King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1506
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Jul 2019 21:29

Art wrote:
11 Jul 2019 16:24
There were earlier engagements, I guess. At least the one I remember is an attack to rescue Ternopol garrison in April 44 which featured Tigers of the 507 Abteilung.
Did elements of 507 clash with 11th Guards Tank Regiment ?

With my own time limitations (I have unit history 507, Firestorm in the Last Years of the War, the US army study on the battle, TIGI, old feldgrau/AH threads) I will look at it later.

https://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17471

Martin Block:

"With regard to s.Pz.Abt. 507 I have to rely on the detailed research work of Wolfgang Scheider (Tigers in Combat) according to which the Abteilung lost 13 Tiger I between 1.4. and 7.6.1944, but at least 8 of them in Brody and not at Tarnopol."

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1040
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Stiltzkin » 11 Jul 2019 23:01

What do the numbers stand for though? the King Tiger has +3 all around.
0 parity, +1 slight, + 2 solid, +3 considerable, - 1 mild, -2 concerns, - 3 considerable gap. Also, the IS-2 was capable and designated to fight heavy tanks, this is clearly evident from its overall design (the accuracy being acceptable for a 122mm gun). I just assume that in many instances the crews rarely registered what hit them before they could act. German emphasize was on first strike capability, hit before getting hit, see but do not be seen, which would allow for greater tolerances and leeway in other aspects in their overall designs (such as the size of the fighting compartment, the concepts changed in the last phase of the war when they were fielding super heavies, because they were pressed into the defensive). In the early stages initiative was the key, later crews were schooled in artilleristic fashion. Soviet tanks had to compensate by increasing protection (and if possible, not at the expense of mobility, since they had to escort the infantry to the enemy lines).

I remember that Miles posted combat losses of schw.Abteilung 502, which saw action against IS-2s.
Using 502 Tiger Abt. documents, here are the loss rates for Tigers and their crews for the period of June 24 through August 25,1944.

June 24-30: # combat days 5, # Tigers involved 96, # Tigers "Totalausfalle" 3, other Tigers hit by shots/mines 6, Killed/Seriously Wounded 0/13.
July 4-27: # combat days 11, # involved Tigers 170, # "Totalausfalle" 3, # others struck 10, # K/W 3/10.
July 20-August 6: # combat days 12, # involved Tigers 92, # "Totalausfalle" 2, # other Tigers struck 5, # K/W 5/4.
August 7-25: # combat days 6, # involved Tigers 98, # "Totalausfalle" 4, # other Tigers struck 7, # K/W 7/16.

Totals: combat days 34, Tigers involved 436 with 2180 crew, "Totalausfalle" 12, other Tigers hit 28, K/W 15/43.

Tigers lost per a combat .0275% , crew killed .00688%, others seriously wounded .01975 %.
Not quite 3% of Tigers involved per a combat were lost, less than 1% killed and almost 2% seriously wounded.
They weren't sent back and refitted with Tiger Bs before October though.

Jan-Hendrik
Member
Posts: 8071
Joined: 11 Nov 2004 12:53
Location: Hohnhorst / Deutschland

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 12 Jul 2019 05:52

I thought that 503 captured the first IS-2 in March 1944...

Jan-Hendrik

Paul_Atreides
Member
Posts: 544
Joined: 09 Sep 2008 08:05
Location: Russia, St. Petersburg

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Paul_Atreides » 12 Jul 2019 06:35

Stiltzkin wrote:
11 Jul 2019 23:01
the accuracy being acceptable for a 122mm gun
The accuracy was similar to 8.8 cm KwK 43.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 5342
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Art » 12 Jul 2019 09:52

Cult Icon wrote:
11 Jul 2019 21:29
Did elements of 507 clash with 11th Guards Tank Regiment ?
Yes
"With regard to s.Pz.Abt. 507 I have to rely on the detailed research work of Wolfgang Scheider (Tigers in Combat) according to which the Abteilung lost 13 Tiger I between 1.4. and 7.6.1944, but at least 8 of them in Brody and not at Tarnopol."
507 Battalion mostly spent its forces fighting Soviet infantry NW of Tarnopol (a Russian article here). Losses in the relief attack on Tarnopol were not large, but still the operation completely failed to achieve its objective. That might exemplify how concentration on the number of knocked out tanks can be quite misleading.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6033
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Michael Kenny » 12 Jul 2019 12:26

Stiltzkin wrote:
11 Jul 2019 23:01


I remember that Miles posted combat losses of schw.Abteilung 502, which saw action against IS-2s.
Using 502 Tiger Abt. documents, here are the loss rates for Tigers and their crews for the period of June 24 through August 25,1944.

June 24-30: # combat days 5, # Tigers involved 96, # Tigers "Totalausfalle" 3, other Tigers hit by shots/mines 6, Killed/Seriously Wounded 0/13.
July 4-27: # combat days 11, # involved Tigers 170, # "Totalausfalle" 3, # others struck 10, # K/W 3/10.
July 20-August 6: # combat days 12, # involved Tigers 92, # "Totalausfalle" 2, # other Tigers struck 5, # K/W 5/4.
August 7-25: # combat days 6, # involved Tigers 98, # "Totalausfalle" 4, # other Tigers struck 7, # K/W 7/16.

Totals: combat days 34, Tigers involved 436 with 2180 crew, "Totalausfalle" 12, other Tigers hit 28, K/W 15/43.

Tigers lost per a combat .0275% , crew killed .00688%, others seriously wounded .01975 %.
Not quite 3% of Tigers involved per a combat were lost, less than 1% killed and almost 2% seriously wounded.


The original quoted post is here

viewtopic.php?p=2046044#p2046044

and the claimed Tiger losses just do not match the losses shown by Schneider in TIC 1. 2 of the periods from Miles overlap (which means double-counting could be a problem) but for the dates June 24-Aug 25 sPz Abt 502 wrote off a total 29 Tigers.

For June 24-30 Tiger losses are given as 3 with 6 damaged but Schneider says 4 were lost and mentions at least 7 damaged Tigers. The calculations above are meaningless because we do not know what constitutes a 'combat day' or how 'involved Tigers' is defined. For certain the Unit had total losses more than twice the claimed 12. I am sure if we had the numbers for damaged Tigers that would also be higher than 28.

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1506
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Cult Icon » 12 Jul 2019 13:18

Art wrote:
11 Jul 2019 16:42
Also this episode:
viewtopic.php?p=1370808#p1370808
88mm equipped "Nashorn" tank destroyers could also be a possibility if heavy AT battalions were located there.

ww2armchairhistorian
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: 08 Jul 2019 21:04
Location: Canada

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by ww2armchairhistorian » 12 Jul 2019 23:03

Cult Icon wrote:
11 Jul 2019 14:11
ww2armchairhistorian wrote:
10 Jul 2019 03:30

Not surprised that reports show the KT performed better in tank to tank combat, it is a tank hunter. It's disappointing to see when forumers say that IS-2 is equal in tank to tank combat because of that famous Russian testing on a KT, where's pierced all around.
You don't need to limit yourself to the Tiger II. The first engagement with Soviet heavy tank regiments occurred in the 2nd Battle of Targu-Frumos in the spring of 1944. Tiger tanks of G.D. engaged IS-2s for the first time and won the skirmish. (History of PzK G.D., Pztruppen II). What surprised them in their reports (and Mantueffuel's account) was that they had to close in IIRC within 500 meters as the usual long-range sniping didn't do anything.

507 has veteran accounts of Tiger vs. IS-2 and they were not fearful of them. Stug 276 has veteran accounts of fighting and knocking out IS-2s. So in practice these combat actions involve variables other than those that can be assembled by general theory. (crew skill, terrain, cover and concealment, etc)

2nd Tank Army has their IS and ISU/SU equipped heavy units either 1. spearhead the assault 2. screen the front behind the advancing medium tanks as overwatch. They were to defeat German armor reserves with the IS/ISU/SU if available.

The heavy tank regiments evolved to be a combined arms team with integrated combat engineers and escort infantry.
I have read about veteran Panther group knocking out IS-2s but wondered if it was just an exceptional situation. Stugs knocking out IS-2s now thats really surprising!

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1040
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Stiltzkin » 13 Jul 2019 03:44

The accuracy was similar to 8.8 cm KwK 43.
posted on this already, from official firing tables:
viewtopic.php?f=47&t=228421&hilit=accuracy&start=30
and the claimed Tiger losses just do not match the losses shown by Schneider in TIC 1. 2 of the periods from Miles overlap (which means double-counting could be a problem) but for the dates June 24-Aug 25 sPz Abt 502 wrote off a total 29 Tigers.

For June 24-30 Tiger losses are given as 3 with 6 damaged but Schneider says 4 were lost and mentions at least 7 damaged Tigers. The calculations above are meaningless because we do not know what constitutes a 'combat day' or how 'involved Tigers' is defined. For certain the Unit had total losses more than twice the claimed 12. I am sure if we had the numbers for damaged Tigers that would also be higher than 28.
Well if 28 were damaged and written off then we just need the losses of all potential enemies they might have encountered, any IS-2s in contact. Other than that, to measure lethality it is far more interesting to look at corrupted beyond repairable AFVs (preferrably incurred by gun fire, data which is often hard to obtain). Many vehicles are damaged and sent multiple times into battle just to get hit again. What is of importance is how long the vehicles might have been exposed to the front (independent of the fact that it might overstate or understate exposure). We can even ignore "combat days" and just try to synchronize the periods. Miles posts unit records, I do not know what Schneider used as his source material, but it is quite possible that the former figures may simply refer to the vehicles which were involved during the "combat days".

Another thing: I do not see this as a big problem, considering the Soviets controlled the battlefield during that period, temporary losses might have ultimately resulted in abandonment. Often, the respective units would be in no position to effectively salvage their equipment, driving the figure of Totalausfälle up. It is the Soviets who would have a greater ratio of reinstated vehicles. If they caused only minor damage, then this would indicate that their weapons must have been less potent.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 5342
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Art » 13 Jul 2019 09:10

ww2armchairhistorian wrote:
12 Jul 2019 23:03
I have read about veteran Panther group knocking out IS-2s but wondered if it was just an exceptional situation. Stugs knocking out IS-2s now thats really surprising!
What is the problem? Side armor could be penetrated by Stug's gun from good distance and good angle, not to say about the rear armor. Anyway, as commented above those "Ferdinands" could be actually "Nashorns". Given the tendency of Soviet tankers to call any German assault gun or tank destroyer "Ferdinand" you would never tell.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 5342
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Art » 13 Jul 2019 11:39

Cult Icon wrote:
12 Jul 2019 13:18
Art wrote:
11 Jul 2019 16:42
Also this episode:
viewtopic.php?p=1370808#p1370808
88mm equipped "Nashorn" tank destroyers could also be a possibility if heavy AT battalions were located there.
According to Schneider s.Pz.Abt 506 was exactly in the same are as the 72 Guards Tank Regiment and took part in the same action. So, I guess, a duel between IS-2 and Tigers was almost certainly real. Besides, there are photos of IS-2 captured by the s.Pz.Abt 506:
https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery ... abt-may44/
https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery ... abt-506-2/
That must be the tank captured on 1st May. As follows from the inscription on the turret it was knocked out by a Tiger gun.

Curiously, the same combat was also one of the first German encounters with T-34-85. 45 Guards Tank Brigade which was employed side by side with 72 GTR was equipped with these tanks (called S-53 or T-42 in Soviet documents). Both units seem to save the day for hard-pressed Soviet defenders on 20-21 April. It's strange but this local German offensive is a very little known episode, despite a common interest on armor battles.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 5342
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Art » 13 Jul 2019 11:49

Paul_Atreides wrote:
10 Jul 2019 18:16
Primary targets for IS-2 were german heavy tanks/SP guns (if it appears in a battlefield). The IS-2 heavy regiments in tank/mech. corps served as anti-tank reserve.

Characteristic argument from Fedorenko about formation new heavy tank brigades (20th November 1944):
Worth to add minutes of Stalin's instructions from a meeting with Fedorenko (commander of Red Army's armored forces, Malyshev (commissar for tank industry) and others on 24 December 1943
Germans can accumulate about 600 Tigers and Ferdinands by the spring [1944]
We need to have tanks and self-propelled guns equipped with large-caliber guns by that moment.
By April [1944] we must have 400 heavy tanks with heavy guns and 1000 self-propelled guns with heavy caliber guns on T-34 chassis.
Take measures to install the 85-mm gun on all T-34 tanks.
...
Comrade Stalin ordered comrade Malyshev to present his consideration how to increase heavy tank production.
...
IS tank with the 122-mm gun should be kept in reserve until the spring.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6033
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Michael Kenny » 13 Jul 2019 22:40

Just discovered the source for the sPz Abt 502 info is at the back of the book 'Tigers In The Mud'. Still going through it but I notice straight away that MIA are excluded as well as WIA still with the Unit. That would add 18 casualties to the June 24-30 totals. Not sure how that big a error would make to a calculation as precise as 4 decimal places!

Peasant
Member
Posts: 146
Joined: 16 Oct 2018 17:21
Location: Italy

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Peasant » 14 Jul 2019 13:03

Pointless thread. Arguing which tank is "the best" on the basis of who would win in a heads-on engagement is the reason why these threads never get anywhere.

Stiltzkin
Member
Posts: 1040
Joined: 11 Apr 2016 12:29
Location: Germany

Re: King Tiger vs IS-2 (2019)

Post by Stiltzkin » 14 Jul 2019 23:47

Pointless thread. Arguing which tank is "the best" on the basis of who would win in a heads-on engagement is the reason why these threads never get anywhere.
That is not what the thread is really about, the OP asked if the Tiger B had the capability to knock out the IS-2 in tank combat over long distances (which is only one part of armoured warfare), but it is true (and tank duels are the image of WW2 stuck in peoples heads), there is a trade-off to be found in each system (and intangible factors are often ignored).
However, you can measure the combat rating of an AFV and say something about its overall survivability on the battlefield. In a prolonged war of attrition, nations undergo a natural arms race. Assigning a combat value to a weapon system is a viable method in military studies.
The reason why this is often avoided is either the lack of data, or bias, so people present a cluster of random figures (often less valuable information). Especially evaluations such as, "destroyed by type" are scarce. Cleaning the losses for AT gunfire, factoring in environmental effects, doctrines/utilization of the weapon, leadership, experience, morale, logistics, mission factors, duration of the mission, posture, repair services, the cooperation of all arms (here: of the anti tank troops) etc., is generally more useful. Categories such as Knocked out and damaged can be illuminating, as well as looking at irrecoverables (to measure lethality, pH/pK). Alternatively, munitions expenditure is of significance.
Weapon systems may be taken out of commission should their overall combat worth diminish. It also depends on how it may adapt, upgrades can prolong the lifetime of an AFV (to a certain degree). Battlefield control is advantageous for salvage/recovery, hence the number of vehicles which are completely lost to the troops (especially due to abandonment) might drop. Of course, you will have to observe longer periods in an analysis, before jumping to conclusions.

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”