I believe we have found some common ground !!!
Totally agree points 1 & 4
With regards to the Tigers as an aside, many of the problems associated with them were not always mechanical or size etc but the way they were used by some incompentent commanders particulary when it came to the Tiger II where so much was expected of it.
Found this piece and my apologies but I cannot remember where I downloaded it from, but explains how poor planning, preparation and expectations can go so seriously wrong.
Guess it adds suppourt to your point 2 !!!
On August 10th, 1944, after crossing the Vistula river, elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front broke the enemy defense lines South-east of the Polish town of Sandomierz, and significantly expanded their bridgehead.
In an attempt to retake the lost territory on the west side of the Vistula river, the Germans immediately transferred five divisions (including one panzer division), from the Army Group «South Ukraine,» five infantry divisions from Germany, three infantry divisions from Hungary, and six brigades of assault guns to the Sandomierz area.
Preparing for the German counterattack, the Soviet High Command decided to regroup its troops which included for defense the laying of large minefields.
On August 11th, units of the 6th Guards Tank Corps (GTC) of the 3rd Guards Tank Army (GTA), took defensive positions on the outskirts of the towns of Szyldów and Ogledów which were taken earlier that day.
The bridgehead at that time resembled an irregular semicircle abutted against the Vistula River,in the centre, while the 52nd Guards Tank Brigade (GTBr) closed the left flank. Sandy soil made it difficult to dig the tanks in to their full height because the sides of the trenches kept collapsing.
The same sandy soil caused problems for the Germans as well. Many times Soviet troops observed Panthers swerving in the sand, and while their drivers struggled to control their vehicles, they exposed their thinner side armor to the Soviet guns.
During the skirmishes near Szyldów and Ogledów, this led to severe losses of Panthers (on August 11th, 1944 alone, the 53rd GTBr destroyed eight German tanks).
On August 12th, the commander of the 53rd GTBr, Colonel V. S. Arkhipov, with his Chief of Staff, C. I. Kirilkin, came to the conclusion that the Germans would not continue their direct attack across the open sandy fields, and that they would try to outflank the brigade. They therefore reinforced their force's flanks.
The area facing Major A. G. Korobov's 2nd Tank Battalion (TBn) was open. On the right flank, where the T-34 tanks of Captain I. M. Mazurin's 3rd TBn formed the defense line, there was a deep and wide valley with a dirt road leading from Ogledów village to the town of Staszów, and to the Soviet rear. Behind the valley, there were wetlands defended by the 294th Rifle Regiment of the 97th Rifle Division.
The dirt road provided good access to the Soviet positions, and drew the Germans' attention. To prevent the enemy from using this passage, the Soviet brigade commander decided to set up an ambush from an unnamed hill with two T-34 tanks from the 3rd TBn under command of deputy battalion commander Guards Captain P. T. Ivushkin.
The battalion's remaining tanks were at the main defensive positions one-kilometre from Ogledów.
The initial speculations about the German plan were confirmed by reconnaissance reports.
Three reconnaissance units with tanks and motorcycles were sent to patrol the expected routes of enemy movement.
Reconnaissance Report #53, issued at 7:00 p.m. on August 13th, 1944, issued by the staff of the 6th GTC stated:
During the day (August 13th), Korobov's 2nd TBn fought German tanks west of Hill 247.9. At the end of the day, the 53rd Brigade took southward defensive positions 300 metres east of Ogledów, in readiness to move towards Szyldów.
At ten o'clock in the evening, two tanks from the 3rd TBn, supported by the company of the mechanised infantry, assaulted the village, and by eight o'clock in the morning, they succeeded in clearing it of the enemy. The 3rd TBn then took defensive positions on the edge of the village.
German tanks, which had been withdrawn after earlier attacks, were captured in this village. It was then that it was discovered that the burning tanks in the morning battle were not Panthers.
However, there was not enough time to identify the tanks, and the first reports stated that there were three Panthers captured. The 2nd TBn, the 2nd Tank Company of the 71st IGHTR, and the 289th Rifle Regiment, began moving toward Zaraz at 09:00 a.m.
King Tigers which were positioned west of Ogledów, blocked the attacking infantry with gunfire. A platoon of JS-2 tanks, led by Lieutenant Klimienkov, advanced and joined in the battle. Soon one of the German tanks was on fire, and another one was knocked out.
The infantry, without opposition, then moved in to Ogledów, where tanks of the 3rd TBn were already eliminating the remaining Germans.
Meanwhile, seven King Tigers attacked the Soviet positions from Hill 272.1. Waiting in an ambush near Mokre, Guards Lieutenant Udalov in his JS-2 tank (with number 98, and fitted with the D-25 Main Gun) let the German tanks to approach to a distance of 700-800 metres and started firing.
After a few hits, the first tank was set on fire, and the second tank was knocked out. The German tanks shifted into reverse. Udalov drove towards the enemy and fired again from the edge of the forest.
With one more tank burning, the Germans retreated. Soon, the King Tigers attacked again, this time towards Poniki, where Guards Lieutenant Beliakov's JS-2 was set up in an ambush position. He commenced fire at a distance of 1000 metres, and after the third round, had set fire to an enemy tank. The Germans realized the grave situation, and retreated again.
During the three days of continuous fighting on August 11th, 12th, and 13th, 1944, in the Staszów and Szyldów area the 6th GTC destroyed and captured 24 enemy tanks, thirteen of which were the newly introduced King Tigers.
The reasons behind the Sandomierz King Tiger fiasco include cleverly prepared Soviet defenses and, without a doubt, the high level of professionalism of Soviet tank crews. The Germans failed due to faulty planning and tactics, and particularly because of the direction of the attack for the 70-tonne King Tigers. The need to put the newly designed, but still incomplete tank into action, resulted in these errors.
Those 88mm & 128mm Flak guns would have been gratefully received on the frontlines.
Recent discussions in the World War II forum (153 discussions)
|WWII romance novels?||54||Mar 13, 2016|
|Johnny Carson WWII Documentary||9||Feb 9, 2016|
|The Holocaust||22||May 23, 2015|
|Who was the Best Luftwaffe Ace of World War 2 ?||83||Feb 10, 2015|
|Italy in World War II||249||May 29, 2014|
|Best World War II novels - romance/romantic suspense||0||Feb 17, 2014|
|WWII Events Today||29||Jul 11, 2013|
|Best Movies About WW II?||234||Jun 15, 2013|
|Little Known WWII Battles||1||Jun 15, 2013|
|Nazi V-2 Rockets in Greenland By The End of WWII?||33||Apr 4, 2013|
|Nazis and Advanced Technology in WWII||1||Feb 20, 2013|
|Does Truth in WWII Historical Writing Matter?||3||Feb 10, 2013|