Tiger and Stug tactics

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Aida1
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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 05 Jan 2020 14:26

"Report of 27.08.1943 to the InspGen of panzer troops about the operations of kp 521/Schw. PzJg Abt 655 in the defensive fighting around Orel.

A. General
The company was committed within the XXXV Corps from 11.7 to 27.7 with a combat strength of 4 officers , 88 Unteroffiziere and 188 soldiers , 13 Hornisse and 3 Vierlings Flak in the defensive fighting to the east of Orel.
27.7 the company was withdrawn on the orders of HG Mitte
Successes. Destroyed were: 1 KW II ,19KW I, 1 General Lee,30 T 34, T 60 , 5 T 70, 1 rocket launcher on a Panzer track and 3 trucks.
Immobilised one Mark II.Disabled :one Flak
Total loss: 2 Hornisse,1 Maultier and one Kfz 1
killed: 1 Feldwebel (gunner)
wounded -hospital: 1 officer(kp commander), 2 unter offiziere, 13 soldiers
- stayed with the troop 1 officer(platoon commander),4 Unter Offiziere and 7 soldiers

……..

C. Tactical experiences
Understandeably, the own infantry asked for protection against tanks in front of the HKL. In open terrain without cover however, this request can mostly not be fullfilled by the weakly armoured Hornisse which appear as a big target and this has sometimes led to tensions with the infantry. The 11.7 and 12.7 , the company was supposed to advance offensively-like tanks- against 20 to 30 tanks down a light slope in direction of the enemy . As there was no way to advance under cover and an advance would have led to the destruction of the hunters with the enemy artillery and tank superiority before a success would be obtained, this mission had to be refused. "

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 05 Jan 2020 16:26

Report of 27.08.1943 to the InspGen of panzer troops about the operations of kp 521/Schw. PzJg Abt 655 in the defensive fighting around Orel. continued

"Let the enemy move up against well camouflaged positions under cover. The enemy tank has to move, the Hornisse has to be in position (Not the other way around as requested on 11.7 and 12.7).
An operation by a platoon on 13.7 can be taken as example, where from well camouflaged positions, but with a possibility of approach under cover, in an enemy tank attack with air support, 12 KV 1 and 4 T 34 were killed without own losses.
In case of enemy tanks halted and used as artillery, only by recce on foot and only when a covered approach is possible, is a success possible by a surprisingly coming out of cover, short firefight and disappearing in cover.
An operation by the company on 13.7 can be taken as an example. During a dangerous breakthrough by enemy tanks and infantry in the flank and rear of a Gren.Regt , the company took up position in a hollow after carefull recce on foot, killed a T 34 and KV 1 and prevented the further advance of the enemy until a counterattack could be started by continuous coming out of cover for a short time.
The basic principle and order that Hornisse should not be used in the HKL and the field of action of the enemy artillery, could not always be maintained because of the general situation and the enemy superiority."

to be continued

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 06 Jan 2020 10:23

Report of 27.08.1943 to the InspGen of panzer troops about the operations of kp 521/Schw. PzJg Abt 655 in the defensive fighting around Orel. continued

"The overstressing of the own infantry often required that on their own initiative, armour and anitank weapons stayed in the first line to give the infantry moral and effective support and prevent a dangerous and immediate advance by the enemy into the retreat movements. The effect of the high explosive 88 mm shell was huge and each time brought the enemy infantry to a halt or retreat. Because of the low mobility of the Hornisse when driving backward and low supply of ammo, which only allows small amounts to be carried, this type of operating is very limited in time and only to be used in an extreme emergency. Fully abandoning this would in several cases have prevented a planned retreat from the enemy and could not have been justified to the hard fighting infantry."

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 06 Jan 2020 11:53

Report of 27.08.1943 to the InspGen of panzer troops about the operations of kp 521/Schw. PzJg Abt 655 in the defensive fighting around Orel. continued

" It is of decisive importance as mentioned before, that a recce on foot is done by officers of all ranks. The low losses of the company in relation to the successes obtained, can be traced back to the execution of such recce's. Only in this way it can be achieved that the best road for movement up is choses and the best firepositions can be immediately moved into and does not have to be looked for in sigth of the enemy. Even the commanding of the gun during combat can be done better on foot than from the vehicle.The Jäger officer can have a quicker insight into the terrain and the situation, vector his Jäger more accurately and has a better firing observation to the side and away from the wind. Incoming radio messages can be recorded by the radio operator during this time. However, the prerequisite is unconditional sight and calling distance to the Jäger.
Even with the appearance of massed numbers of russian tank units, they mostly dissolved in small battle groups. The cooperation within the russian panzer units was apparently not good. Most of the kills by the company could therefore be obtained at advances of such small russian groups of tanks.The killing of these groups- probably sent forward for violent recce, almost always led to the turning away of bigger units.
The 13.7.1943 the unit was in combat against a unit of 20-30 tanks attacking in closed order.The shooting of russian tanks was mostly not good. On the other hand,the cooperation between tanks, artillery and air units was good.
The originally requested installation of the Hornisse in fixed positions has generally to be rejected because of the height and the low capability to pivot of the Hornisse.
On the contrary, it has proven itself exceptionally, to immediately at each positioning, dig foxholes under the Jäger as just crawling under them did not give enough protection against shrapnel."...

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 09 Jan 2020 11:21

Copy of a letter by an officer of 24.Pz division Pz offz b Chef gen st d H Bb nr 2178/43 gv 20.11.1943


09.11.1943

After we have finished our first operation,i can report Herr Oberst briefly

1) To the recently broached matter of whether Panzer and Sturmgeschütze can be mixed within the unit, i determinedly maintain my point of view that that there should be no mixing within the units; another solution would be over-refined.
2) probation
Both Panzer and Sturmgeschütze have proven themselves well. Advantage of the Sturmgeschütze : the low structure makes it easier for him to approach excellently particularly to tanks. Disadvantage of the Sturmgeschütze :lack of a machinegun. The Sturmgeschütze is the ideal weapon for the combating of enemy tanks(at least in the terrain in south russia), but it can never fully replace the tank. THe adding of Sturmgeschütze to Panzerabteilungen up to half of the number of armored vehicles, i consider bearable.
3) The fighting here is done by Panzer,artillery, PAK and airforce; the other weapons become less important.The infantry has low importance because it is bad; to my opinion after such a long war the exhausted infantry cannot be improved anymore to a decisive weapon . Therefore by all means, Panzer, PAK and artillery have to be built. For the evaluation of all these weapons between themselves i argue the following opinion:
a) the strengthening of the defense is served by PAK, Sturmgeschützabteilungen and artillery;
b) for the strengthening of the attack we need tanks,tanks and again tanks(inclusive Sturmgeschütze;)where we want decisive offensive success we need tanks but in mass and deeply staggered. I am convinced that we will smoothly breakthrough when we come to a real massing of tanks.
4) Evaluation of the russians here: infantry mostly bad but numerous, because he immediately recruits the ukrainian population in reoccupied terrain. We made prisoners who , 3 weeks before worked in Germany. The russian has numerous PAK , it is our most disagreeable opponent. His tanks are tactically badly lead and shoot badly. My regiment could bewtween 24.10 and 1.11 in the area of Kriwoi Rog hit 181 enemy tanks with only 4 own total loss. Now however, i have in a few days 6 further losses against PAK. Russian artillery i have only seldomly experienced. Here the russian fired a lot with Panzer, PAK , heavy Sturmgeschützen and individual light guns which with heavy use of ammo are sometimes a nuisance.
5) To conclude my strongest impression of our operations so far is that we absolutely need numerically real strong Panzer units when we want to come to an offensive success and that we must indeed.

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 28 Jan 2020 19:08

" Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen 15.04.1943

Leaflet on the use of a Sturmgeschützabteilung within the Panzerregiment

1) Within some Panzer divisions it is necessary to equip a Panzerabteilung with Sturmgeschütze as an intermediary solution
2) The Panzerabteilung is equipped with 96 Sturmgeschütze
Organisation: staff 3 command tanks
staff company( recce and security platoon) 5 Sturmgeschütze
1. to 4. company kp troop 2 Sturmgeschütze each
1. to 4. platoon 5 Sturmgeschütze each
3) The Sturmgeschütze has the following advantages over a Panzer IV:
a) strong frontal armor( from april 1943 newly produced Panzer IV will have armor of the same stregth)
b) lower height and therefore a smaller target
Disadvantages are:
a) no commander cupola so lesser command and sighting ability(from december 1942 new Sturmgeschütze
have a command cupola)
b) no turret so no ability to fire in all directions
c) no machinegun that can fire in all directions. This affects the ability for close defense.
4) The performance and properties of the sturmgeschütze do not allow autonomous operations without panzer or panzergrenadiere
Its advantages make it into a tank hunter. This governs the use of the Pz Abteilung equipped with Sturmgeschütze with the Panzer regt and the Pz division.
5) Attack
a) the Sturmgeschütz Abt cannot fight like a Pz Abt autonomously within the enemy. Support and monitoring by Panzer or Panzer grenadiere will therefore always be necessary. Therefore the use in the last echelon for collaboration with the Pz grenadiere will be the rule
For this the instructions for collaboration with the infantry apply(H.Dv 200/2m AVA Die Sturmgeschütz batterie of 07.09.1942 besides the supplementary annexes)

b) Pz Abt equipped with with the Pz III and Panzer IV with thin frontal armor(50mm) can be reinforced by Sturmgeschütze comapnies or platoons for special missions(point, attack with limited objective)
The Sturmgeschütze then fight in the front

c) when meeting enemy tanks, the Sturmgescütze units are put to the front to free the other Pz Abt. for moving against flank and rear and so for the complete destruction of the enemy tanks.

d) as tank hunters the Sturmgeschütze are to be driven behind the open wings of the regt so that they can protect the flanks and support the regt when confronting enemy tanks

e) when the Pz grenadiere have to create the preconditions for the operation of the regt , for example in crossing a river, then the Sturmgeschütze can make their mission effectively easier by their fire

6) Defense
In the defense the sturmgeschütze units will, like the Pz Abt, be kept back and used for counter thrusts and counter attacks with the Pz Grenadiere .
Specifically, the Sturmgeschütze unit has the role of the tank hunter

7) Retreat
By an attack with limited objective, in collaboration with Panzer and Panzer grenadiere, the retreat from the enemy is made easier. The operation of the Sturmgeschütze units as tank hunters will be in the foreground.

Guderian"

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 28 Jan 2020 21:33

" Commanding general III. Panzercorps Gef.Stdt 21.7.1943

Based on the experiences in the latest fighting i give the following instructions for the collaboration of Tiger with other weapons:
Because of its high performance weapon and strong armor the Tiger has to be used in the first place against enemy tanks and antitank weapons and only in the second place and , very exceptionally- against infantry targets. Its armament allows it also at distances of 2000 m and more with best success, as experience showed- to fight enemy tanks, which has particularly affected the enemy morally. In consequence of its strong armor, it can approach enemy tanks at close distance without suffering serious damage. It has to be aimed at to engage the armored battle at distances of over 1000 m.
The operations of the tiger have to be preceded by the reconnaissance of the terrain above all of the ability to cross rivers, bridges and morass if the situation allows it, which was often possible in the last fighting. Company and platoon commanders and tank commanders should not be afraid to dismount and execute the reconnaissance on foot to prevent that whole units get stuck in such terrain . Often, it has come to useless losses of Tiger through mines in connection with this , which could have been prevented. The same is valid for the other tanks.
2) A certain weakness of the Tiger is that through the arrangement of the commander cupola on the left side, the sighting conditions of the commander to the right at close distance are bad and to this side there is a strong dead angle , which implies a danger of attack at close range by the enemy. This puts certains demands on other weapons to protect the Tiger from this danger which are explained below.
Halftracks and Sturmgeschütze , light and medium tanks must in attack at first follow the Tiger closely to protect the Tiger from the flank and later exploit the success of the Tiger for the follow up attack, above all however in the combat in the parts of the main battle area occupied by infantry take out the danger for the Tiger through close combat troops.The Grenadiere must immediately use the high moral and real effect of the break in of the Tiger and the other tanks, Sturmgeschütze and halftracks to advance in the main enemy battle area and scour the enemy positions, because otherwise the danger exists tha t, when the tanks drive further , the enemy infantry resistance will revive and useless losses occur with the Grenadiere.
It is not only the misson of the light and medium tanks, Sturmgeschütze and halftracks to execute the protection of the Tiger against close combat troops, but to an even greater extent the mission of all weapons ,particularly the Grenadiere and engineers to support the Tiger. The Tiger are less exposed to this danger in free open terrain.
3) During the attack on 05.07 the lack of knowledge about the laying of the own mines before the front has had a negative effect on the operations of the Tiger in a particular sector. Because of insufficient mineclearing by engineers many vehicles drove on mines so that the Tiger company which operated there was almost completely disabled in the first stage of the fighting.
The disabling of the Tiger company in the divison that attacked in the focal point has had a very negative effect during the first two days of the offensive. The training of engineers in demining and designating of lanes in the minefields is to be emphasized.
With foresight sufficient engineers have always to be assigned to the forward combat troops, not only to eliminate barriers , specifically also for demining because experience learns that at antitank ditches,towns and narrow passages in the depth of the defense zone it is to be counted with the danger of mines.
4) I forbid the use of tanks and also the Tiger under company strength. In defense the tanks have to be kept together in intervention groups to use them in enemy break ins in a counterattack. After execution of the counterattack , thedse Panzer groups have immediately to be pulled out to the disposal of the sector commander or the division .The splitting up in individual tanks or Panzer groups ,the positioning in the front line and the securing of other weapons day and night has to be avoided.
5) This order is to be destroyed after perusal and this has to be reported."

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 29 Jan 2020 19:10

" Commander 16.Pz. gren.div Div.gef.stdt 04.10.1943

Concerns collaboration with Tiger tanks

From the experiences made with the Tiger Abt 506 in the bridghead Saporoshe i communicate the following:
The propaganda has presented the Tiger as invulnerable, unfortunately that is not true. It seems the russian has had for some time a special munition for fighting Tiger with which he can shoot the Tiger with the T 34 and 7,62 cm frontally from 500 m , from the side and from the rear from 1500 m. Thereby, the Tiger is subject to the same combat conditions as all other Panzer and Sturmgeschütze.Unfortunately the times of last spring are over when the Tiger could expose himself to the fire of enemy tanks and PAK as a target and let himself be fired at leisurely, without anything happening to him. In the short time of operations in the Saporoshe bridghead the Tiger Abteilung 506 has already suffered heavy losses:
6 Tiger lost through direct hits and burning out
Penetration of the armor at around 1000 m
1 Tiger shot by a T 34 from 200 m which could be recovered
At the end of the attack of 26.09 , during which the Abteilung was in action with 9 Tiger, none of these Tiger was operational
2)The motor of the Tiger does not work properly yet. With the tremendous weight of the Tiger the machines suffer a lot from technical breakdowns. When therefore a Tiger is left on the battlefield because of a technical breakdown, its towing away causes extaordinary difficulties.
3) The marching movements of the Tiger need the most carefull reconnaissance because of its cumbersomeness and heavy weight. The moving up and deployment of the Tiger is therefore much more difficult and takes three times more time than with other tanks and Sturmgeschütze.
4) The Tiger have a height of 3 m . They are tremendous boxes which cannot remain hidden from enemy observation and as a target are like a barngate. They automatically attract enemy fire from all types and caliber on them. Russian instructions also state that it is difficult to destroy a Tiger. But they can be disabled and paralysed by firing on them with all weapons like artillery, mortars, PAK,antitank rifles etc.. . By all the hits of projectiles in the neighbourhood of the Panzer so much dust swirls up that the tanks cannot see and cannot shoot. The russian proceeds according to this instruction with success. It does therefore not work to couple attacking Tiger with attacking infantry . This will inevitably be pinned down in the defensive enemy fire directed at the Tiger and suffers heavy losses. The attack movements of the Tiger must be separated from those of the infantry."

to be continued

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Re: Tiger and Stug tactics

Post by Aida1 » 29 Jan 2020 20:18

Commander 16.Pz. gren.div Div.gef.stdt 04.10.1943

Concerns collaboration with Tiger tanks

continued

" 5) The strength of the Tiger is its longrange gun, not its armor. It must therefore work with fire from a good position in which, thanks to its long range it does not matter whether it is 300 m forward or backwards from the enemy. Decisively important is the good firing position if possible covered from enemy sight.
6).The cumbersome and not agile Tiger is not well suited for fighting in the enemy infantry field. It lacks the necessary speed and agility for this type of fight and the capability to quickly drive up and back. The Tiger is therefore under no circonstance a panzer which accompanies infantry.
When the Tiger operate alone in the attack and breakthrough through enemy infantry, PAK and artillery positions, then the attack will only have a prospect of success when numerous Tiger are used in several waves or groups , which cover each others flanks and back. Which means that from this viewpoint also Tiger are subject to the same tactical conditions as the other tanks.
7) For the operation of Tiger in the support of an infantry attack, the guiding principle is : the Tiger supports the advance of the infantry through long range direct fire. In this he must have liberty of movement to move his firing position according to the situation and the enemy. The advancing infantry must be at such a dustance from its firing positions that it is not hit by the concentric enemy defensive fire directed at the Tiger. It is to be considered that the Tiger cannot be endlessly exposed to the enemy fire in the open. The mass of fire which patters down on them will , after a time inflict so much damage on its drive, gun, opticals etc.. that they become immobile and not battleworthy.
Further it must be remembered that also the Tiger crews under the armor protection suffer from the massed enemy fire directed at them. Each operation means for them a strong test of nerves. Even Tiger crews can therefore not constantly execute attacks. Apart from this the tanks themselves need particuarly carefull maintenance to remain operational. Each attack with Tiger support needs therefore beforehand carefull reconnaissance of the terrain and detailed discussion with the infantry commanders concerning operation and execution of the attack, in which the opinion of the expert Tiger commanders much be given carefull attention. An attack plan with insufficient reconnaissance and not enough thought out and discussed will mostly lead to failure and high losses not only of the tanks but also the infantry.
I therefore ask that all officers, especially batallion,Abteilung and regimental commanders carefully heed these principles and guidelines in the collaboration with Tiger. It is in your interest and preserves you from losses and failures."

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