Tiger and Stug tactics

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 06 Aug 2019 02:29

Stug 202, June 14, 1942

Report on the use of AGs by the Corps POV after a counterattack in conjunction with infantry:

"The assault guns were requested without having been able to prepare their own defensive equipment properly. Screaming for assault guns makes the infantry develop an inferiority complex. They already have that. Assault guns are the corps’ equipment for focal points. Therefore, infantry must be educated and trained in cooperation with other arms to fight off enemy attacks accompanied by tanks by themselves, employing their own equipment."

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 06 Aug 2019 02:40

Yoozername wrote:
05 Aug 2019 01:53
I believe it was even prototyped, but again politics and fighting for resources probably got even worse as the war dragged on.
It looks like the German Artillery arm didn't get as much as they hoped for in the late war- leading to weaker Stug units.

The loss of a lot of SPG-type vehicles to fill "tank" units in mobile divisions and newly raised Waffen SS and Heer PzG/ PzD. Also, the allocation of 1-2 companies of SPG-type AFVs to the PzJ battalions of infantry formations . The infantry arm complained about the lack of armor close-at hand and eventually got what they were seeking. Also, all those independent PzJ formations.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Yoozername » 06 Aug 2019 17:43

I suppose the game plan should have been that the lighter 'Hetzer' afv would go to infantry divisions. This would work out since the Hetzer were slower and not very good cross-country. They were also lighter, and 'tugs' to retrieve them could be lighter. They really were best at AT defense, not having the layout of the StuGs. Unfortunately, they would introduce a new ammunition, and specialists/trucks/etc., into the division, and of course, require greater fuel (less than the StuGs though). But the initial Hetzer roll out actually went to a Battalion of Panzerjager, and it was very slowly brought into infantry divisions.

The Panzerjager and StuG IV should have then taken over the PD and PGD needs for AT battalions. They could share commonality with Panzer chassis and ammunition. They actually had more issues with running gear, especially the L70 version, and would be better serviced in a heavy division.

But in the late war chaos, with the great loss of equipment, there were no strict rules. The Sturmartillerie, as an arm, still existed, but their requirements seemed to be secondary. Many units used captured T34, without turrets, as a towing vehicle.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Michael Kenny » 06 Aug 2019 19:59

Yoozername wrote:
06 Aug 2019 17:43
But the initial Hetzer roll out actually went to a Battalion of Panzerjager, and it was very slowly brought into infantry divisions.
The official designation of the vehicle is Panzerjager 38 fur 7.5cm Pak 39 L/48 Sd Kfz. 128/2.
Might that be the reason why it was not issued to the Stug Abt. ?

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Yoozername » 07 Aug 2019 06:37

Not sure what you mean. I do mean the following is the first distributions to non-training units....
These are the first 270 vehicles delivered.

The following were combat units:
PJA 731 =45
PJA 743=45
15.ID=14
76.ID=14
79.ID=14
97.JD=14
257.ID=14
335.ID=14
8.SSKD=14
20.SSWGD=14
This totals 202 vehicles
That is, Heeres Panzerjager Abteilung: 731 and 743 received them.

https://www.axishistory.com/various/153 ... eilung-731

It seems the Sturmartillerie was not receptive of them, BTW, if that is also what you also might mean.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Yoozername » 08 Aug 2019 02:08

I suppose Panzerjager Abteilung would be in the same boat as Tiger and StuG (Sturmartillerie) battalions. I read a report on Hornisse, and the author even went so far as saying that when operating in an area, StuGs, Tigers, and ID ATG Bn should have a liason or controlling element to use each weapon effectively. Clearly, the Hornet tactics differed from both the StuGs and Tigers. The Hornets wanted to be mobile, have cover, use hit and run tactics, and press the range advantage of the 88mm as much as possible. ID wanted them to just stand behind them and shoot!

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Yoozername » 09 Aug 2019 19:42

An interesting report from June 1944 as far as what the Sturmartillerie wanted as far as StuG III and StuH as well as possibly using 'L70' weapons. From Panzer-Elmito. Basically, they have 1200 assault guns in June 1944, and want to expand.

Notes written on June 20, 1944 by the Organization Section IIIb of the General Staff of the Army where disagreement is shown with the monthly allocation figures of assault guns set for the Artillery and where its increase is proposed.
Organization Section IIIb
Notes
Regarding : Inspector General of the Armored Troop / Development No. 020/44 geh of 30.5.44
Subject : Assault cannons

The Organization Section does not agree with the 200 monthly assault cannons set for the army assault cannon brigades ( Heer.Stu.Gesch.Brig. )

Demand for, as agreed with the Inspector General of the Armored Troops, to maintain and increase the 45 army assault cannon brigades (each 45 assault cannons) = 375

Calculation of demand: see annex.

For this reason, the monthly allocation of 375 assault cannons to the Assault Artillery is required, as follows:

250 assault cannons with cannon L / 48
125 Assault howitzer (Stu.Haub.)

A decision has not yet been made on whether during the transition to the new assault cannon model with L / 70 the Artillery must also claim the L / 70. This decision will depend on the troop tests. In order to make a quick decision, it is necessary to deliver 15 assault guns to the Artillery of the current production of the new assault cannon model with L / 70.
ag1.jpg
Stock to date 1.1.1945 = 2016
Demand for 45 brigades with each 45 guns = 2025
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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Yoozername » 09 Aug 2019 19:46

Likewise, another report that shows how all assault guns might be divided up amongst the various units.


Organization Section IIIb
Notes
In reference to : Production, evolution of troops and the possibility of equipping hunting units ( Pz.Jg. ) with assault guns ( Stu.Gesch. )
Production :
For the production of the months June to November 1944, the indications of the Armament Notebook ( Rüstungsheft ) of 1.6.44 on the production of Stu.Gesch have been used as a basis . III, Stu.Gesch. IV, Stu.Haub., Stu.Gesch. 38 t, Stu.Gesch. (new model). For the month of June 1945, the production objective was set, set at the meeting with the Führer of 16.6.1944, of 1.800 Stu.Gesch. and Pz.Jg. (not counting Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger); for the remaining months (December 44 to May 45), a steady growth in production has been started. Subtracting monthly 375 Stu.Gesch. for the Assault Artillery ( Stu.Artl.) the number of assault cannons available for hunting vehicles (Annex 1) is obtained

Development of troops :
Starting with a 13% monthly loss, the total number of assault guns inside armored units and tank destroyers will exceed 1,400 Stu.Gesch. 1.6.1944 to 6.250 to 1.7.1945 (see annex 2).

Equipment possibilities :

First equipment objective :
33 armored divisions (incl. SS) Each 21 assault cannons
(in the tank destroyer battalion) = 693
15 divisions of grenadiers
( Pz.Gren.Div. ), Incl. H.H Each 73 assault cannons
(42 in battleships battleships
31 in battalions of tank destroyers) = 1,095
220 infantry,
mountain and hunter divisions Each 10 assault cannons
(in the tank destroyer battalions) = 2,200
Total to meet the first objective: = 3,988

Second equipment objective :
33 armored divisions Each 31 assault cannons
(in the tank destroyer battalion) = 1023
15 grenadier divisions
Each 73 assault cannons
(42 in battleships battleships
31 in battalions of tank destroyers) = 1,095
220 infantry divisions
Each 20 assault cannons
(in the tank destroyer battalions) = 4,400
Total to meet the second objective
that will be achieved approximately in August 1945: = 6,518
ag2.jpg
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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by AKahl » 12 Aug 2019 19:49

I always thought that that Tiger/King Tiger battalions should have been a 50/50 mix (minus Command Tigers) between Tigers and Stug III's (like the original "mixed" battalion concept using Panzer III's), in order to increase the number of "runners" in the field, to make up for the fragility and maintenance heavy Tiger design. I recall that when Guderian and the Panzer Inspectorate dictated that there would be no more "mixed" tiger battalions, a number of the field commanders voiced their opposition. I wonder if it had to do with the higher percentage of Panzer III's available in the field at a given time.

Likewise, I'd have wanted mixed Panther/Hetzer battalions or Panther/STUG IV battalions (for Panzer divisions equipped with a second battalion of Panzer IV's, to ease vehicle maintenance) for the same reason.

That way the functional Tigers and Panthers would be supported and augmented by a larger number of cost-effective assault guns. It would certainly complicate maintenance structure and ammo supply, but I think it would allow greater staying power for these units, and also allow for more Tiger and Panther battalions to be stood up/maintained.
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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by AKahl » 12 Aug 2019 19:55

Yoozername wrote:
06 Aug 2019 17:43
The Panzerjager and StuG IV should have then taken over the PD and PGD needs for AT battalions. They could share commonality with Panzer chassis and ammunition. They actually had more issues with running gear, especially the L70 version, and would be better serviced in a heavy division.
Yup. Just read this after my post. Totally agree

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Aug 2019 00:30

AKahl wrote:
12 Aug 2019 19:49
That way the functional Tigers and Panthers would be supported and augmented by a larger number of cost-effective assault guns.
The reason why the mixed organization ( III , VI)was eliminated was because it was tactically and operationally superfluous. The two vehicle types were harder to coordinate. It's one of those concepts that seem good on paper but in practice it had issues.

Interestingly enough the heavy PR 56 on the Eastern Front (2 x Ferdinand, 1 x Brummbar battalions) worked well together.

One of my interests is finding out if the Tiger actually had an economical tactical role in the Eastern Front beyond morale and the comparable infrequent use as a "sledgehammer" ahead of lighter AFVs. I've collected all of its substantial literature of late but have struggled to find time to study it.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by AKahl » 13 Aug 2019 01:30

I think it could be made to work, if the secondary AFV had significant anti-tank ability, more so than a long 50mm or short 75mm using HEAT rounds. I think the conventional heavy tanks could be integrated with the lower silhouette assault guns and they would learn to complement one another. I feel like the number of Tiger runners in homogenous heavy battalions could pretty quickly reach single digits, during extended combat or especially during retreats, and the whole unit becomes ineffective or worse, a liability, with a tank park of wrecked and deadlined vehicles. The panthers, in my opinion, were even harder to keep running, statistically, so they needed leavening with other, cheaper AFV's, even more so than the tiger units did.

I think Guderian's focus for the heavy tank battalion was as a "decisive point weapon" largely to spearhead assaults and counterattacks. Maybe, seeing it more as a decisive defensive weapon was more realistic, given its particular set of strengths/weaknesses, and Germany's overall strategic situation. I agree with you about the proportional value vs cost of STUGs and Jagpanzers, and that they were money better spent. I just think they could have been used in mixed battle groups, like virtually every panzer unit became after say July of 1944. Most Panzer divisions were closer in AFV strength to a full strength U.S. tank battalion, after that point.

I think that there were objections by the people in the mixed tiger battalions, who were actually using them in combat, to the new "pure tiger" structure. Four divisions had tiger companies, and I think they were able to integrate them with other AFV's, as part of a combined arms team, pretty well. To me, and just my opinion, of course, the mistake with the Tiger/Panzer III mixture was that the Panzer III already lacked military relevance on the battlefield, while the STUG was still quite effective and actually cheaper to produce. I don't so much see the secondary AFV's as "Tiger Minders" (to quote author Roger Ford) to protect the tigers, but more as leavening to flesh out the unit and ensure that enough tanks were fielded to be effective at a given time. I'm also looking at it from an admittedly more defensive (or some might say defeatist) mindset.
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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Aug 2019 03:16

I wonder if there are any reports analyzing the morale effects of the Tiger tank and whether this translated to increased combat value with indirect (rather than direct) effects? In a way the Tiger could be considered part of the advertising budget of the German army.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by AKahl » 13 Aug 2019 04:26

Yup. Pretty much a trademark. Simply the fact that western allied troops saw tigers everywhere, illustrates the point. And how many tigers did the Soviets officially claim that they destroyed at Kursk? It's reputation preceded it.

To quote Roger Ford again, "...It had become a symbol of German Military might."

Plus, it had a steering wheel and drove like a car.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Paul Lakowski » 16 Aug 2019 01:38

When I first read about the StuG [E 70s] I assumed they would spearhead attacks with better armor and guns than Pz-III, but of course the lack of turret traverse made them risky in any offensive action. I was not surprised to later read they were supposed to attack with infantry escort, wich speaks back to the "Escort battery" I mentioned a month ago.

However I always assumed StuG-III could follow Pz-III companies and provide flanking and over watch fires in support of these companies....much like the Panzer IV heavy company in each Panzer Battalion 41-43. Similarly, I could see a company of Jagdpz-IV L70 being useful in a Pz-IVJ battalion.
Was there ever any efforts in that direction?

Or perhaps pairing up heavily armored Pz-II to scout for advancing StuG batteries?

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