Whose Tiger is it?

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Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 30 Mar 2006 17:43

Cyprek wrote:I've come to a conclusion thats the Tiger lacking a track from the photo that Michael posted can't be the tank knocked out by Wojtynowski. According to the description of the German veteran from Meyer's book that tank showed no damage to the tracks.
The photo was taken in 1947 I believe and the track is not damaged. The track was taken apart for scrap. Probably by the locals.
'211' and the Potigny wreck do look a lot alike and if it is the same Tiger the markings are of the 1st Kp. on the hull and of the 2nd Kp. on the turret.

Looking at the photos it is clear this is not the same '211' as in the earlier photos. The '2' is not the same.
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 31 Mar 2006 16:54

I think I've indentified the Tiger from your photo Michael!

Image

I've read Liutenant Polozynski's statement carefully for one more time. The following is what I've noticed.

Firstly. Plozynski wrote that the first shell he fired on the Tiger was a grenade and it hit the front of the hull making lots of splinters.
Take a look now.

Image

Secondly. Polozynski wrote that in a short time after the grenade he fired for a couple of times using anti-tank shells. Those shells hit the turret. After an examination of the wreck (after the "duel" :wink: ) Polozynski found out that the only results of the firing were thin, long scars on the front of the turret. Pay a look.

Image

Thirdly, Polozynski wrote that there was a penetration in the frontal, lower part of the hull. The commander of Polish tank squadron contacted Scots by the radio. They said that the Tiger had been knocked out by a Sherman Firefly some time before. The Sherman had also been destroyed (Polozynski saw the wreck). It had been destroyed by that particular Tiger. They had killed each other. Take a look at this.

Image

Finally the tank is close to a country lane ambushed in the bushes. This is correct with Polozynski's description.

So my final version is that this is the Tiger from Le Bu sur Rouvres. It was knocked out by the 33rd Armored Brigade probably on 10th August. It is one of the two tanks that survived 8th August. Either von Westernhagen's or Heurich's.

One more thing. Isn't there another penetration close to the wheel? If so it is even closer to the floor than the penetration on the left hand. Maybe this is the penetration that Polozynski had on mind. Polozynski mentioned only one penetration but as he put it "there wasn't much time for examinig the wreck". Perhaps he didn't notice the other one (it was in a shade made by the bushes as you can see in the picture).

Damn, I'm good. 8-)

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 31 Mar 2006 18:27

This is the front and rear of '211'
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 31 Mar 2006 20:51

Seems like Tiger 211 is the tiger from Potigny. They're lacking the same track, the same hatches open, the same symbol (battalions if I'm correct) on the right hand, turret in the same position, very similar environment. Too much for a coincidence! My suspicion for this moment is Quesnay woods.

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 31 Mar 2006 21:30

It seems the Potigny Tiger and '211' are indeed the same tank. It also is clear this is a 1st Kp. vehicle with a 2nd Kp. turret number.
Yann and I agree that it is a 1st kp. Tiger with the number changed to '211'. This is the second example of a Tiger from SS 101 with a new identity. So much for the poor souls trying to compile a loss table for sSS PzAbt 101 using turret numbers!
It proves that the original '211' was lost before August.

101yann
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Post by 101yann » 01 Apr 2006 09:57

Cyprek,

here's the last known view of Tiger '211' to date :



Both this photo and Milan Friedler's are essential to establish we're looking at the same Tiger - see in particular the tracks that have been removed on the left.
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 01 Apr 2006 21:26

Great pic Yann!

As I said I think that this Tiger was knocked out by Polish tankers in Quesnay woods on 9th August. Your picture backs my version. In the left upper corner one can see two hills. A big one in the background and a bit smaller in the foreground. I think those are hills 206 and 190 respectively. I have an original staff map. I'll scan it for you in a couple of days (unfortunately now I'm very busy). I have another five arguments that "211" is the Tiger knocked out in Quesnay woods. I think I'll introduce my proof on Friday.

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 01 Apr 2006 22:48

The photo of '211' was taken by a member of the Czech Armoured Brigade. They went to France at the end of August 1944 and were based at Epany before moving to Dunkirk where they remained to the wars end. Epany is on the D246/D247. Jort is a short distance away. It is logical then that the photo was taken on the way to Epany. It is very unlikely the road is the N158 from Caen to Falaise. In the bottom photo you can see the lorry in the background so this road has a large dog-leg in it. The N158 is straight. More likely it is the D246. Today there is a bend in the road that MIGHT be the same as the one in the photo. Potigny and Jort are both 2.5 kms from Epany. Quesnay is 3.5 kms away.
Yann this means the other Tiger he photographed is probably from the same area and SS 101.
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 02 Apr 2006 13:57

Jort is a short distance away. It is logical then that the photo was taken on the way to Epany. It is very unlikely the road is the N158 from Caen to Falaise. In the bottom photo you can see the lorry in the background so this road has a large dog-leg in it. The N158 is straight. More likely it is the D246. Today there is a bend in the road that MIGHT be the same as the one in the photo. Potigny and Jort are both 2.5 kms from Epany. Quesnay is 3.5 kms away.
Don't you mean Epaney in some distance norteast from the hill 129?

Neither I think that this country lane is the Route Nationale highway. I was thinkin about some other routh theat is indeed a country lane.

Image

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On 9th August Polish Shermans from 24th Lancers were advancing along that particular country lane in south-westerly direction. 6 Tigers and several Panthers were encountered. They were forced to retreat, lost 5 tanks. Chronicle of the regiment says "at lest one Panther was knocked out".

Note that the penetrations on the hull could by made by a 17pdr from a distance shorter than 600 metres. So the Tiger was knocked out in a close combat. That's the way the engagement from 9th August was like.

I'll write a couple of words more soon as these are not the only arguments.

I think I've got him.

Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 02 Apr 2006 13:58

Oh, sorry. I meant "hill 159" (in the beginning).

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 02 Apr 2006 21:02

This is a modern map and the trees are not as on the earlier map
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 07 Apr 2006 17:14

Hello again!
That particular part of the forest that interests us might have been cut. Every book confirms that there was a forest immidiatelly norhteast of Quesnay village (let alone an original military map from that period).

Now a couple of things that I've noticed recently.

Image

One can plainly see that the terrain level is decreasing in the picture. This is correct with my theory. Just take a look at the map (either mine or Michael's).

If my version is correct the terrain level should also be decreasing behind the Tiger in the direction of woods (but more slightly). It is.

Image

Furthermore there should be a plain in front of the Tiger. In one photo posted by Michael one can see that there is no forest in front of it.

Image


Now a couple of words about the actions of 24th Lancers Regiment on 9th August.

The regiment was attacking southwards in the genaral direction of La Croix and Estrees la Campagne (La Croix is a tiny village southwest of Estrees la Campagne; this information is true for 100% despite the fact neither my map nor Michael's shows that village). The 2nd squadron was engaged in a fire fight several kilometres north of Estrees (Mark IVs and Jagdpanzers firing from Soignolles). Only one platoon of that squadron managed to reach Estrees on that day only to discover that the village is held by the German infantry and anti tank guns (could be some stragglers from 89 ID or Krause's grenadiers). 3 tanks were destroyed and one damaged due to the fire from Soignolles. Among them was the one carrying special radio equipment and the contact with the brigade was cut. The regimental commander assumed that the squadron had been completly destroyed and ordered the 1st squadron to follow the 3rd squadron which was attacking on the right flank. The both squadrons passed by Bretteville-le-Rabet and reached La Croix in the afternoon. Then an order came to make a push in the direction of Quesnay woods. Both squadrons attacked along the country lane that interests us in the southwesterly direction. According to the original regimental documents 6 Tigers and at least 2 Panthers were encountered. The 1st sqadron lost 3 tanks and the 3rd 2. The tanks retreated around 21:00. At least one Panther was knocked out (there is a very good description of how that particular tank was knocked out).

I've checked the original English version of the Polish 1st Armored Division's operational report. The kills are as follows (I've already wrote about that but there are some things I'd like to add):

- 4 Mk IV destroyed;
- 1 Mk V destroyed;
- 1 Mk VI destroyed;
- 1 Mk VI damaged.

It's very funny (or weird) stuff as the kills mentioned in the Polish version of report are different:

- 4 Mk VI destroyed;
- 1 Mk V destroyed;
- 1 Mk IV destroyed;
- 1 Mk VI damaged.

For this moment I have only one explanation.

During the time when the report was being written (by General Maczek) the battlefield was held by the Germans. It was impossible to check the wrecks. Probably the majority of the crews that destroyed German tanks didn't have any witnesses to confirm a kill (the area was wooded so this wouldn't be surprising). It's also possible that some of the information about knocked out German tanks were based on the radio contact only (note that 5 Shermans were lost; perhaps some of the people that managed to destroy German tanks didn't survive the battle). I think that General Maczek found the report about knocking out 4 Tigers unlikely and changed it for Mark IV (in the English version). On the other hand the "Mk IV" was replaced with "Mk VI".

Now, I have an information that one Mark IV was destroyed by the 1st Armored Regiment on that day (near Soignolles). Another Mark IV was "hit" but it wasn't set on fire. This information is for sure (I can even tell you the names of the shooters).

I think that the Mark IV mentioned in the Polish version of report is the Mark IV knocked out near soignolles. I also believe that the " damaged Mk VI" was in fact the Mark IV that was "hit" near Soignolles (misspelling - "VI" and "IV"). So the 24th Lancers must have destroyed the following vehicles:

- 4 Tigers;
- 1 Panther.

The Panther mentioned in the report is probably the one knocked out by staff sargeant Kosciukiewicz (as I've already mentioned). Now, what about the 4 Tigers?

Hubert Meyer (basing on original documents) says that the I SS Corps had 15 Tigers in the evening of 9th August. Michael Reynolds says that 13 of those were from the 102nd Tiger Battalion (7 from the 2nd Company and 6 in both 1st and 3rd Companies). The 7 Tigers of the 2nd Company were immidiatelly sent to support 271st ID. Meyer says that there was another report which mentioned 8 Tigers in the evening of 9th August (the 7 tanks supporting 271st ID were skipped in that report).

15 - 13 = 2

also

8 - 6 = 2

So I think we can be sure that the 2nd Company of 101st Tiger Battalion had 2 Tigers in the evening of 9th August. Both positioned in Quesnay woods. Now a question appears: how many Tigers were los during the day?

Michael Reynolds says that 2nd Company had 5 to 10 Tigers on 9th August. Kurt Meyer who accompanied the company during the attack on the Worthington Force wrote that there were 5 Tigers. I find his statement very likely as he was personally on the spot and suggest to bear in mind that there were indeed 5 Tigers in the 2nd Company in the morning of 9th August. As I'm going to show in a minute this version appears to be the most probable.

I know that one tiger was destroyed by the Worthington Force.

Now, let's assume that Poles knocked out not 4 but 2 Tigers on that day.

5 - 1 - 2 = 2 (as in the German operational reports)

But what about the other vehicles knocked out by 24th Lancers? I mean the remaning two "Mark VIs".

I think those were Panthers in fact.

Brian Reid wrote that the Canadians attacking west of Route Nationale knocked out one unidentified tank positioned in the quesnay woods. This was in the afternoon. Bearing in mind that the Tigers were engaging the Polish Shermans at the same time I think it's safe to assume that this unidentified tank was a Panther.

2nd Comapny of 12th SS Panzerregiment had 9 Panthers on 6th August (the Kampfgruppe "Olboeter" had another 7 but it was acting in the Vire sector attached to the IInd SS Corps; it arrived in the Falaise sector during the night 9/10 August).

So we have 9 Panthers under command of 12 SS positioned in the quesnay woods ni the morning of 9th August.

Now:

9 - 1 (knocked out by the Canadians) - 3 (knocked out by 24th Lancers) = 5

The original German documents (Zetterling, Meyer) say that there were 5 operational Panthers in the evening of 9th August!

The Tiger "211" was knocked out from a very close distance. The frontal armor of the turret could by penetrated from a distance shorter than 700 metres (17 pdr gun - Firefly). The frontal armor of the hull could be penetrated from a distance shorter than 600 metres. This is correct with my version. The engagement from 9th August was a close combat (you may check in the map - a couple of hundred metres).

My version is that 24th Lancers knocked out 3 Panthers and 2 Tigers in the Quesnay woods. One of the Tigers was that "Tiger from Potigny" number 211. But what about the other one? I have one guess.

Image

I'm also thinking about the photo posted by Michael (another one made by that Czech).

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2006 18:35

The above Tiger has SS 102 style cammo.
This is near Mt Ormel
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Cyprek
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Post by Cyprek » 07 Apr 2006 18:53

Yep, I've seen it. There were several claims during the fighting on mont Ormel. I'll examine this sooner o later. I'd like to know where that picture (Tiger in a forest near in a heap of poles) comes from. Maybe somebody knows.

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 07 Apr 2006 19:33

I found the photo of the Tiger surrounded by logs in a small WWII booklet. The caption said it was a barricade near Falaise but it obviously was taken after the war ended.

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