Re. German Heavy Panzers

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
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bryson109
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Post by bryson109 » 10 Mar 2005 23:07

Michael Kenny wrote:Just in case it did not sink in the Pz III has a dummy wooden gun. This idiotic desire to label every Russian photo as a fake speaks volumes about the beliefs of a lot of posters here.
Thanks Michael,

I didn't think it was a fake, and I said it was a dummy gun but no one really seemed to listen.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 10 Mar 2005 23:16

The main drawbacks of Soviet tank designs (compared to German designs):
1. Poor reliability. Tanks needed lots of "tuning" and maintenance.
2. "Driver exhausting" driving characters and poor overall crew ergonomy.
3. Poor observing possibilities. Tanks were "blind" and needed always infantry support.
4. Low quality gun optics.
5. Poor or missing radios.
6. Lack of commander's cupola (in most models).
7. Two piece ammunition in large calibre guns (low rate of fire).
And so on.

IS-3 and Königstiger are anyway rather typical examples of Soviet and German tank designs and all mentioned points are valid. Lack of radios and commander's cupola reduced greatly commanders' possibilities to operate with tanks and lead units. In practise Soviet tanks attacked in large groups of tanks which just advanced forward towards their pre-planned targets without possibilities to make any changes during the attack. This combined with poor training led to huge tank losses.

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MaisAlto
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Post by MaisAlto » 10 Mar 2005 23:40

"...the proper german training to maintain such a complex vehicle as Tiger II."

The engine could be difficult to maintain and I´m shure the tank required a lot of man/hours to keep it running, but saying that it was complex...it was a tank, not a nuclear reactor!!

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Post by DIREWOLF75 » 11 Mar 2005 01:04

Christian W. wrote:There arent proves that IS-III saw combat during WWII.

Do you know why?

Because it didnt saw combat during WWII.
Oh my, suddenly im just SOO convinced, thanks to your amazingly eloquent arguments! :roll:

Actually, since i have seen alot more pointing towards there being SOME JS-3s in WWII combat rather than the opposite, until i find some actual proof, ill stick to my, "dont know, but quite possible", rather than being presumtous and claiming to know 100% for certain.

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Leibstandarte_reenactor
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Post by Leibstandarte_reenactor » 11 Mar 2005 02:30

DIREWOLF75 wrote:
Christian W. wrote:There arent proves that IS-III saw combat during WWII.

Do you know why?

Because it didnt saw combat during WWII.
Oh my, suddenly im just SOO convinced, thanks to your amazingly eloquent arguments! :roll:

Actually, since i have seen alot more pointing towards there being SOME JS-3s in WWII combat rather than the opposite, until i find some actual proof, ill stick to my, "dont know, but quite possible", rather than being presumtous and claiming to know 100% for certain.
most points also say they were involved in the 1945 campaign against Japan so the hikelihood of a JS3 and a pkfw VI ausf B, is very slim

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 11 Mar 2005 07:09

This idiotic desire to label every Russian photo as a fake speaks volumes about the beliefs of a lot of posters here.
Who said anything about every photo? Hmm?

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Post by Igorn » 11 Mar 2005 08:31

Re. JS-2 and JS/3

During testing, JS-2 broke through the frontal armor of a Panther from the distance of 1500 meters but then the shell having excess of energy pierced the transmission, combat compartment, engine, and even after that the shell energy was so strong that it tore off rear hull armor plate along the line of welding joints (seams) and threw it away for few meters. But JS-2 (weight 46 tons) was in the same weight category as a Panther (45 tons). But Panther’s shell didn’t penetrate JS-2’s frontal armor from 1500 meters. Shells of a Tiger (weight 56 tons) and Tiger-II (weight 67 tons) didn’t penetrate JS-2 from 1500 meters distance as well. But JS-2 penetrated their (Tiger and Tiger II) frontal armor from 1500 meters. Apart from JS-2, Soviet Army placed in service JS-3. JS-3 was shown to the Allies during a parade in Berlin in 1945. JS-3 served for a long time as a golden sample for numerous foreign replications/imitations. JS-3 was even esthetically beautiful. Even after 50 years, no tank in the world could be compared with JS-3 in elegance of shapes.

Let’s remember the main thing: while comparing Soviet and German tanks of the World War II, a heavier German tanks were not a more powerful ones compared to less heavy Soviet tanks. Not at all. Soviet tanks had a rational layout (engine and transmission in the rear and no cardan shaft). German, US, British and Japanese tanks had irrational tank layout (transmission in the front and engine in the rear). If one man has a weight of 150 kg it does not mean that he is stronger than a man whose weight is 80 kg. A man with greater weight can simply carry excessive fat, like German, British, US and Japanese tanks carried excessive additional armor protecting unnecessary volumes.

First German heavy panzers were tested only in the end of August of 1942. These were good and powerful tanks. By some parameters German designers managed to catch up and even outrun Russian KV and T-34. But not by all parameters. According to Sun-Tsi, Chingis-Khan, Napoleon, Rokossovsky, Guderian, Brussilov, Vatutin and others only movement, speed and agility brings a victory. By all parameters that measured agility of tank such as speed, ability of a tank to move cross-country, mobility, maneuverability, range German tank designers failed to catch up with T-34 and KV.

Besides it, Russian tanks had a powerful, economic and less fire prone diesel engine, which worked equally well in frosty winter and hot summer. In Germany, country of Rudolf Diesel, such tank engines didn’t exist and tank designers had to install gasoline ones. Soviet tank designers also didn’t rest on their laurels. They were modernizing KV & T-34 and were preparing for production JS (Joseph Stalin) tanks, which almost by all parameters remain a dream for designers and generals of other countries till the end of the war.

German tank designers having at their disposal captured KV and T-34 failed to understand the main “secret” of Russian tank designers. German designers, even having in front of them samples, did not understand the most important thing and repeated the same mistake: an engine in the rear and transmission and power unit in the front. The result: Army ordered a tank of 45 tons weight as a KV but got a Tiger of 57 tons weight. New problem was how to move such a weight in the cross-country terrain?

Larger diameter of supporting wheels easier a tank goes through obstacles. Therefore it is in the interest of a designer to make supporting wheels with the bigger diameter. On the other hand, in order to improve cross-country ability and mobility of a tank, a designer is interested to increase number of footholds and in other words to increase the number of supporting wheels. And in order to be able to achieve that, to make the wheels with lesser diameter. Designer has to search the Golden Middle between these two opposite intentions.

From each side it was possible to place 4-5 supporting wheels with big diameter. If Tiger’s weight was normal that would be enough. But weight was abnormal. Bigger number of supporting wheels was required. And then German designers decided to have three rows of wheels from each side… They made wheels thin as a plate and put a tank on the rows of “plates” placed in the “chess order”: three rows from one side and three rows from the other side. It seemed to be a good decision. Supporting wheels had a big diameter and while moving cross-country strikes were taken by eight footholds of “plates” from each side… But everything has its price. “Plates” were crushing (squeezing) after two hours of movement in cross-country terrain. A Panther was also put on “plates”. And they were also crushing (squeezing). Let’s close our eyes and imagine: a Panzer Abteilung carried out two hours marsh and stop to change tracks and change supporting wheels… What a hassle! It’s good to do in the training but how to do that in a tank battle at Prokhorovka? Tiger’s tracks were damn wide and heavy. Designers didn’t hold a tank weight and that’s why very wide tracks were required. Another trouble was that very rare bridge could sustain a tank of such a weight. Floating bridges were collapsing under Tigers. A Tiger could make a forced crossing of a river only under Railroad bridges. First they had to capture a railroad bridge and on the other side (bank) to capture (beat off) a station with the high platform. Then to find on their side a station with a high platform, move there Tigers, load them in railroad cars, transport them across the river and unload them on the other station with a high platform… Simple exercise? Not really. The problem was that a Tiger on the wide tracks could not be placed on the railroad platform. That’s why a solution: “wide” and “narrow” tracks were designed for Tigers. It was moving on wide tracks and narrow ones were carried after him. These panzers were crossing rivers in a combat in the following way: a tank was driven to a station with a high railroad platform. A heavy truck carrying a “narrow” Tiger’s track was driven to the same station as well. And one more truck with another “narrow” Tiger’s track. These tracks even being “narrow” ones could not be taken by one truck. A third truck with a crane: even being “narrow” Tiger’s tracks could not be loaded/unloaded manually. Then simple. “Wide” tracks and one row of “plates” were removed from a Tiger and “narrow” tracks were put on. Then carefully, a tank was driven on a platform trying not to move on a soft ground to avoid getting stuck. Then loaded “wide” tracks on trucks, moved them onto platforms, crossed a river, transported a railroad car to the next station, which German infantry was able to beat off without tank support. Then tanks had to be unloaded and change “narrow” tracks for “wide” ones. Again, a Tiger was fighting and three trucks with a crane were nearby. If there would be a river of ten meters width how to cross it? Once again, they had to have two stations, a railroad bridge and repeat everything from the very beginning. In 1941 Hitler did not have these wonder-machines. All these existed only in mind of German designers. Tests of first German heavy tanks completed by the fall of 1942 and in December 1942 the first Abteilung showed up in the front.

And re. "just" 28 round of shells of 122mm D-25 gun. I want to remind you not ot forget about HE ability of D-25 gun. JS-2, for example, was created as a heavy breakthrough tank, intended to break through the enemy's lines of defense. In other words, the main targets of this tank were infantry and artillery. History showed that the JS-2 used about 70% of its HE ammunition and only 30% of its AP ammunition.

And re. Tiger II "better reliability from the report I have already posted in this thread:

"...In the end, both captured vehicles were delivered to the NIIBT proving ground, where vehicle #102 underwent further maneuverability tests. This testing encountered severe obstacles connected with the extremely low reliability of the chassis elements, engine, and transmission. It was determined that 860 liters of fuel was sufficient for 90 km of movement over an dirt road, even though the vehicle's manual indicated that this amount of fuel should have been sufficient for 120 km. Fuel consumption per 100 km was 970 liters instead of the 700 liters according to this same (captured) manual. Average rate of movement along the highway was 25-30 km/h, 13.4-15 km/h along an dirt road. The average speed when moving over rough terrain was even worse: 6-7 km/h. The maximum speed, given as 41.5 km/h in the tank's technical documentation, was never even once achieved in the maneuverability tests..."

And some more photos for my friends.
Source: http://www.battlefield.ru


Best Regards from Russia,
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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 11 Mar 2005 08:55

Michael
Thanks for clearing up about the photograph.

Regarding the photographs you show of the captured Tiger IIs, you yourself have shown in the past that we cannot always rely on photographs to determine wheter a vehicle is new or used. Still, I won't deny that these are most likely relatively new vehicles, considering the combat record of the vehicles. I could probably cross-check my references to find out when exactly they were manufactured - that is, if I had my books with me, so that will have to wait...

DIREWOLF75
All sources that claim the JS-3s were used are western sources, the Russian sources says they weren't used, neither in Berlin, for in Manchuria. Check the FAQ at http://www.battlefield.ru for more details on this.

Igorn
It is true that a diesel engine requires more heat to burn, but when it does. it will be more difficult to put out. The German tanks had an automatic fire extinguishing system, which would put out any smaller fires in the engine. In an interview with a Russian veteran tanker on Russian Battlefield, he mentions how the T-34 would by all chance explode if one fire, which was not the case for the M4 he also drove.

You keep bringing up the location of the engine and transmission, and while I'll mainly refer out to my rebuttal regarding this above (which you haven't countered), I will leave you with this: Do you actually believe that the German engineers for some mysterious reason didn't discover the location of the engine of the captured Russian tanks (even though they copied it with the VK 30.01 D), and just accidentally chose to mount it in the rear?

Regarding the positioning of the road wheels, it is true that there were difficulties with the wheels clogging up, but the system of interleaving road wheels also distributed the weight better, sparing the tracks. The Tigers were also able to fight on their transport tracks.

For a breakthrough tanks, which must be expected to be unable to return to its main base each evening unless the attack is broken off, 28 shells isn't much. In an attack, once it runs out, all it can do is retreat, and hope that it won't clog up attacking forces behind it (that is unless they bring up a truck with ammunition along with the attack).

Again, regarding the test results, this is just one vehilce. I also wonder if they followed the instructions in Merkblatt 47a/29 and Merkblatt 47a/30 when driving the vehicles.

Christian

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Post by Igorn » 11 Mar 2005 09:06

Leibstandarte_reenactor wrote:But the IS3 never saw combat in ww2, so why dont we compare a Maus to the IS3? i think that would be a bit more fair.
Some information in this regard:

From the book of Will Fey's, veteran of Waffen SS and an article of Miles Krogfus: Das Reich Panzers,San Diego, USA:

"...driven back south of Komaron during the third week of March 1945, "Das Reich" personnel claimed to have met the JS III for the first time in combat..."

Will Fey, Armor Battles of the Waffen SS, Stackpole Military Series, P.351.

From the book of Christopher Duffy:

"... The JS-3, essentially a version of the JS-2 with redesigned and very heavily sloped armour, saw action in Germany in the final weeks of the war. A German testifies that 'our otherwise excellent L48 75-mm tank gun could do little against the super-heavy Russian Stalin tanks. Only what we called a "Sunday shot" was capable of penetrating that thick armour' (Schlaufler, 1979, 26)

Christopher Duffy, Red Storm on the Reich. The Soviet March on Germany, 1945, London, 2001, P. 322.

JS-3 photos are taken from www.http://armor.kiev.ua

Best Regards from Russia,
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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 11 Mar 2005 09:40

Those two books are western sources. The first one relies on the claims of veterans, and second is only a statement which would be true for the JS-2 as well to some extent. Also, there weren't any JS-3s even near the front line in March 1945. If you can present any Russian reports, or possibly in-action photographs, of the employment of JS-3s during WWII, I will believe it - otherwise not.

Christian

Igorn
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Post by Igorn » 11 Mar 2005 09:53

Christian,

You can believe in whatever you want. Don't overestimate yourself. Really, I don't care whatever you believe that that JS-3 saw action in the war or whether you believe that Tiger penetrated frontal armor (250mm) of JS-3.

Best Regards from Russia,

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » 11 Mar 2005 09:53

Not to forget that german tank soldiers normally called the late IS-2 instead of "modified JS2" IS-3 ...


Jan-Hendrik

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Karl234
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Post by Karl234 » 11 Mar 2005 12:43

Michael Kenny wrote:Just in case it did not sink in the Pz III has a dummy wooden gun. This idiotic desire to label every Russian photo as a fake speaks volumes about the beliefs of a lot of posters here.
You have an idea how much pounds this tube weight??? :idea:
Somebody who think that one man can hold a massive steel tube like this in one hand had lost reality.

@Igorn

What do you think about this text?

" The IS-3, a heavy tank, developed at Experimental Plant No.100, under the leadership of M. F. Balzha in 1944-45, was the latest Soviet tank developed in the course of the Great Patriotic War.
A special commission was formed in 1943 to analyse the reasons for the horrible losses suffered by the Soviet military tank units in the Battle of Kursk (6064 machines were lost during the 38 days of battle). Based on the commission's proceedings and on the IS-2, a new heavy tank, the IS-3 was designed, this tank was considered a breakthrough design. Its hull was welded from rolled steel armour plate with the maximum possible slope on the front glacis plate. The tank was also provided with a cast gun turret, having the shape of a flattened hemisphere, which gave it a more streamlined appearance. The thickness of the frontal armour was increased considerably, owing to a reduction of armour thickness in other less vulnerable areas. Thus, the frontal armour plates of the hull were 120 mm thick, while the front of the gun turret was 230 mm thick. Having the same overall weight after the modifications, the tank had 1.5 times less frontal area. In addition this tank was equipped with a commander's control system for gun turret rotation.
Production was started in May of 1945, and continued up to mid-1946. At the end of the War 29 tanks were produced, with their total production number continuing on to 2311.
The IS-3 was not used in any military action during World War II, but on September 7th 1945 a tank regiment had taken part in the parade of Red Army Units in Berlin, being dedicated to the victory over Japan.
The IS-3 had been modernised by the end of 1950's now being named the IS-3M.
The tank was not considered an export model, although two machines arrived in Poland during 1946, while another machine arrived in Czechoslovakia with the purpose of familiarisation and instructor training. A considerably larger number of tanks were sent to North Korea, which in the 1960's had two operational regiments of IC-3's. 100 IS-3 and IS-3M heavy tanks were delivered to Egypt from 1956 to 1967. "

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Post by DIREWOLF75 » 11 Mar 2005 13:08

DIREWOLF75
All sources that claim the JS-3s were used are western sources, the Russian sources says they weren't used, neither in Berlin, for in Manchuria. Check the FAQ at http://www.battlefield.ru for more details on this.
Well, the FAQ page is currently down but here´s what the JS-3 page says:
The first test group of IS-3's left the factory gates in mid-May 1945. Despite western opinion (usually I hear about IS-3's seen on the streets of Vienna), IS-3 tanks weren't involved in battles on the Eastern Front. The participation of IS-3's in Far Eastern Front battles (in August 1945) is still unverified: at least one tank regiment of IS-3 tanks was sent, but Soviet combat records don't confirm any actual combat.
Technically, this proves JS-3 as part of WWII, even if unknown wether any actually saw combat.
Thing is though, that at least one source i have seen(German) mentions the "pike-nose" as one distinguishing feature of a tank sighted in combat.
AFAIK, only the JS-3 had that. Of course it could be a mistake or something else.

Anyway, take a look at their page with the further developments of the JS series. :)

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 11 Mar 2005 13:16

How can a tank that didn't fight in a war belong to that war? That is the same as saying that nuclear weapons have been a part of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, because the US has posession of these weapons at the same time these wars are being fought.

Christian

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