the battle was raging. Here is an extract from Hansard 2 August 1944.
General Montgomery has written as follows about the recent battle: "In the fighting to date we have defeated the Germans in battle, and we have had no difficulty in dealing with the German army once we had grasped the problem. In this connection British armour has played a notable part. The Panther and Tiger tanks are unreliable mechanically and the Panther is very vulnerable from the flanks. Our 17-pounder guns will go right through them. Provided our tactics are good we can defeat them without difficulty." Well, they say the customer is always right.

The Cromwell, of course, possesses superior speed, which will be specially effective when and if we come as we may into more open country. As to the Sherman, I saw with my own eyes last week an example of the work of the 17-pounder. It was on the approaches to Caen. There was an expanse of large fields of waving corn out of which a grey stone village rose. Generals Montgomery and Dempsey brought me to this spot and invited me to count the broken-down Panther tanks which were littered about. I counted nine in the space of about 1,000 yards square. The generals then told me that all these nine had been shot with a 17-pounder from one single British Sherman tank from the side of the village wall. One cannot help being impressed by these things when one sees them with one's own eyes. Of course you will never get the same armour in a 30-ton tank as you will in one of 60 tons. But mobility, speed and manoeuvrability also count high, and when the 17-pounder gun is added to all these qualities, no one has the right to say that these lighter tanks are not fitted in every way for their task and are not a wise and far-seeing employment of our war power.
HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1459-568 1459 The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

Would anyone on this forum take issue with the words of the greatest Briton?
I have a similar quote from CAB 66/52/50, dated 20 July 1944, which was attributed to Montgomery, not Churchill, but the CAB source is important.

The CAB remarks made were to be kept secret for 25 years minimum, which meant such comments were not supposed to be shared at that time. What this might suggest is that the Allies were happy with Germans building relatively heavy, but unreliable tanks. However, your post suggests that CW tank crews needed to be convinced.

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Re: Why didn't the Allies build their own 'tiger'?

Post by WEISWEILER » 15 Apr 2018 00:52

Richard Anderson wrote:
WEISWEILER wrote:Already in battle in '42, why didn't the Allies create an answer right away?
Because tanks aren't cupcakes you can shove in an oven and bake until ready? Designing, prototyping, and testing tanks for service takes time, especially when it was a new technology. The main hindrance for heavy tanks was developing the engine, transmission, and suspension. For the American T20-series that spawned the Heavy Tank T26 that work began on 25 May 1942, General Motors Product Study Division completed a wooden mock-up of an improved medium tank. It then went through three similar pilot series - T20, T22, and T23 - with various sub-types, before advancing to the definitive T25/T26 pilots...one of them medium and one of them heavy, before the decision was made to proceed with the heavy type, after redesign to correct deficiencies required by the service end user - the Armored Command. The first production pilot of the accepted type, the T26E3, was completed by Fisher Grand Blanc Tank Arsenal on 31 October 1944, so basically two years and five months later. The Germans did little better; Henschel spent some four years getting from DW I to Tiger I.
Makes sense. Then again, they could 'copy' a captured Tiger. I know, simply said but, the technology didn't have to be invented from scratch anymore. It's just that you hear over and over that the Tiger was a terror and that even a few of them could be enough to change the way a battle developed.
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Re: Why didn't the Allies build there own 'tiger'?

Post by WEISWEILER » 15 Apr 2018 00:54

Sheldrake wrote:
WEISWEILER wrote:Much of what you say makes sense. Btw I was talking particularly about the Africa and western campaigns but I understand your about Russia comment. They were allied as well. Anyway I'm sure the tank men on the ground would 've wanted Tigers, for their own protection, but indeed if you look at the US armor it is more designed for speed instead of heavy protection, generally spoken. The strategy was different. And about transport issues this was something i was thinking from the start.

Is there anything known about official policy on this subject?
You are right. Serving in a Tiger was a lot less dangerous than serving in an M4 Sherman. The crews were well aware of this and would far far rather have been issued Tigers. The same was true of German Panzer truppen who faced Char 1 Bis with Pz II or T34s with Pz38T or Pz IIIG - or for that matter the majority who served in Mk II, III, IV and V which were little less vulnerable than their allied opponents.There is no comparable historic paranoia by Panzer crews.

Putting the message over that the best strategy for the allies was to have five shermans rather than one Tiger was a leadership challenge for the Allied armoured commanders. They were not wholly successful, which is why the matter was still contentious. There were questions in the House of Commons about the quality of allied tanks. I suspect the whole M4 scandal might just be a media and political storm possible in a democratic state, even while the battle was raging. Here is an extract from Hansard 2 August 1944.
General Montgomery has written as follows about the recent battle: "In the fighting to date we have defeated the Germans in battle, and we have had no difficulty in dealing with the German army once we had grasped the problem. In this connection British armour has played a notable part. The Panther and Tiger tanks are unreliable mechanically and the Panther is very vulnerable from the flanks. Our 17-pounder guns will go right through them. Provided our tactics are good we can defeat them without difficulty." Well, they say the customer is always right.

The Cromwell, of course, possesses superior speed, which will be specially effective when and if we come as we may into more open country. As to the Sherman, I saw with my own eyes last week an example of the work of the 17-pounder. It was on the approaches to Caen. There was an expanse of large fields of waving corn out of which a grey stone village rose. Generals Montgomery and Dempsey brought me to this spot and invited me to count the broken-down Panther tanks which were littered about. I counted nine in the space of about 1,000 yards square. The generals then told me that all these nine had been shot with a 17-pounder from one single British Sherman tank from the side of the village wall. One cannot help being impressed by these things when one sees them with one's own eyes. Of course you will never get the same armour in a 30-ton tank as you will in one of 60 tons. But mobility, speed and manoeuvrability also count high, and when the 17-pounder gun is added to all these qualities, no one has the right to say that these lighter tanks are not fitted in every way for their task and are not a wise and far-seeing employment of our war power.
HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1459-568 1459 The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

Would anyone on this forum take issue with the words of the greatest Briton?
Very interesting, tnx.

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