Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

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tracks031
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Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 29 Feb 2020 16:20

So far out of all the "big cats" I've only seen the average amount of km's driven between mechanicals overhauls for Panther, Jagdpanther and Jagdtiger. Are there any such numbers available for the two Tigers?

If there's other pieces of information that can shed some light on mechanical lifespans through out the war, such as Tiger 1's & 2's movements during operations, I'd also appreciate that.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 09 Mar 2020 17:15

I'll add a reply myself, both to "bump" the thread and add what little I know so far.

A fellow tank-nut online told me about a case of 30+ Tiger 1 driving at least 700 km in Tunisia: a 300 km road march to get to a battle, the actual battle, then 350 road march to another location, as well as however long they had driven before that without recieving spares. They lost 1 tank to a breakdown on the way back. He didn't know if any other Tigers had breakdowns but not severe enough to be left behind though.

I've seen 2 other examples of Tiger 1 driving 700-800 km with the majority of the battalion (45 tanks) not being left behind.

The only information I know of about Tiger 2 are one report written by Tiger 2 crews from October 1944 (on Panzerworld.com) which mentions breakdowns occurring between only 50 and 100 km. I assume it doesn't mention any tanks being driven farther because none of them did. It blames the very short lifespan on teething issues.

The other example is from the 503's war diary, in which it's mentioned that during their time in Hungary, when fully equipped with Tiger 2, that they drove between 400-500 km before breakdowns occurred, which happened in almost all their tanks at almost the same time. They seem to consider these breakdowns premature and blames it on not having time for any maintenance due to being almost constantly in combat.

About the Jagdtiger, in the Tank Museum of Bovington's video about it on YouTube they say it could do about 200-250 km before the transmission was worn out.

A comparison can be made with the British assault gun Tortoise, weighting 78 tonnes, which one tank-nut, specialised in British tanks, said could do 800 km during testing. That doesn't look make the Tiger 2 or the Jagdtiger look very good, although one could keep in mind that it was during testing, and the Tortoise was probably not driven aggressively, as a tank used in combat might, and was probably also driven by a skilled crew, which the late war German tanks often were not.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 Mar 2020 18:33

comparison:
Screenshot_90.jpg

Screenshot_92DAAAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.jpg
Screenshot_92FGH.jpg
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tracks031
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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 10 Mar 2020 02:07

Thanks for the reply.

Churchill's were quite impressive for a pretty heavy tank.
Here's some more stats (taken from a YouTube-comment though, so I have no choice but to trust that this information is from a real source):

"The 6th Guards Tank Army discovered the following lifespans of their tanks (late 1944/45):
T-34: 2000-2500 km, 250-300 hours
IS 2/ISU-122: 1200-1800 km, 230-280 hours
M4A2: 2000-2500 km, 250-300 hours
SU-76: 1200-1800 km, 180-200 hours"

It seems as if Tigers had a pretty short mechanical longevity -- very short when compared to WW2 tanks overall, but maybe quite short for their respective weight classes too.

They obviously shouldn't be compared with medium tanks, which were both lighter but also expected, due to doctrine, to be able to drive for long distances, whole Tigers were designed as a breakthrough tank meant for limited use: complete the attack then withdraw from combat.

Still, considering Germany's struggle to produce enough spare parts for their tanks, and knowing that doctrine often falls apart when the bullets starts to fly, it makes one scratch their head of there really wasn't a stronger drive train available for the Tigers.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Alejandro_ » 11 Mar 2020 11:24

it makes one scratch their head of there really wasn't a stronger drive train available for the Tigers.
Tiger I was a much heavier vehicle than it's predecessors, thus there was not much experience in the design of corresponding mechanical components. Also, it was designed when Germany had the upper hand and then rushed into service when T-34/KV-1 were encountered.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 12 Mar 2020 00:37

Michael Kenny wrote:
09 Mar 2020 18:33
comparison:
Screenshot_90.jpg

Screenshot_92DAAAAAAAAAAAABBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.jpg
Screenshot_92FGH.jpg
I've seen you everywhere for some time. While you usually dig deep into sources to debunk sensationalistic claims about Tigers, do you know anything about Tigers moving around on their own tracks from the sources you've seen? Could you give an impression you've got of an average amount of km's a Tiger 1 and 2 could drive on their own tracks?

Alejandro_ wrote:
11 Mar 2020 11:24
it makes one scratch their head of there really wasn't a stronger drive train available for the Tigers.
Tiger I was a much heavier vehicle than it's predecessors, thus there was not much experience in the design of corresponding mechanical components. Also, it was designed when Germany had the upper hand and then rushed into service when T-34/KV-1 were encountered.
Makes sense. Then Tiger 2 was rushed again and had to make due with the same drivetrain.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Woody Wetter » 04 Apr 2020 20:57

This is very interesting topic. I have tried to make research about how reliable any nation tanks were in WW2 .

But there are some major problems trying to come up with any kind of statements what can give clear conclusion how good/bad tank X or Y were.Because available data even from orginal sources dont mean it shows big actual picture. So far i have studied mostly German and Soviet Union vehicles.

I have come to two interesting conclusions- (i try to keep them short as possible):


1) Tank tests at during development/ pre production trials are usually far from mass production tank at battlefield. Why? Because non mass produced vehicles mean they are basically handmade under very strict quality control. Also components tend to be higher quality and during mass production cheaper alternatives will be used.

Example Panther tank - most flaws what it had during army service did not occurred at pre-production tanks.Design was good but low quality components for serial production vehicles increased failure rates.

Example Soviet T-44 tank - During testing it had very good armor(for weight and size) and reliability. But after it was put in serial production it turned out unacceptable due very low quality. Tank entered in Red Army service 1944 but never sent to combat. There was no real improvement on armor when for weld quality meant frontal armor plates come loose after receiving few shots from cannons it should be immune. Again , factories were unable to produce large amounts good quality components and keep hull welding under quality control. Its myth Soviets did not wanted to replace T-34 because it was so good and kept producing it until end of war and after war aswell. They simply could not arrange factories for improved tank during war.

2) Germans were aware of fact when new vehicles(big cats and other zoo) are rushed in production and there will be issues and its not possible even when everything is equal(logistics, spare parts etc) to have reliability of Panzer 3/4 etc. It was no surprise. But what they did was they changed the armor and armament over reliability to have newest designs as soon as possible available in battlefield. Keep in mind 90% of vehicle development was done by keeping Eastern Front in eyes. Germans simply made cold calculation- Panther(or any other cat) can be less reliable than P4 but after battle it was cheaper to change transmissions/engines/final drives etc than to replace knocked out P4 and its crew.

Even Soviets from 1944 tried to shift from weakly armored T-34 to more armored heavy tanks by changing tank production.By shifting i mean they decreased T-34 production for more IS type tanks. Keep in mind IS-2 and heavy SPG(ISU-152,ISU122) were less mobile , almost double expensive and less suitable for long road marches.Also besides some engine parts there was very little standart parts with T-34. Since IS chassis was relatively new to Soviets there was also problems with reliability and quality in mass production. It was not so refined by years of massproduction as T-34.

Also IS tank maintenance was more time consuming - For example one issue of many what remained unsolved.Since tank driver was located in middle of hull then all control linkages were arranged so they run under the engine to transmission etc. What meant in combat the linkages seize up or were out of adjustment- due working in dust and due problems with greasing them. But for access easiest way was to remove engine.
Engine bay is open to elements and all the cooling air means it will collect large amounts of dust.

Maybe some day i will write longer and with all details.

But what most keyboard warriors tend to forgot is tank main task is not to be reliable but to fight and complete battle task. Some level of unreliability has been and still is acceptable in modern armies.
If you want maximum amount of miles then take truck.
Also having spent too long development time on tank in WW2 to achieve very good reliability means it will be outdated once it hits battlefield.

Spare parts are always cheaper than loosing less combat capable whole tank + crew.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Woody Wetter » 06 Apr 2020 20:11

Just interesting information about Barbarossa tanks:

Concerning the state of 6th Panzer Division's armor, I reported on 1941 31 October:

The average distance driven by our Panzers was 11,500 kilometers for
PzKw II, 12,500 for PzKw 35t, 11,000 for PzKw IV, and 3,200 for command
tanks. The special situation in regard to repair of the PzKw 35t is well
known. It is indeed deemed necessary to point out that repairs can be accomplished only by cannibalizing other Panzers because there are no
longer any spare parts for the PzKw 35t. This means that after retrieval of
the Panzers that are scattered around the terrain, a maximum of ten can
actually be repaired out of the forty-one PzKw 35ts reported as needing repair. The PzKw 35ts can no longer be rebuilt. All of the components are
worn out. To be practical, perhaps the armored hulls are still salvageable.


PANZER
OPERATIONS
The Eastern Front Memoir of
General Raus, 1941-1945

-------------

There is little information how much repair and replacement parts(engines , transmissions) they got during advance but supply trucks and logistics could not keep up with tempo.Only basic needs like fuel , ammo , food were covered to some extend.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 12 Apr 2020 02:12

Appreciate you sharing that - interesting stuff.
I was surprised to see over 10,000 km's driven!
Wonder what made Pz IV command versions have a shorter lifespan.

Please do return if you find anything about the Tigers.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Contender » 12 Apr 2020 07:48

An article by Boris Kavalerchik about the assessment appeared in the Russian-language magazine Voenno-Istoricheskiy Arkhiv, issue No. 1, 2006. I found a couple of things striking. First of all, and this is not the striking part, Kavalerchik says that contrary to popular opinion in Russia which holds that the T-34s which were sent to the US and England were intentionally not of the highest quality, in the spring of 1942 five T-34s were specially prepared using the highest quality parts at the Ural Tank Factory (UTZ), which at that time produced the best T-34s in Russia. These five tanks were better than regular T-34s. One was sent to the U.S., one to England, two to the front, and one to the Peoples Commissariat for Tank Production and can now be found mounted on a pedestal in the yard of the Central Museum of the Armed Forces in Moscow.

The striking part of the article, to me at least, is this part, which comments on Aberdeen’s finding that the T-34 broke down beyond repair after 343 kilometers due to dirt getting into the engine’s cylinders. Apparently this was very good!

“There was nothing unusual about a tank breaking down after such a short period. At that time T-34 tanks were guaranteed not to break down for 1,000 kilometers, but in practice this number was unattainable. According to a report by the Scientific Institute for Armored Equipment (NIBT) to Ya. N. Fedorenko, the chief of the Red Army’s Auto-Armored Directorate, the average distance a T-34 traveled before requiring overhaul (capital repairs) did not exceed 200 kilometers. The Aberdeen T-34 exceeded this.

In 1942 the quality of Soviet tanks had significantly fallen for many understandable reasons. These included the difficulty of reestablishing production by the evacuated factories at new locations, factories switching over to new production, the loss of many supply lines and sources of raw materials, a sharp drop in the average qualification of workers due to losses among experienced workers and the hiring of many new, inexperienced workers including women and teenagers. These new workers worked tirelessly and did everything they could for the front, but they were not qualified. Producing the most tanks possible was the priority, which was understandable since the heavy losses of the initial part of the year had to be made up. Therefore the requirement for quality was reduced, and the military accepted any tank that was built. As a result, in 1942 some 34’s could only go 30-35 kilometers before needing an overhaul.

To a certain degree this was justified because tanks, as a rule, did not survive until the expiration of its overhaul life, short as that was. The life of a tank on the front line was not long – on average 4-10 days (not counting time spent in transit on rail road and being repaired), or from 1-3 attacks. In 1942 the average mileage before being put out of service due to combat was 66.7 kilometers, which was less than half the average mileage before needing an overhaul. The majority of tanks simply didn’t live long enough to break down.

The V-2 diesel engine which equipped T-34s and KV-1s was still suffering growing pains. At that time its designers were struggling to extend the diesel’s service life to 100 hours, but in reality it seldom lasted more than 60. The engine of the T-34 which was tested at Aberdeen broke down at 72.5 hours, of which 58.45 were under load and 14.05 were while idling. The KV’s diesel lasted 66.4 hours. One of the deficiencies of the B-2, besides a short guaranteed life, was an increased fuel consumption (12% above norm), and, especially, a completely unacceptable over-consumption of oil, which exceeded existing norms by 3-8 times! Therefore the range of a T-34 in 1942 was limited not by fuel, but by oil: according to the averages at that time from the technical department of the People’s Commissariat for Tank Production, a T-34 carried enough fuel for 200-220 kilometers, but oil for only 145. At the same time German and American tanks didn’t require any additional oil; it was simply changed every 2,000 kilometers.”
Here's something interesting.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Woody Wetter » 12 Apr 2020 15:04

I always like make some fair points

1) Early war(1939-1942) P3,P4 tanks/spg were in very good quality because they were built more carefully and there was less shortage of materials/ skilled workers / factory equipment.Also weight was almost same as its drivetrain was originally designed.

Battlefield reliability/kilometers driven from 1942-1945 had many factors for P3,P4 tanks/spg:

* Increased need for maximum numbers meant less quality control because industry was not able to keep up so shortcuts were made.
* Armor/gun upgrades meant more weight and stress to powertrain. One often forgotten factor is increase of standart track width and special ostketten/winterketten tracks. More grip from tracks meant higher load to powertrain.
* Shortage of good drivers with basic mechanic backround/training to detect and repair small issues before they turn into major problems. Shortage of fuel meant tank drivers basically started to learn while being already in combat missions.
* I think biggest factor was total collapse of supply and logistic support chain. Germans tried to maximize tanks/spg production but spare parts production was overlooked and not sustainable. Mostly it took weeks or even months for getting part from Germany to field repair crew in endless lands of Russia after making order for X spare part.
*Field repair system was overstretched and undersupplied by manpower , equipment , spare parts , logistics. What meant even minor damages made tank/spg into total loss due no possibility to return it into service even if it was recovered from frontline battlefield. Often tank X was sent to repair station , then needed spare parts arrival was delaying and so local repair crews just cannibalized this tank so parts in good condition could be used for other repairs to maximize total amount of repaired vehicles.

Since production of spare engines / transmission etc was too low for actual need then field workshops overhauled them with minimal spare parts. I have often read these cheaply overhauled engines lasted only 10%-50% of new factory engines.

*As war progressed in Russia then German tank/spg losses were increasing so did also turnover rate. That meant it was generally difficult to achieve thousands of kilometers traveling before it was destroyed/ or put out of action to wait spare parts what never arrived. From 1942 in Russia long maneuver type war was changing into more fixed defence and attack type frontline so less traveling.
Last edited by Woody Wetter on 12 Apr 2020 18:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Woody Wetter » 12 Apr 2020 18:02

T-34 is very difficult tank by means of making statement about how reliable it was because production backround was very different in each year or production also at different factories. Generally before Barbarossa 1941 made tanks were in good quality but after that due industry problems and goal to reach production numbers short cuts were made so they became with life expectancy of few attacks. After 1944 quality went better due better shape of industry(partly thanks to Lend Lease) and long experience gathered by previous years of production.

Quality (from standpoint of how well it was manufactured at factory) did not reach level of German P3/P4 tanks but it had a great advantage of reliability in battlefield due widespread use(manpower training) and ease of repair.

By ease of repair i mean:

*Large amount of knocked out tanks what could be cannibalized for parts.
*Factories made enough spare parts
*Generally easy access to powertrain and wear parts
*Generally simpler design of drivetrain at cost of being crude and less efficient than German counterparts. Its very two sided coin and can be debatable.
*Less need for specialist mechanics and more work can be done with less trained manpower. Only T-34 engine needed special repair station for overhaul - it was not practical to waste resources of field repair manpower for tasks what is better carried out at proper facility . Transmissions and steering system(side clutches) were mostly repaired at field repair.

Germans system at beginning of war tried to ship these components from their own tanks back to factory for proper repair but war reality meant it was not possible by lack of logistics and overburdened factories.

So Germans wasted large amount of manpower(they could do something more productive) to carry out difficult repair tasks in bad frontline workshop conditions and lack of enough new spare parts with result of low quality overhauls for engines , transmissions , steering system.

*Since most economically reasonable repairs/overhauls could be done at frontline it did not wasted logistical resources like happened for Germans.Example : Shipped knocked out tanks at Russia to Austria for overhaul and then back again to Russia. This is very long topic and maybe for another post or completely new thread to cover it more.

*Since T-34 was widespread(Red Army could deal with 30t tank) then its recovery and moving between frontline and repair shop was relatively easy.

Overall. What T-34 lacked in quality(automotive lifespan) from factory was made up by decent work of repair crews at field to keep them operation ready. T-34 design and strategic usage also supported that action. It think there is a reason why T-34 is considered at poorly built but somehow reliable at same time.

Just note - Even USA what had best logistic power in war had to relay on salvaging knocked out tanks to improve ready rate of tanks!

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by tracks031 » 12 Apr 2020 19:49

Again, interesting stuff Woody.

Could I ask you some questions about the mechanical performance of some tanks?

Regarding KV-1, I've heard its reliability was extremely poor, rendering it a "strategic and operational failure", as said by Stephen Zaloga in "Operation Think Tank" on Youtube (worth a watch if you like tanks). Could you fill in a little more about its mechanical performance? And maybe share whatever reports are available?

And then Jagdpanther, I've seen it said online that during its first months in service its final drives had an average lifespan of just 35 km! Could this possibly be true? If so, any ideas about what could've caused such an extremely low lifespan?

The same people said reports from crews later states that the final drives lifespan was improved, saying they had driven 500 km with no damage yet, due to an improved design. Some say this new design was similar to the final drives on Tiger-tanks (a different design), some say it was the same as the Panther, which was modified. So, is this true?

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Woody Wetter » 13 Apr 2020 17:06

1) Im still collecting data for KV series tank but one thing is certain. Many tanks were simply abandoned by crews during big retreat at beginning of Barbarossa. And to cover up this the crews said it broke down to avoid punishment , also at that stage Red Army was not in the shape to make investigations or willing to punish crews because there was great need for tankers elsewhere. So widespread info about bad quality KV tanks were partially accepted as official version to keep Stalin and high military command satisfied with somekind of explanation for this situation. Nobody wanted war time courts.

From German opinions about KV tanks i often see bad reliability complains but their opinions are based on KV compared to their own tanks. At 1941/1942 average German tanks were indeed high quality and with designed to cover lots of kilometers with cost of light armor and weak gun. And because before Tiger 1 Germans had no heavy tanks experience they made very wrong statements based on lack of knowledge.

There is a reason why Soviets produced improved version(KV-1S) of KV-1/2 tanks but i cant tell yet how real situation was.Lots of data to read before i post anything.

2) Panther/Jagdpanther final drives. Very difficult topic to give any conclusion. Someday i try to come back to cover it.

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Re: Anyone knows the km's driven between overhauls for Tiger 1 and 2?

Post by Contender » 13 Apr 2020 21:54

Woody Wetter wrote:
12 Apr 2020 18:02
T-34 is very difficult tank by means of making statement about how reliable it was because production backround was very different in each year or production also at different factories

Well many issues plagued the T-34 during the war regardless of factory or year although I do agree about variability depending on factory to an extent therefore I think a fair statement would be that the vehicle was at its best in the post-war after the modernization programs.
I found the author mentioned in that summary above in this publication:
Исаев, Кошкин, Гончаров: Танковый удар. Советские танки в боях. 1942-1943, around page 365+ for T-34, KV, & Sherman related information. some of what is written is similar to what I recall from "Mityczna Bron", particularly relating to engine life & expected life-span of the vehicle.

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