Churchill Tank VS Tiger Tank

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wright61
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Churchill Tank VS Tiger Tank

Post by wright61 » 23 Jun 2004 20:17

I always read about Shermans and Fireflys in combat with Tigers What happened when a Churchill and a Tiger met in combat?

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Post by Artie Bucco » 24 Jun 2004 01:00

IIRC The churchill was the first Western tank to take out Tigers to knock out Tigers. 2 were destororyed on 2/27/43 by Churchills of the North Irish Horse. A few weeks later the Tiger that was renovated at Bovington was knocked out by Churchills.

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Post by Tony Williams » 24 Jun 2004 07:42

I recall long ago reading of a head-to-head slugging match between a Tiger and a Churchill - but the Churchill's 6 pdr (57mm) gun had APDS ammo.

The story goes that the Tiger's 88mm shells bounced off the Churchill (crews had a habit of welding extra armour to them when they got the chance) but the 6 pdr APDS drilled neat holes through the Tiger.

I can't vouch for its accuracy, but it wouldn't surprise me.

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Post by redcoat » 24 Jun 2004 10:39

Tony Williams wrote:I recall long ago reading of a head-to-head slugging match between a Tiger and a Churchill - but the Churchill's 6 pdr (57mm) gun had APDS ammo.

The story goes that the Tiger's 88mm shells bounced off the Churchill (crews had a habit of welding extra armour to them when they got the chance) but the 6 pdr APDS drilled neat holes through the Tiger.

I can't vouch for its accuracy, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Even before APDS was issued, 6 pdr armed Churchills were able to KO Tigers in N. Africa at close range ( I have read that in the small number of Churchill v Tigers battles in N. Africa that the Churchill KO'd a couple of Tiger Tanks, but didn't lose a single Churchill to a Tiger 8O ).
Unfortunately when later marks of the Churchills were up-gunned with a 75mm gun they lost this ability :( .

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Post by moses » 24 Jun 2004 12:25

redcoat wrote:Unfortunately when later marks of the Churchills were up-gunned with a 75mm gun they lost this ability :( .

that kinda redefines what it means to "up-gun" a tank, doesn't it?

i guess the 75 wasn't designed for tank to tank combat?

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Post by wright61 » 24 Jun 2004 12:37

Iam :? if the 6 pounder was a 57mm gun and the churchill was upgraded to a 75mm gun how come it wasnt better. I mean the german 88 was better than the 75 wasnt it
Regards Robert

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Post by Artie Bucco » 24 Jun 2004 19:39

robert.wright46 wrote:Iam :? if the 6 pounder was a 57mm gun and the churchill was upgraded to a 75mm gun how come it wasnt better. I mean the german 88 was better than the 75 wasnt it
Regards Robert


the 75mm M3 on other Churchill Marks fired at a much slower velocity when compared to the 6 pounder. It's was a trade off between an anti-tank ability or an anti-infantry ability which was very useful in the Normandy campaigns.

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Post by Wm. Harris » 25 Jun 2004 02:17

Artie Bucco wrote:the 75mm M3 on other Churchill Marks fired at a much slower velocity when compared to the 6 pounder. It's was a trade off between an anti-tank ability or an anti-infantry ability which was very useful in the Normandy campaigns.


Since the Churchill was supposed to be an infantry support tank, the swtich makes a lot of sense -- although I have to wonder whether the tank crews would have thought of it that way 8O

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Re: Churchill Tank VS Tiger Tank

Post by Gerry Chester » 25 Jun 2004 05:31

robert.wright46 wrote:I always read about Shermans and Fireflys in combat with Tigers What happened when a Churchill and a Tiger met in combat?


Following their experiences in Tunisia , rather than the Allies avoiding contact with Tigers it was the opposite. When the Allies were on the offensive they had no choice other than to face whatever the Germans deployed against them. Conversely, the enemy could chose what Panzers to deploy in a defensive posture.

If the Tigers had been sent to the Western Desert, as was promised to Rommel, the outcome there may well have been different - they could have engaged 8th Army's tanks at ranges far above what could have been fired back at them, however, it was not to be. In Tunisia, where Tigers had no alternative but to face 6-pdr equipped tanks, at ranges of 1,000 yards or less, the advantage was reversed.

As acknowledged in the records of Schwere Panzer Abteilungen which state that the sPzAbt.501 (Heavy Tank Battalion) lost so many tanks at Hunt's Gap that it ceased to be an effective fighting force. sPzABT 504, who arrived in Africa later, were strongly influenced by what had happened to their colleagues. Of the nineteen Tigers that went into action only four survived. Of particular significance, two were put of action by Churchill 6-pdrs of North Irish Horse - the first by fire from another tank.

That 6pdr AP shell could penetrate the Tiger's 102mm thick frontal armour was acknowledged by the Germans and confirmed in "25 Army Tank Brigade's Technical Intelligence Summary Number 1: PzKpfw VI Tiger." See:
http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/Doc ... -data.html
Examination of the Tigers after the battle showed that two were penetrated in the front by 6-pdrs.

sPzAbt 508, while having no battle experience soon learned that the Tiger was far from its element in the hills and mountains of Italy over which so many battles were fought. A report reads: "The 508th was ordered to Italy to attack the Allied bridgehead at Anzio. Unloaded at a railhead 200 km from the bridgehead, about 60 per cent of the Tigers suffered mechanical failures negotiating the narrow, sharply curved mountain roads."

When the Allies burst into the Po Valley, the many rivers and canals forced the Tigers to defensive positions well within the killing range of Allied tanks. As noted in New Zealand records, "Tank v. tank fights have been a feature here: Churchills versus Tigers." NIH records do not state the number of Tigers put out of action by its tanks - the best estimate is six or seven - more importantly, not one Churchill was damaged.

Unlike Tiger and Panther commanders who tended to give the open fire order too soon, crews of their smaller brethren tended to be more patient hence, in Italy at least, it was the latter which we treated warily when coming up against them.

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Post by Tony Williams » 25 Jun 2004 06:19

The performance of the 6 pdr was more than a bit marginal against the front of a Tiger, until it got APDS. See the penetration figures in this article: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Molins.htm

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Post by Xylitol » 28 Jun 2004 13:31

How easely Tiger could destroy Churchil (or Churchill kill Tiger) depends also what version of it faced. Churchil IV would be quite easy to destroy even frontally. MK VII had much better armour but then again it had worse 75mm gun and would have same problems to destroy Tiger (frontally that is).

So summary is that Tiger I could destroy early mark Churchils much longer ranges than they could kill Tiger until APDS was introduced. Against later ones both would have problems to kill each other frontally.

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Post by Lars EP » 05 Jul 2004 09:23

It has often struck me that the Churchill's reputation is much worse than deserved?

In spite of its drawbacks - slow speed and poor manouvrebility - it seems that it's heavy armour and powerful gun made up for that?

Regards --- Lars

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Post by Andreas » 05 Jul 2004 10:16

Lars EP wrote:It has often struck me that the Churchill's reputation is much worse than deserved?

In spite of its drawbacks - slow speed and poor manouvrebility - it seems that it's heavy armour and powerful gun made up for that?

Regards --- Lars


The Churchill was actually very maneuverable, and could go into places other tanks could not, and where tanks were not expected to go, much to the surprise of the Germans. I know of two cases where this happened, once in Tunisia (ISTR it was during the Mareth Line battles), and once during Op BLUECOAT in France (Churchills of 6th Guards Tank Brigade).

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Post by Gerry Chester » 06 Jul 2004 05:30

Lars[/quote]
The Churchill was actually very maneuverable, and could go into places other tanks could not, and where tanks were not expected to go, much to the surprise of the Germans. I know of two cases where this happened, once in Tunisia (ISTR it was during the Mareth Line battles), and once during Op BLUECOAT in France (Churchills of 6th Guards Tank Brigade).[/quote]

The Germans failed to learn the lesson that was handed to them on a plate at Dieppe - the Churchill tank had an extraordinary climbing ability.

Even after finding Cburchills could scale heights thought to impossible in Tunisia - Oued Zarga, Tanngoucha and Longstop for example - the Germans still did not (or would not) believe it and it cost them dearly in the hills of Italy.

The comments of the German commanders responsible for the defence of Longstop are worth reading. See:
http://www.geocities.com/vqpvqp/nih/Articles/4-1.html

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Post by Andreas » 06 Jul 2004 18:14

Gerry

Thanks for posting the link. I believe I first came across the Tunisia story on your excellent website.

You would not know by any chance if I placed the Normandy incident correctly?

All the best

Andreas

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