Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Discussions on the vehicles used by the Axis forces. Hosted by Christian Ankerstjerne
Gwynn Compton
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Battlefield performance of the Tiger II (King Tiger)

Post by Gwynn Compton » 07 Apr 2004 06:46

I'm interested in the battlefield performance of this massive beast, especially how those who crewed them valued them when compared to the Panther or the Tiger.

I understand that it was not entirely reliable, and that from my avaliable information (Robert Cecil's "Hitler's War Machine") it had the same speed as the Tiger, yet weighed some 13.6 tons heavier.

Purchance does someone have a good account of the Tiger II in battle?

Gwynn

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 07 Apr 2004 06:51

I've found this good account of the Tiger II on Achtung Panzer

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/tigertam.htm

Gwynn

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Alejandro_
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Post by Alejandro_ » 07 Apr 2004 15:08

Gwynn Compton

You will find all kind of opinions on the Tiger-II.

Personally I believe that it's mobility and reliability was so poor that it turned a tank with excellent potential in a failure.

The engine was the same that for the Panther, the difference is that the Panther is 45 tons and the KT 68... of course mobility is not going to be great.

The second problem was it's poor reliability, specially the steering.

The final problem was that the quality of german steel was not as good as in 1939-43 so it was weaker.

In mi opinion it could have been an excellent tank if equipped with a proper engine and quality resources. However, and after seeing it's performance in combat i think I would prefer to have a Jadpanther, which provides same firepower, good protection, mobility, and a reliable, battle proven chasis. Also it's cheaper to build.

You will probably know this link but I think it shows the weaknesses of the KT -some people say it's not a good source but i think it is-.

http://www.battlefield.ru/library/books ... pons7.html

Best regards.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 07 Apr 2004 17:05

The Tiger II was both faster and better armoured than the Jagdpanther (which is acceptable for the Jagdpanther, as it was a Panzerjäger, and thus was not designed for assaults).
Furthermore, it had a rotating turret, and a high ammunition storage capacity.

I am yet to see data which suggest that the Tiger II was as unreliable as many sources claim.

Christian

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Post by Psycked » 07 Apr 2004 18:18

Otto Carius tank commander of a Tiger. I would suggest reading this book if you're intrested in how Tigers did. In Carious's hands he was one of the best to ever command a Tiger. He thought it was the best tank ever built.

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Alejandro_
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Post by Alejandro_ » 07 Apr 2004 19:12

The Tiger II was both faster
Can you explain how if both had the same engine? the difference is that the Jadpanther is 20 tons lighter.
Furthermore, it had a rotating turret, and a high ammunition storage capacity.
Yes, but it makes it more expensive to produce.
I am yet to see data which suggest that the Tiger II was as unreliable as many sources claim.
Well, if you think that the report at http://www.battlefield.ru is fake that's fair enough, but it does make sense to me.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 07 Apr 2004 21:31

Alejandro_
Can you explain how if both had the same engine? the difference is that the Jadpanther is 20 tons lighter.
Certainly - better drive train.

Just for the record, the speed of the Tiger II was:
Maximum speed: 41.5km./h.
Sustainable roadspeed: 38km./h.
Sustainable cross-country speed: 15-20km./h.
(Germany's Tiger Tanks: VK 45.02 to Tiger II)

Jagdpanther:
Maximum speed: 30km./h.
Sustainable roadspeed: 20km./h.
Sustainable cross-country speed: 15km./h.
(Merkblatt 75a/20)
Yes, but it makes it more expensive to produce.
True, but it is still cheaper/better to loose one Tiger II, than loosing two Jagdpanther, in case of a flank attack.
Well, if you think that the report at http://www.battlefield.ru is fake that's fair enough, but it does make sense to me.
I don't think that the results they achived are forged. The report does suffer from numerous faults, though. In general, these faults can be summed up in two factors:
- Lack of knowledge of vehicle production and combat history prior to being captured
- Extreme statistical inaccuracy (we are talking about one vehicle out of 489 produced - to make conclusions about the entire production run from this is something not even the most unscruopelous politician would dare).

What I'm looking for is 'negative' data on so many Tiger IIs that statistical error becomes virtually impossible.

Christian

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 07 Apr 2004 22:47

The link from Achtung Panzer certainly hints at mechanical carnage occuring prior to the battle. Certainly though, with a longer design time, and a more "refined" version coming out, like what happened with the Panther, the Tiger II could have been far more devastating than it was.

Gwynn

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Post by doch » 07 Apr 2004 23:07

Chriastian,

can you explain in more depth why the Jagdpanther was slower than the KT on/off road.

I would guess that the Jagdpanthers mobility and speed would be very close to the panthers.

Also, Achtung panzer has the following data on the Jagdpanther (same as Panther):

Road: 46km/h
Cross-Country: 24km/h

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 08 Apr 2004 00:12

I don't have a diagram of the Jagdpanthers and Tiger IIs mechanical composition, so I can't explain the difference.

I don't know where Achtung Panzer got their numbers - I got them from a German Jagdpanther manual...

Christian

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ViKinG
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Post by ViKinG » 08 Apr 2004 02:11

Well the drivetrains were different...Panther was built by MAN and Tiger wasn't..maybe that's why the Tiger could achieve a better road speed.

Viking

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Alejandro_
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Post by Alejandro_ » 08 Apr 2004 10:40

Christian Ankerstjerne
Just for the record, the speed of the Tiger II was:
Maximum speed: 41.5km./h.
Sustainable roadspeed: 38km./h.
Sustainable cross-country speed: 15-20km./h.
(Germany's Tiger Tanks: VK 45.02 to Tiger II)
Thanks for the info but I guess these are the figures obtained with the prototipe in ideal conditions, just to give an example the designer of the T-34 went from his factory to Moscow to check the reliability of the tank. On the other hand the first production models had all sorts of trouble.
Certainly - better drive train
Well, the russian report critisises the chasis (overloaded), steering mechanism (complex and unreliable), poor track elements and tensioning. Remeber that these designed elements are the same for all KT.
than loosing two Jagdpanther, in case of a flank attack
I don't think that is a fair comment, Germany at that time was at the defensive where these vehicles are not in that much disadvantage. It's like if I say that it's better to have one Hetzer because it won't break down before reaching the front line like in the KT case.
we are talking about one vehicle out of 489 produced
Ok, but some other points affect all production i.e. ammo becoming much more effective after Summer 1944.

Best regards.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 08 Apr 2004 13:08

Thanks for the info but I guess these are the figures obtained with the prototipe in ideal conditions
Do you know this, or is it just speculation?
On the other hand the first production models had all sorts of trouble.
That is correct, the first five or so Tiger IIs had a lot of problems, but these were worked out - just like the problems of the Panther.
Well, the russian report critisises the chasis (overloaded), steering mechanism (complex and unreliable), poor track elements and tensioning. Remeber that these designed elements are the same for all KT.
That they critisized it on one vehicle does not make it true for all the vehicles. Parts can be defective, and so forth.
I don't think that is a fair comment, Germany at that time was at the defensive where these vehicles are not in that much disadvantage.
It was common practice to try to outflank the German vehicles, so that makes my statement very reasonable.
It's like if I say that it's better to have one Hetzer because it won't break down before reaching the front line like in the KT case.
But then you again assume that the Tiger II is unreliable.
Ok, but some other points affect all production i.e. ammo becoming much more effective after Summer 1944.
I don't see how effective ammunition has anything to do with reliability...

Christian

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Alejandro_
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Post by Alejandro_ » 08 Apr 2004 17:27

Do you know this, or is it just speculation?
To some degree is especulation, but it would explain the excelent "on paper" performace of the KT in the info you gave.
That is correct, the first five or so Tiger IIs had a lot of problems
Do you got any source that states that only the first 5 were defective? are you sure the problems in the Panther were solved after just 5 production samples?
That they critisized it on one vehicle does not make it true for all the vehicles. Parts can be defective, and so forth.
They critisise the design, which is common for all KT.
But then you again assume that the Tiger II is unreliable.
Yes, but you assumed that the Jadpanthers were going to be surprised :) .
I don't see how effective ammunition has anything to do with reliability...
and defective or poorer armor on the other end.

According to battlefield.ru in the battle where those KT were captured 10 KT broke down in a 3 kms march, I don't think especulation will be huge.

I do know that there weren't that many skilled drivers in Germany anymore but you do expect some sort of training in such a unit, and I haven't read something like this about a PzIV for example or late Panthers.


Although I don't write very often in this forum i do read and follow it because it's excellent, congratulations.

Best regards.

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Rommel8
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Post by Rommel8 » 08 Apr 2004 21:12

what was the Tiger II's turret traverse speed?

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