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Tiger Manual

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"
Translated from German.
Supreme Command of the Land Forces
4300/43 Secret
October 30th, 1943

Combat training instruction #14
Usage of PzKpfw VI Tiger tanks

Rules were composed based on summarized experience of units that used the PzKpfw VI Tiger tank in recent battles.

1. Vulnerability of the tank

The frequently displayed opinion about the invulnerability of the PzKpfw VI is a mistake, and often leads to improper use of the Tiger tank, which causes excessive losses.


The PzKpfw VI can be penetrated by the Russian long barreled 76.2 mm gun at a favourable angle from the following distances:
  • From the front at 500 meters.
  • From the side and rear at 1500 meters.
According to Russian data, the Tiger can be penetrated by:

Weapon

Ammunition

Front

Side

Rear

45 mm gun mod. 37

Subcaliber

-

200 m

200 m

45 mm gun mod. 42

Subcaliber

-

500 m

500 m

57 mm gun

Subcaliber

500 m



Armour piercing

-

600 m

600 m

76 mm AA gun

Subcaliber

700 m



Armour piercing


500 m

500 m

76 mm gun

Subcaliber

100 m

700 m

700 m

85 mm AA gun

Armour piercing

-

1000 m

1000 m

122 mm gun

Armour piercing

1000 m

1500 m

1500 m

152 mm gun-howitzer

Armour piercing

500 m

1000 m

1000 m



Even massed fire from all weapons (including light infantry weapons) can reduce the combat value of a Tiger, even if in most cases the thick armour is not penetrated, vulnerable parts can be damaged (suspension, gun, turret, optic sights).

2. Concentration in the direction of the main attack

The rule to use tanks in massed formations applies to the Tiger as well. A Tiger attack only had chances of success if all Tigers are concentrated in the direction of the main attack and all guns, especially artillery, support the attack. Spreading Tigers out over a large area reduces available technical support, which is especially valuable for such a complicated and technically sensitive fighting vehicles. A battalion of Tigers only has one repair company and one battalion for recovery of trophies.

3. Cooperation with infantry

It is important to take the following factors into account when using Tigers:

  • Thanks to its powerful gun and thick armour, the Tiger should be used to suppress tanks and AT guns, and only used to suppress infantry as an exception. Its power is focused in its gun, which can suppress tanks from a range up to 2000 meters.
    The conclusion is that Tigers support infantry by fighting enemy tanks and AT guns from a long range. Tigers must aim to engage from a range of over 1000 meters.
  • The Tiger weighs a lot and has a high ground pressure. Thorough preliminary reconnaissance of terrain is important. The use of Tigers on terrain that has not been scouted out is usually ineffective and leads to loss of valuable vehicles.
    Reconnaissance must be performed regarding crossings over water hazards, bridges, and paths through swamps.
    The rule to calculate if a Tiger can cross terrain is as follows: check if a soldier with an extra load can stand on one foot and does not sink into the ground.
  • Tigers cannot hide from enemy observation. According to experience, the Russians destroy individual Tigers with massed fire from all weapons.
    Advancing infantry must keep a certain distance away from the Tigers so it does not suffer from fire aimed at the Tiger.
  • Tigers fire from prepared positions, determined by terrain. Positions should be well camoulflaged. For long range guns, it is immaterial if the position is 100 meters closer or 100 meters further from the target.
    Tigers must have freedom to select a firing position according to terrain. They don't have to be bound to the infantry. While the Tiger stands still, the infantry must move forward under its protection. When the Tiger is moving up, infantry supports it with fire from its weapons.
  • The Tiger is invulnerable to mines. Mostly they deal insignificant damage that can only be exacerbated by enemy fire. Tigers that are immobilized are very hard to tow into cover due to their heavy weight. 
  • The commander's cupola on the left side reduces visibility to the right and creates a dead zone, creating a danger of being knocked out from close range. Every Bolshevik that destroys a Tiger in close combat is mentioned in an operative summary of his unit.
    It is unreasonable to send one Tiger into combat. Tiger tanks must cooperate with infantry and other tanks to protect them from tank destroyer teams.

Carefully study all proposals and suggestions from masters of their weapons, the Tiger commanders, about the use of the PzKpfw VI.

Signed for: Zeitzler
Confirmed accurate: General Staff Colonel Zerbel

Translated by: Captain Eskina
January 28th, 1944"

CAMD RF 500-12480-137

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