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Historical Discussion: More Tigers; Good or Bad?

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Matthew J35U5 #41 Posted 03 October 2014 - 04:11 AM

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View PostDennis420b, on 02 October 2014 - 11:48 PM, said:

 

1. Well the degree of effort going into a Tiger vs the T-34 is an obvious one. Using dollars is just a convenient way to sum up the total cost of a unit. Obviously its not like a vending machine where you insert "X" amount of money and a tank pops out. But we can mass all those many sums in a monetary cost and derive an abstract overall cost to compare them.

2. A better way to actually look at it would be to see how many T-34s could the USSR make at full capacity vs. how many Tigers Germany could have produced also at full capacity. In this sense we have Germanys manufacturing potential helping out the Tigers higher level of effort and material needed, but is that enough to erode the advantage of simplicity the T-34 has?

3. But again if we are going down that rabbit hole why not also consider the fact that neither nation could focus that level of manufacturing to just one item. So now we have to look at the needs of the army other than Tiger/T-34 tank production. Germany' large industrialized sector is hampered by raw materials, and labor isues, but also Germany has no allies supplying them with weapons and material to supplement its needs (Yes the Czechoslovakian arsenals and factories helped immensely to Germany's war effort, it is still organized and funded by Germany). The Russians received all kinds of weapons that freed up their manufacturing for what was needed most. During the Tigers years of production the other services were all demanding more. The Germans had to make everything stretch. Russia conversely has less manufacturing potential, but no real problems of material and man hours. And again they are supplemented by the western allies.

4. Total Tiger production was 1,300+. T-34 production in 1944 alone was 11,000+. Clearly this shows not only the ease of manufacture of the T-34 vs the Tiger, but also each countries freedom to produce what was needed. Without lend lease could the Soviets have had the freedom to produce such a prodigious amount in a year? Probably not, but the cost to the Soviets was far less at any rate than that of the Germans with the Tiger and production would have been high as a result. making the Tiger still just a drain on the German war machine. Great tank from the tankers perspective, but more of a special novelty than a real front line tank to the army. Hence their use in independent battalions attached as needed at the corps level rather than regularly attached permanently to divisions (a few exceptions). The T-34 on the other hand was clearly a workhorse for the Soviets. In that sense the T-34 clearly has a bigger impact than the Tiger.

1. Well, the problem is that in Germany the value of money was determined by the people at the top and the same was true in the Soviet Union. One could reasonably expect that the Tiger costing twice as much as the Panther was representative of the differences in materials and work that went into those vehicles, but it would be impossible to compare that at all to prices in the Soviet Union.

2. Germany's manufacturing potential was less than the Soviet Union's. At least with the system the Germans had where they didn't even fully switch to a war economy until the war had been going on for a few years already.

3. Should this not be the other way round? Germany had the advantage in raw materials (except for some rare metals I believe), while the Soviet Union had a more competent industry. I had also thought that the major contribution from lend-lease was food to replace the agricultural lands lost to the Germans, and many trucks to help their logistics. 

4. I agree, I think that what most proponents of the Tiger overlook when praising it so highly is that for all nations heavy tanks such as that were basically specialist vehicles. The Soviet Union built, what, ~4000 IS-2's? And it wasn't like they couldn't have built more if they had wanted to divert production from other things, but I suppose they just didn't see the need for it.


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Dennis420b #42 Posted 03 October 2014 - 04:44 AM

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View PostMatthew J35U5, on 02 October 2014 - 11:11 PM, said:

1. Well, the problem is that in Germany the value of money was determined by the people at the top and the same was true in the Soviet Union. One could reasonably expect that the Tiger costing twice as much as the Panther was representative of the differences in materials and work that went into those vehicles, but it would be impossible to compare that at all to prices in the Soviet Union.

2. Germany's manufacturing potential was less than the Soviet Union's. At least with the system the Germans had where they didn't even fully switch to a war economy until the war had been going on for a few years already.

3. Should this not be the other way round? Germany had the advantage in raw materials (except for some rare metals I believe), while the Soviet Union had a more competent industry. I had also thought that the major contribution from lend-lease was food to replace the agricultural lands lost to the Germans, and many trucks to help their logistics. 

4. I agree, I think that what most proponents of the Tiger overlook when praising it so highly is that for all nations heavy tanks such as that were basically specialist vehicles. The Soviet Union built, what, ~4000 IS-2's? And it wasn't like they couldn't have built more if they had wanted to divert production from other things, but I suppose they just didn't see the need for it.

Again the only reason that it can be abstractly measured by money is for its most simplistic way to compare. The true cost of those things in terms of the price paid by that nation, cant be compared one for one as the value of each unit vs its "price" is different. The USSR did not need to produce Interceptors to meet a threat to its industrial base, or a fleet of U-boats to maintain the pressure on the Allies. Sure one could argue that those cost could be minimal in terms of manufacture (you dont build tanks at shipyards), but the competition for transportation and raw materials between the services was much higher in Germany because of its needs.

The USSR had more production potential? hmm. Again this is a quantity vs quality issue (As is always the case in these two nations). How many Tigers could the USSR have made? If any? Conversely how many T-34s could the Germans have made? There is a reason the T-34 and many other Soviet weapons were simple the same as there was a reason the Germans were able to make more complex (to a fault really) items.

Resources? Hmm. Aluminum was always a premium. Fuel was another big issue. Germany had a very real fuel shortage, to the point that many artificial additives were added to try and stretch and cover the needs. Iron was not near as plentiful as needed, and much of that had to come from Scandinavia through a gauntlet of British Subs, mines and Coastal Command planes making the cost paid for those materials high (not to mention the 12 division garrison and permanent Luftwaffe presence needed there). Of course many nations had material shortages of some sort (except the US), but Germany was adaptive and overcame many of those issues.

Heavy tanks were like two engined fighters 5 years earlier, a novel idea but less practical in reality. Still most nations had to try both and found a use for them but never really with the intended results.



Matthew J35U5 #43 Posted 03 October 2014 - 11:31 AM

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View PostDennis420b, on 03 October 2014 - 12:44 AM, said:

Again the only reason that it can be abstractly measured by money is for its most simplistic way to compare. The true cost of those things in terms of the price paid by that nation, cant be compared one for one as the value of each unit vs its "price" is different. The USSR did not need to produce Interceptors to meet a threat to its industrial base, or a fleet of U-boats to maintain the pressure on the Allies. Sure one could argue that those cost could be minimal in terms of manufacture (you dont build tanks at shipyards), but the competition for transportation and raw materials between the services was much higher in Germany because of its needs.

The USSR had more production potential? hmm. Again this is a quantity vs quality issue (As is always the case in these two nations). How many Tigers could the USSR have made? If any? Conversely how many T-34s could the Germans have made? There is a reason the T-34 and many other Soviet weapons were simple the same as there was a reason the Germans were able to make more complex (to a fault really) items.

Resources? Hmm. Aluminum was always a premium. Fuel was another big issue. Germany had a very real fuel shortage, to the point that many artificial additives were added to try and stretch and cover the needs. Iron was not near as plentiful as needed, and much of that had to come from Scandinavia through a gauntlet of British Subs, mines and Coastal Command planes making the cost paid for those materials high (not to mention the 12 division garrison and permanent Luftwaffe presence needed there). Of course many nations had material shortages of some sort (except the US), but Germany was adaptive and overcame many of those issues.

Heavy tanks were like two engined fighters 5 years earlier, a novel idea but less practical in reality. Still most nations had to try both and found a use for them but never really with the intended results.

 

The Germans could have had as much production potential, they just never fully utilized it until they were already getting bombed everyday and had effectively already lost the war, despite the strategic bombing campaign their output of war materials increased rather than decreased as one might expect.


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Dennis420b #44 Posted 03 October 2014 - 01:37 PM

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I agree. But even if the Germans had initiated a war economy (honestly no latter than after the Munich agreement to be truly effective) would more Tigers have made a difference? Even at twice the production rate I do not think that it would have changed anything as Germany's problem in the end was a quantitative one on a scale that could not have been solved by an additional 1300 tigers. With that in mind even the Panther was too complicated and costly to solve that problem. Had a copy or similar tank to the T-34 been adopted then there might be a chance.

Matthew J35U5 #45 Posted 04 October 2014 - 04:25 AM

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View PostDennis420b, on 03 October 2014 - 09:37 AM, said:

I agree. But even if the Germans had initiated a war economy (honestly no latter than after the Munich agreement to be truly effective) would more Tigers have made a difference? Even at twice the production rate I do not think that it would have changed anything as Germany's problem in the end was a quantitative one on a scale that could not have been solved by an additional 1300 tigers. With that in mind even the Panther was too complicated and costly to solve that problem. Had a copy or similar tank to the T-34 been adopted then there might be a chance.

 

Well, my initial premise has been that the Tigers were in part so effective because of how rare they were, it just wasn't worth replacing T-34-76's with T-34-57's just so that 1/1000 of those tanks meets a Tiger and can penetrate its armour. More StuG's and a Panther that actually fit the initial design contract (basically, as you say, to copy the T-34), and a war economy, then maybe. The Tiger certainly wasn't a war-winning tank, and neither was the Panther that actually was produced.

KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Dennis420b #46 Posted 04 October 2014 - 05:33 AM

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View PostMatthew J35U5, on 03 October 2014 - 11:25 PM, said:

 

Well, my initial premise has been that the Tigers were in part so effective because of how rare they were, it just wasn't worth replacing T-34-76's with T-34-57's just so that 1/1000 of those tanks meets a Tiger and can penetrate its armour. More StuG's and a Panther that actually fit the initial design contract (basically, as you say, to copy the T-34), and a war economy, then maybe. The Tiger certainly wasn't a war-winning tank, and neither was the Panther that actually was produced.

 

Yeah I can sign off on that.

AlmightyJerry #47 Posted 06 October 2014 - 10:45 PM

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The winter may not have defeated the Germans alone but it did not help that the Germans were not prepared for the harsh winter and they had lost a lot of vehicles do to mechanical problems directly cause by the winter and the mud season after all the snow. That won Russia the war it  was the fact  they had more men to throw away

STUART SHERMAN #48 Posted 13 October 2014 - 04:34 PM

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View PostDennis420b, on 01 October 2014 - 07:06 PM, said:

Without reading all that and just focusing on the question. Less, or none. Maintenance, cost, transportation, man hours and the eventual developments in angled armor really surpassed the needs of the tank. They should have just copied the T-34 as many of the generals had suggested. What would have been the cost per unit between the T-34 and Tiger?

 

I contend that the Germans could not have, truly reverse engineered the T34. Russian tank manufacturers built tanks to last about 6 months. According to their experience that was the average overall lifespan of a tank. Once in combat, Russian tanks lasted about 14 hours. They built tanks to go about 1000 miles before they fell apart. This allowed them to loosen up tolerances, and stamp more parts. German craftsmen were culturally unable to embrace the "Zen of Shoddiness" necessary to build tanks on that scale. German industry shunned the "hard tooling" that enabled the Russians, and Americans to mass produce tanks. They could have built a tank that looked like a T34, but it would have taken many more man hours to build. I think this works better than cost as it's a more direct comparison.

Average man hours per tank,

USA           10,000

Russia        35-50,000

Germany    200-300,000

 

According to World War II Magazine Oct./Nov. 2014


                                   

                                                     "Stop it with all the negative waves..."    Oddball


Kill Process #49 Posted 23 October 2014 - 02:43 PM

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Overengineering of the Tiger, waste of resources when they already had piss poor logistical planning, extreme nature of being outnumbered in nearly every fight, etc. The list is endless.

 

It all starts, and ends, with logistics. For example, the Tiger II needed special trains and tracks for transport. Waste of resources. The Tiger I itself was a wasted enterprise, as was the Panther. Germany was trying to spread its roots throughout entirely too many tank lines, and coupled with horrific logistics, was unable to supply the already poor reliability tanks with ammo, replacement parts, oil, and gas.

 

German would have done better to focus on "good enough" instead of "how big a gun and how thick the armor?" For example, modifying the PzIV to modernize would have been optimal. The PZIII was a reliable and cheap chassis. Building a tank corps with a baseline of PZ IV, PZ III would have been not only more efficient, more productive and cheaper, it would have made more logistical sense.

 

The PZ III formed the basis for many vehicles, including the venerable StuG III, which was probably the best tank killer on the front lines, with the exception of infantry based AT assets.

 

The PZIV was the same, and could easily have been modified with a better armor layout to match the effectiveness of the T34's sloping. Upgunning could have been possible if not for Hitler's insistance on completely preposterous gun sizes for the times.

 

Relying on HE from assault guns helps with the lack of german manpower.

 

Overall, Hitler and his cronies lost because they couldn't focus on a well supplied, well equipped tank corps formed on the basis of a small sample of platforms that could be modified and modernized easily. Tie in the logistical nightmare of the USSR and you have a recipe for disaster.



Matthew J35U5 #50 Posted 23 October 2014 - 04:00 PM

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View PostKill Process, on 23 October 2014 - 10:43 AM, said:

Overengineering of the Tiger, waste of resources when they already had piss poor logistical planning, extreme nature of being outnumbered in nearly every fight, etc. The list is endless.

 

It all starts, and ends, with logistics. For example, the Tiger II needed special trains and tracks for transport. Waste of resources. The Tiger I itself was a wasted enterprise, as was the Panther. Germany was trying to spread its roots throughout entirely too many tank lines, and coupled with horrific logistics, was unable to supply the already poor reliability tanks with ammo, replacement parts, oil, and gas.

 

German would have done better to focus on "good enough" instead of "how big a gun and how thick the armor?" For example, modifying the PzIV to modernize would have been optimal. The PZIII was a reliable and cheap chassis. Building a tank corps with a baseline of PZ IV, PZ III would have been not only more efficient, more productive and cheaper, it would have made more logistical sense.

 

The PZ III formed the basis for many vehicles, including the venerable StuG III, which was probably the best tank killer on the front lines, with the exception of infantry based AT assets.

 

The PZIV was the same, and could easily have been modified with a better armor layout to match the effectiveness of the T34's sloping. Upgunning could have been possible if not for Hitler's insistance on completely preposterous gun sizes for the times.

 

Relying on HE from assault guns helps with the lack of german manpower.

 

Overall, Hitler and his cronies lost because they couldn't focus on a well supplied, well equipped tank corps formed on the basis of a small sample of platforms that could be modified and modernized easily. Tie in the logistical nightmare of the USSR and you have a recipe for disaster.

It was actually basically impossible to further upgrade either the Pz. III or Pz. IV. The Pz. III was a good vehicle, but had a small turret ring and wouldn't be able to mount a larger gun. It served well as StuG's, but that was all it could do. The Pz. IV (so I've heard) would have over stressed its suspension if made any heavier, or would have its weight distributed too badly if made to have an 80 mm sloped frontal glacis. That last bit could be completely wrong, it was just something I had heard, unsourced.

 

It was, I think, a reasonable proposition to create a new production model to replace the Pz. IV and Pz. III, however they really should have chosen the Daimler-Benz prototype rather than the MAN prototype, and once chosen, they shouldn't have insanely increased the weight by 10 tons over what it was designed for. 

 

As an additional comment, I think it would have made much more sense to arm their hypothetical ~30 ton medium tank using a 88 mm gun just like the Tiger rather than using a high-velocity 75 mm gun that was good for making holes in tanks and not much else. If the Germans were to build a hypothetical "Tiger II", they should have made it not more than 50 tons, and armed it with a 105 mm gun or something.

 

Basically, they should have built the T-35-85 and the IS-2. >.>


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Kill Process #51 Posted 24 October 2014 - 03:17 PM

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View PostMatthew J35U5, on 23 October 2014 - 05:00 PM, said:

It was actually basically impossible to further upgrade either the Pz. III or Pz. IV. The Pz. III was a good vehicle, but had a small turret ring and wouldn't be able to mount a larger gun. It served well as StuG's, but that was all it could do. The Pz. IV (so I've heard) would have over stressed its suspension if made any heavier, or would have its weight distributed too badly if made to have an 80 mm sloped frontal glacis. That last bit could be completely wrong, it was just something I had heard, unsourced.

 

It was, I think, a reasonable proposition to create a new production model to replace the Pz. IV and Pz. III, however they really should have chosen the Daimler-Benz prototype rather than the MAN prototype, and once chosen, they shouldn't have insanely increased the weight by 10 tons over what it was designed for.

 

As an additional comment, I think it would have made much more sense to arm their hypothetical ~30 ton medium tank using a 88 mm gun just like the Tiger rather than using a high-velocity 75 mm gun that was good for making holes in tanks and not much else. If the Germans were to build a hypothetical "Tiger II", they should have made it not more than 50 tons, and armed it with a 105 mm gun or something.

 

Basically, they should have built the T-35-85 and the IS-2. >.>

 

 

Right, the PzIII turret ring was too small. Production should have focused on them as recon tanks and StuGs. As for the Pz IV, it had reached the end of its possible advancement, but still formed the backbone of the panzercorps even til 1945. They'd have done better overall by focusing on realistic armored aims. In the end though, the loss of the war was practically predetermined.

 



Matthew J35U5 #52 Posted 24 October 2014 - 04:08 PM

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View PostKill Process, on 24 October 2014 - 11:17 AM, said:

 

 

Right, the PzIII turret ring was too small. Production should have focused on them as recon tanks and StuGs. As for the Pz IV, it had reached the end of its possible advancement, but still formed the backbone of the panzercorps even til 1945. They'd have done better overall by focusing on realistic armored aims. In the end though, the loss of the war was practically predetermined.

Yeah, probably. I have been feeling more sympathetic to their point of view however, rather than, in hindsight, saying invading Russia was a terrible idea. They had after-all just rolled over France and the BEF, while the world watched the Red Army struggle in their invasion of Finland, so one could understand why they might have thought it was possible to defeat the Soviet Union, especially as they had managed to defeat the Russian empire in WWI. It was still insane, but not quite as insane as it is usually described. 


KeystoneCops, on 14 June 2015 - 12:51 PM, said:


Kill Process #53 Posted 27 October 2014 - 06:38 PM

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View PostMatthew J35U5, on 24 October 2014 - 05:08 PM, said:

Yeah, probably. I have been feeling more sympathetic to their point of view however, rather than, in hindsight, saying invading Russia was a terrible idea. They had after-all just rolled over France and the BEF, while the world watched the Red Army struggle in their invasion of Finland, so one could understand why they might have thought it was possible to defeat the Soviet Union, especially as they had managed to defeat the Russian empire in WWI. It was still insane, but not quite as insane as it is usually described.

 

I agree. I think at the end of it, when the chips were all down - Hitler had no, absolutely no, other choice. If he doesn't invade, the allied blockade strangles the country to the point it cannot resist. If he chooses to invade Britain, he loses massive amounts of troops and hardware and most likely fails completely.

 

I think the entire war boils down to two massive mistakes.

 

1) Allowing the destruction of the French fleet. Had they captured it, Sea Lion -may- have been a real possibility.

 

2) Goering remaining the commander of the Luftwaffe. The failure of the Luftwaffe in every single campaign from the bombing of Britain through Stalingrad, through bodenplatte and the ardennes in general, Hitler's second in command failed on so many levels it isn't funny. The Luftwaffe was a gigantic political ploy and it did lose Germany the war.

 

Now, I am not saying that Germany could win with a functioning Luftwaffe - but, it certainly could have done much better. Had Hitler allowed the air defenses of the reich to be fully implemented, for example, allied bombings of Dresden and others would have been more danger prone. However, the lust for seeming all powerful and always winning resulted in political grabass being played to not put up "defence" because Germany should always attack.

 

The French fleet, complete destruction of the BEF, etc. So many failures.






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