Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

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ThatZenoGuy
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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 19 Jul 2021 15:34

Trilisser, M. A. wrote:
19 Jul 2021 09:38
I think you should read Steven Zaloga's Armored Champion to fully understand my point. What is the point of having "nearly impenetrable" armour if the tank isn't there? The Panther was designed as the main tank of armor divisions. And armor divisions are weapons of operational manoeuvre. Which means that an armoured division should be able to move quickly distances measures in hundreds of kilometres. And how one is going to achieve that with tanks whose final drives last at worst 150 km? Tanks whose de facto operational mobility depends of railways? One cannot.
Lmao you actually used the 150km meme.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 19 Jul 2021 18:35

Trilisser, M. A. wrote:
19 Jul 2021 01:42
What for? Are you seriously suggesting that the Panther was better than the Centurion? The Panther was an excellent example of what goes wrong when a battlefield weapon is designed by engineering theoreticians. A tank that was supposed to be a weapon of operational manoeuvre was totally incapable of reliabie operational manoeuvre.
Until the very postwar 1950's Centurion Mark V, the Centurion was very much inferior to the Panther tank. The Mk 1 and 2 had a 17 pdr main armament with inferior optics and fire control to the Panther, less armor (just 76mm on the front glacis for example making it no better armored than late war Sherman tanks), and had an inferior cross-country ride--although it was better on negotiating a slope. The Mk II (A41A) had a bit more armor 102mm) but really wasn't even up to what the Churchill or Jumbo Sherman had was still no better than a Panther's. Reliability was poor and range was terrible.
The Mk III (postwar) got the 20 pdr (about the equivalent of the US 90/50 on a Pershing), but that was post war.
The Mk V was the first version to get up armored with decent stats and a better power plant but that's Korean war era.

Thus, the early versions Mk I and II really aren't much of an improvement over the Comet.
Last edited by T. A. Gardner on 19 Jul 2021 18:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 19 Jul 2021 18:40

Oh, as for Tiger II battle performance...

In the West from D-Day to VE day there were actually few engagements between Tiger II's and Allied tanks. In Normandy there was a single company equipped with the vehicle and they did little engaging almost exclusively with the British. In the Ardennes, the two battalions that had at least some Tiger II assigned did next to nothing to influence the outcome.

KG Piper, the main user of Tiger II in the Ardennes put these tanks at the rear of the column out of fear one would breakdown or collapse a bridge and then strand the entire unit blocking their advance. In the end, most of the Tigers that were employed there ended up being abandoned and in some cases destroyed by their own crews.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 20 Jul 2021 03:08

T. A. Gardner wrote:
19 Jul 2021 18:35
Until the very postwar 1950's Centurion Mark V, the Centurion was very much inferior to the Panther tank. The Mk 1 and 2 had a 17 pdr main armament with inferior optics and fire control to the Panther, less armor (just 76mm on the front glacis for example making it no better armored than late war Sherman tanks), and had an inferior cross-country ride--although it was better on negotiating a slope. The Mk II (A41A) had a bit more armor 102mm) but really wasn't even up to what the Churchill or Jumbo Sherman had was still no better than a Panther's. Reliability was poor and range was terrible.
The Mk III (postwar) got the 20 pdr (about the equivalent of the US 90/50 on a Pershing), but that was post war.
The Mk V was the first version to get up armored with decent stats and a better power plant but that's Korean war era.

Thus, the early versions Mk I and II really aren't much of an improvement over the Comet.
As much as I love the panther I do have to nitpick this a little. The Centurion's UFP is 'only' 76.2mm thick but is at a slightly higher slope than the Panther, so their line of sight armor values are about the same.

In addition the LFP of the Centurion is a bit tougher than the late-war panthers, with only the Panther D and A's having about equal values there.

I think the turret is where a big debate could be had, the Panther's turret was...Not ideal, it had a huge relatively weak mantlet covering most of its front, some of which overlapped with the turret armor behind, making those areas practically impossible to penetrate with WW2 ordinance (although it'd likely jam the turret from elevating). 100mm thick LOS, although it gets thicker LOS the higher or lower you aim from center.

Centurion has 5 inches (127mm) of frontal armor so its a good bit tougher but the Panther will punch through that anyways, and the Centurion Mk1's turret is colossally wide and mostly flat, in some ways it looks to be even worse than the Panther's already rather disappointing profile.

And if we're bringing up such a late war tank, it'd only be fair to bring up the Schmalturm, which a very narrow turret with 120mm of armor and a cone shaped mantlet which should deflect most ordinance into non-penning the turret front.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 20 Jul 2021 05:37

ThatZenoGuy wrote:
20 Jul 2021 03:08
T. A. Gardner wrote:
19 Jul 2021 18:35
Until the very postwar 1950's Centurion Mark V, the Centurion was very much inferior to the Panther tank. The Mk 1 and 2 had a 17 pdr main armament with inferior optics and fire control to the Panther, less armor (just 76mm on the front glacis for example making it no better armored than late war Sherman tanks), and had an inferior cross-country ride--although it was better on negotiating a slope. The Mk II (A41A) had a bit more armor 102mm) but really wasn't even up to what the Churchill or Jumbo Sherman had was still no better than a Panther's. Reliability was poor and range was terrible.
The Mk III (postwar) got the 20 pdr (about the equivalent of the US 90/50 on a Pershing), but that was post war.
The Mk V was the first version to get up armored with decent stats and a better power plant but that's Korean war era.

Thus, the early versions Mk I and II really aren't much of an improvement over the Comet.
As much as I love the panther I do have to nitpick this a little. The Centurion's UFP is 'only' 76.2mm thick but is at a slightly higher slope than the Panther, so their line of sight armor values are about the same.

In addition the LFP of the Centurion is a bit tougher than the late-war panthers, with only the Panther D and A's having about equal values there.

I think the turret is where a big debate could be had, the Panther's turret was...Not ideal, it had a huge relatively weak mantlet covering most of its front, some of which overlapped with the turret armor behind, making those areas practically impossible to penetrate with WW2 ordinance (although it'd likely jam the turret from elevating). 100mm thick LOS, although it gets thicker LOS the higher or lower you aim from center.

Centurion has 5 inches (127mm) of frontal armor so its a good bit tougher but the Panther will punch through that anyways, and the Centurion Mk1's turret is colossally wide and mostly flat, in some ways it looks to be even worse than the Panther's already rather disappointing profile.

And if we're bringing up such a late war tank, it'd only be fair to bring up the Schmalturm, which a very narrow turret with 120mm of armor and a cone shaped mantlet which should deflect most ordinance into non-penning the turret front.
I really wasn't intending to get into the weeds in detail here, but rather pointing out that the Centurion in 1945 was a rather mediocre tank on the whole. It was a big improvement over the Cromwell and to a lessor extent the Comet, but it certainly wasn't a revolution in tank design. For tough to kill the Churchill was still Britain's champion.

I'd say the US did better with the Pershing, which had some serious defects too, but at least was well armored and had a 90/50 gun that fired effective HE and an effective APCR round. The Centurion Mk I at 3" on the glacis was no better than a Sherman or Cromwell really, and the Mk II with 4" was really only a match, give or take. The 17 pdr was a good tank killer and slightly better than the US 90mm in that roll, but sucked as an HE thrower, and that's really more important in the grand scheme of things.
On the whole the Centurion needed a lot more development. The Pershing needed improvement too, but not nearly as much and the M 46 version was quite effective by 1950.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by Sheldrake » 20 Jul 2021 08:59

This is a strange thread - resurrected from the dead after 17 years.

If anyone is still interested on one of the questions originally posed there are several books on the experience of Tiger II units. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Richard- ... +von+Rosen

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 20 Jul 2021 17:38

T. A. Gardner wrote:
20 Jul 2021 05:37
The Centurion Mk I at 3" on the glacis was no better than a Sherman or Cromwell really, and the Mk II with 4" was really only a match, give or take.
That's not true though, the glacis was as tough as a Panther's, granted it should've been due to the fact it weighed as much as a Panther.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Jul 2021 00:06

ThatZenoGuy wrote:
20 Jul 2021 17:38
That's not true though, the glacis was as tough as a Panther's, granted it should've been due to the fact it weighed as much as a Panther.
It is true for the Mk I and II before the armor was thickened. 76mm at 57 degrees slope is less armor than 80 mm at 60 degrees slope.

https://imgur.com/LuN9N9V

On the up armored Mk II version a second plate was added over the first rather than made with a single, thicker plate.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 21 Jul 2021 03:03

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Jul 2021 00:06
It is true for the Mk I and II before the armor was thickened. 76mm at 57 degrees slope is less armor than 80 mm at 60 degrees slope.

https://imgur.com/LuN9N9V

On the up armored Mk II version a second plate was added over the first rather than made with a single, thicker plate.
The Panther's slope was 55 degrees, 140mm effective thickness.

Only the E-Series tanks (and Jagdpanzer38(t) ) had a 60 degree sloped glacis.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Jul 2021 05:58

So, they're roughly equal. That's still inferior to the Pershing... The Churchill has most of its face at 152 and no slope. The late Cromwell and Comet both have 102mm thick un-sloped armor. If they are not directly 0 degrees to the firing gun, that increases with the angle off.

Image

A thicker plate without relying on slope for protection is usually a better bet than a thinner plate at a good slope. There's also overmatch to consider. Against an 88mm gun the Centurion is at a disadvantage again with a 3" plate as overmatch starts to take effect. That is, a large, heavy round will simply shatter the armor plate through imparted kinetic energy whether it would penetrate it or not.
While an 88 round is at the low end of this, it's still something to consider.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 21 Jul 2021 08:44

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Jul 2021 05:58
So, they're roughly equal. That's still inferior to the Pershing... The Churchill has most of its face at 152 and no slope. The late Cromwell and Comet both have 102mm thick un-sloped armor. If they are not directly 0 degrees to the firing gun, that increases with the angle off.

Image

A thicker plate without relying on slope for protection is usually a better bet than a thinner plate at a good slope. There's also overmatch to consider. Against an 88mm gun the Centurion is at a disadvantage again with a 3" plate as overmatch starts to take effect. That is, a large, heavy round will simply shatter the armor plate through imparted kinetic energy whether it would penetrate it or not.
While an 88 round is at the low end of this, it's still something to consider.
Its about equal to the Pershing, which had about equal armor to the Panther 140mm. A thicker less sloped plate is better against some munitions but also worse against some others, vice versa for thinner more sloped plates. Because the weigh of a plate for a given vertical height is always the same for line of sight thickness the Centurion could've had a thicker less sloped plate, but they evidently wanted to focus more against more-common long 75's than the rarer 88mm guns, the 88's would go through the UFP of a pershing anyways.

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Re: Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by critical mass » 21 Jul 2021 18:24

The subject is not so complicated but it quickly gets to the level of detail attention necessary.

I´d side with T.A. Gardner and may make some minor additions:

The contemporary of the late Panther Ausf. G was the early prototype pilot model of the Centurion. This model was slightly lighter than the Mk.I, which started production in late 1945 and aviable in the closing months of ww2. It´s probably fair to compare it with the Panther Ausf. G/F with Schmalturm prototype timewise.

However, the first twenty prototype Centurions had an even thinner, 57mm thick glacis, while the Mk.I´s was changed to 76mm after complaints expressed with the pilot models thin glacis. Also, some of the early prototypes (#1to #5) had the L/49 77mm dual purpose gun of the Comet, which was slightly inferior when firing regular AP ammo to the L/55 17pdr fitted from prototype #6 to #10 or the Panthers L/70 KWK42. Finally, the first twenty prototypes also differed from regular mkIs in that they had only 20" wide tracks, which gave them a poor review from the "mud committee" in comparison to both Cromwell and Chaffee, let alone Panther.
On the plus side, the early pilot models were lighter than regular mk Is and thus more reliable, exhibited good steering qualities and were relatively fast despite the Meteor IV´s lower nominal output of 550hp, giving it a best road speed of 23.7mph, roughly similar to the TIGER-II. Off road speed had to be gouverned down due to the limited wheel travel of the Horstman suspension from 19mph theoretical to 13mph max.
Fuel consumption of the light pilot models were 0.83mpg on road, 0.38 mpg off road in addition to a rather lofty 38mpg oil.
These data do not suggest superior charackteristics compared with a late PANTHERs (or even TIGER-II) in terms of on road and off road mobility.

When the mkII and -IV came with Meteor IVa and 620hp nominal power, the best road speed was further reduced to 21.2mph by limiting gear ratios and the gouverned low off road speed was kept. Mobilitywise the Centurion was vastly inferior to the Cromwell, both on and off-road. The principal reason for this was the fact that the Centurion relied on a high energy but slow speed suspension system with constricted wheel travel. The Cromwells Christies was a high speed suspension system but it could not be scaled up infinitely with vehicle weight. The Pershing by comparison looks way more modern to me.
The heavier mk II and mk III suffered from high fuel consumption: 0.52mpg on road and only 0.27mpg off road, considerably worse than the pilot models and not incomparable to a TIGER-II. Combined with the rather low internal fuel this gave shorter endurance than a PANTHER or any Tiger model, both on road and off-road.
The regular mk I was between mpg data of pilot models and MkIII, probably very close to the PANTHER G´s 0.65/0.34mpg, albeit with a somewhat smaller fuel tank, giving somewhat less range in practice.

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