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Report on King Tigers

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"HQ of the Commander of Artillery of the Red Army
1st Department
September 27th, 1944
#671654
Moscow

For the Commander of Artillery of the 2nd Ukrainian Front only

During battles of the 1st Ukrainian Front, it was determined that the enemy is using the new Tiger B "King Tiger" tank in infantry-tank counterattacks. Interrogations of prisoners and study of captured  Tiger B vehicles shows that this type of tank has the following characteristics:
  • Mass: 68 tons
  • Length:
    • With gun: 10.4 meters
    • Without gun: 7.5 meters
  • Width: 3.75 meters
  • Height with turret: 3.07 meters
  • Primary track width: 800 mm
  • Secondary track width: 660 mm
  • Clearance (front): 490 mm
  • Clearance (rear): 510 mm
  • Rear and side armour: 80 mm
  • Front armour: 180 mm
  • Roof armour: 40 mm
  • Armament: one 88 mm gun, two machineguns, one spare machinegun
  • Ammunition carried: 48 rounds

Tactical use of Tiger B tanks

An attacking group of 15-20 medium tanks is supported by a Tiger B superheavy tank. 

Superheavy Tiger B tanks are used in the first echelon of the attack or on the flanks of attacking infantry and tanks. The Tiger B tank opens fire at a short range (300-400 meters) when our artillery fires on the medium tanks, thus protecting them. Tiger B tanks attack anti-tank batteries frontally. When under fire, the tank retreats backwards, without exposing its thin sides.

The enemy has not used superheavy tanks in large concentrations. Prisoners report that Tiger B superheavy tanks are combined into battalions of 45 tanks each and are used to reinforce tank divisions as a means of suppressing and defeating anti-tank batteries.

Our methods of combat against the Tiger B

The most vulnerable parts of the Tiger B are the side, rear, and suspension which are easily penetrated by 57 and 76 mm subcaliber rounds from 600 meters or AP rounds from 400 meters. In order to combat these tanks effectively, you must:
  1. Organize ambushes of individual guns, tanks, or SPGs at a distance of 400-600 meters with the intention of striking a Tiger B in the side.
  2. Reinforce anti-tank artillery with 122 mm and 152 mm guns.
  3. Fire on concentrations of enemy tanks located in pre-battle positions or during marches with heavy massed fire of all artillery calibers up to 200 mm.
  4. Protect anti-tank positions from penetration by enemy infantry with defensive fire.
  5. Install opaque minefields in front of anti-tank positions as well as in between them.
Penetration of the Tiger B tank
Gun

Range

Ammunition

Shots fired

Shots hit

Result

Front hull

75 mm

120 m

Subcaliber

1

1

40 mm deep dent

75 mm

120 m

AP

1

1

50 mm deep dent

85 mm AA

120 m

AP

2

2

55 mm deep dent

Front turret

122 mm mod 1938

100 m

AP

3

3

Three dents: 40, 50, 120 mm

45 mm

100 m

Subcaliber

3

3

Three dents 30 mm deep

76 mm

100 m

Subcaliber

3

3

Three dents 115 mm deep

Hull and turret side

45 mm

300 m

Subcaliber

4

4

Four complete penetrations

57 mm

350 m

Subcaliber

2

2

Two complete penetrations

76 mm

400

Subcaliber

11

11

11 penetrations of them 9 directly in the hull and 2 through the suspension

122 mm mod 1938


AP

4

4

4 penetrations of the side

85 mm

350

AP

3

3

3 penetrations of the side

57 mm

350

HE

2

2

Two 55 mm deep dents in the side

57 mm

350

AP

2

2

Two complete penetrations

Conclusions:

Experience in firing at the Tiger B tank shows that the tank can be reliably penetrated in the side of the hull and turret from 400 meters from all types of weapons using the subcaliber or armour piercing round.

The front armour cannot be penetrated by guns up to the 122 mm howitzer inclusive. It is necessary to use more powerful guns (152 mm gun-howitzer or 122 mm gun) against heavy tanks.

In order to increase effectiveness of combat against the superheavy Tiger B tank and to capitalize on experience against them, the Commander of Artillery of the Red Army orders that:
  1. Preliminary information about the Tiger B and methods of combat against it must be delivered to commanders down to the platoon level inclusive.
  2. Report on all cases of encounters against these tanks or their capture to the Red Army Artillery HQ, including descriptions, diagrams, photos, etc.
  3. Study the tactics of the enemy and the most effective methods of used against them.
Chief of Staff of Artillery of the Red Army, Lieutenant-General Samsonov"


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