Military History/King Tiger Tanks
Dear Mr. Sutton,
My name is Kevin Vo. I am a student from T.H Rogers doing a research project. I have focused my project on Tiger 2 Tanks from WWII. I have a few questions I would like to ask you. I would like you to answer these questions by 2/25/15.
Q: Why was Tiger 2 made?
Q: Would the Tiger 2 be a good investment for the Naziís if not for the bombing of factories? If so explain.
Q: Was the Tiger 2 a cleverly designed tank? If so explain.
Q: Do you think the Tiger 2 made any changes to how the war was going?
Q: What do you think about the German production of Tiger Tank 2?
Q: Did the Tiger 2 stand a chance to the Sherman Firefly or IS tanks/
Q: Could the U.S M4 Sherman stand a chance in head to head combat against the Tiger 2?
Q: Why was the Tiger 2 designed the way it is?
Q: Which front was the Tiger Tank most effective on?
Q: Would the Naziís have won with enough Tiger 2?
Thank you for your time.
Question 1 answer
The Tiger 2 tank was built to incorporate lessons learned on the battlefield with the Tiger tank. The Tiger 2 or King Tiger had more armor to protect vital components and the King Tiger used slanted armor to give better protection. The King tiger was made in response to the Soviet use of the T-34 and KV series of tank. The King Tiger also used ideas learned from the Panther tank.
The King tTger was a very effective tank but it had major issues. One it was very expensive to make so even if the bombing of the German factories had stopped it would have been hard to build many. Two the King Tiger was slow and a gas guzzler. The Germans in 1944 and 1945 relied on gasoline made from coal and had very limited supplies The Tiger 1 and 2 were very poor users of this resources.
The Tiger 2 was a very well designed tank. It was an upgrade of the earlier Tiger1 so not a new design. The new armor and improvements to the gun and fire control help but German tanks were harder to maintain unlike the American Sherman and Soviet T-34.
The Tiger tank both 1 and 2 changed tank combat tactics. For the US and British it forced the development of better tank guns the 76.2 on the Sherman Firefly and the US development of the M-26 Pershing with a 90MM gun. The Soviets also developed the IS-2 tank with a 122mm gun to deal with the Tiger series. The Tiger series pushed the development of new anti tank weapon for infantry and the use of rockets on attack aircraft.
The German train industry was put in charge of build the tank for the Nazis. They were a poor choice. In contrast in the US the auto industry built tanks on very fast assembly lines. The Soviets also used car like assembly lines for building tanks. The German did build tank destroyers on fast assembly lines but tank were not fast in coming to the battlefield.
Compared to the IS-2 and the Firefly the Tiger 2 had a very good change. The Firefly had a very good gun but its armor lacked. The 88MM on the Tiger 2 also had longer range than the 76.2 on the Firefly. The US and Birtish mainly tired swarming tactics to get close and near the rear of the Tiger to destroy it. As to the IS-2 it came down to the better crew. The 122MM gun on the IS-2 was a slow loading weapon because it was a artillery weapon. So if a better crew could get into position a Tiger crew could kill a IS-2.
The Sherman was not in the same league as either Tiger model. Only in numbers could Sherman destroy a Tiger. In a one on one battle the Sherman would lose. But the US build 45,000 plus Sherman was the US could afford to lose 5 to 10 tanks for every Tiger killed. Also the standard tactic was to use tank destroyers against other tanks. The M36 Tank Destroyer with its 90MM was a very effective tank killer
The Tiger 2 was designed to give the crew better protection and survive longer on the Battlefield. The sloped armor meant that enemy tanks had to get close to a Tiger 2 to kill it. That was not easy since the 88MM gun on tiger had such long range and had a very good targeting system for the day.
The King Tier was more effective on the western front due it dominance over the Sherman tank, Most Tiger 2 tanks were used on the eastern front to deal with the heavy Soviet tanks.
No the Nazis would not have won. The Tiger series made tank warfare harder for the allies but if the German managed to build more the Allies would have speed up their improved the M-26 and IS-2. Once these got on the battlefield in numbers with air power the Tiger was in trouble. Even if the Tiger managed to halt the Allies advance into summer 1945 the US would have used nuclear weapons on Germany. Also more Tiger 2 tanks meant less fuel for other army machines.
I have included some links that might also help.
I hope this helps and Thank you