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King Tiger Penetration Trials

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"10th Tarnopol Order of Lenin Independent Guards Tank Destroyer Brigade
September 3rd, 1944
#0302

To: Commander of artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Colonel General of Artillery, Barentsov
CC: Commander of artillery of the 13th Army, Commander of artillery of the 5th Guards Army

I report that on September 1st and 2nd, 1944, I performed penetration trials against the "T-B King Tiger" tank using 57 and 76 mm guns, a 57 mm SPG, an 85 mm gun on a SU-85, and a 152 mm gun-howitzer on an ISU.

Results of penetration trials:
Range

Type of ammunition

Location of impact

Results

57 mm gun

300

AP

Front

2 hits. No penetration, ricochet. Scoop depth 30 mm.

150

AP

Front, turret side

2 hits on a turret side, complete penetration.

1 hit on the front. Ricochet. Scoop depth 20 mm.

200

AP

Side

Sloped side penetrated completely.

300

APCR

Front

2 hits on the front part. Ricochet. Scoop depth 20 mm.

1 hit on the gun mantlet. Penetration depth 140 mm.

150

APCR

Front, turret side

2 complete penetrations of the turret side.

2 ricochets off the front. Scoop depth 20 mm.

200

APCR

Side

1 hit to the front of the turret at an angle. Penetration depth 110 mm

57 mm SPG

600

AP

Side

3 complete penetrations of the vertical side armour. 2 ricochets from the side of the turret. Scoop depth 20 mm.

76 mm gun

500

AP

Side

3 hits. No complete penetrations. Penetration depth 60 mm.

200

AP

Side

10 hits to the sloped side. No complete penetrations. Penetration depth 60 mm.

300

APCR

Side

2 penetrations of the vertical side and 2 penetrations of the running gear.

400

APCR

Side

2 penetrations of the sloped side.

600

APCR

Side

3 ricochets off the turret side.

200

APCR

Side

3 complete penetrations of the vertical side armour.

400

HE

Running gear

A road wheel was destroyed.

85 mm SPG

450

AP

Side

4 complete penetrations of the sloped side armour.

250

AP

Front , turret side

2 complete penetrations of the turret side. 3 ricochets of the front. Scoop depth 60 mm.

152 mm gun

450

HEAT*

Side

1 complete penetration of the sloped side. A 70 cm wide breach that spanned through the plate forms. The recoil mechanisms inside the tank are smashed.

1200

HEAT*

Turret side and running gear

1 complete penetration of the turret side.

2 hits to the running gear, 2 road wheels destroyed.



Penetration trials show that:
  1. The front armour is impervious for the 57 and 76 mm guns, 57 mm SPG, and the SU-85 SPG.
    From the front of the tank, the vulnerable parts are the tracks and gun barrel, assuming the shell hits the barrel directly and not the gun mantlet.
    The layout of the turret changed compared to the T-6, which makes the front nearly invulnerable.
    Not a single penetration was made with the 57 mm, 76 mm, and 85 mm self propelled guns against the front armour. The shells ricochet, making a scoop 50-60 mm deep.
    Out of the 5 hits with AP and APCR ammunition, not a single penetration was scored. Firing was done from 150-300 meters.
  2. The side of the tank is vulnerable to the 57 mm gun from 600 meters if using APCR, 400-500 if using AP. The upper side armour is impenetrable for 76 mm AP: out of 8 hits there was not a single penetration. Firing was done from 150-250 meters.
    The 76 mm APCR shot penetrates the side from up to 400 meters.
    The 57 mm SPG gun penetrates both the upper and lower side from 600 m or closer.
    Penetration against the turret side is identical to penetration of the side armour.
The running gear is the most vulnerable part of the tank. Fire at a range of up to 600 meters with 57 mm caliber or higher guns is effective. As the tank has two rows of wheels, hitting the wheels will jam them and the tank will be unable to move.

The most effective weapon against the "T-B" tank is the 57 mm gun, 57 mm SPG, SU-85 SPG. Fire of the 76 mm ZIS-3 gun is the least effective. 

After the enemy adopted the "T-6" and "T-B" tanks into service, it is necessary to introduce high caliber 85 mm guns and larger into tank destroyer brigades instead of 76 mm guns. Needless to say, with higher caliber weapons the mobility of tank destroyer brigades will decrease, but the strength of defense will increase.

Experience in offensive and defensive operations shows that the maneuverability of guns and batteries in the first line of defense is impossible as the artillery takes heavy losses in men, materiel, and cars and the objectives are not achieved.

Chiefly manueuvers are performed by reserve regiments or brigades that are deployed in directions where the enemy is likely to send tanks.

The introduction of a self propelled gun regiment into the brigade will help with combat against "T-6" and "T-B" heavy tanks.

Commander of the 10th Tarnopol Order of Lenin Independent Guards Tank Destroyer Brigade, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Bazplenko"





* 152 mm HEAT was not available at this time. Special anti-tank ammunition for the 152 mm gun-howitzer was a sharp tipped AP shell.

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