One German Tiger versus 50 Soviet T-34

Discussion in 'The War on Land' started by vashstampede, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. vashstampede Active Member

    On July 7, 1943, a lone German Tiger tank commanded by SS Oberscharfueherer Franz Staudegger from the 2nd Platoon, 13th Panzer Company, 1st SS Panzer Regiment engaged a group of about 50 Russian T-34 tanks in southern sector of the Battle of Kursk.

    Staudegger used up his entire ammunition supply and destroyed 22 Russian tanks. The remaining T-34 retreated.

    He became the first Tiger tank crewmen to be awarded the Knight's Cross. Even Hitler summoned him to Headqurters to give a detailed account of the tank battle.

    Does anyone know the detailed account of this tank battle? I am quite interested in it.
    Please provide a source if you know one. :)
    cavtrooper likes this.
  2. Susime New Member

    I've had a look around but can't find any more info to the story you described. It's a very interesting piece that I did not know about. Thanks for the read :)

    A similar instance was when Michael Wittmann engaged a British armoured column. He positioned his tank parallel to the column and proceeded to go slowly down the line shooting. In the space of 15 minutes 14 tanks, 15 personnel carriers & 2 anti-tank guns were destroyed.

    A testament to the power of the Tiger Tank in the hands of a good crew.
  3. vashstampede Active Member

    Positioned his tank parallel to the enemy column? Was the British column stuck and the individual tanks in the column were unable to turn around right on the spot? :)

    Well, if the Tiger was driving a parallel path to the road, then it exposes its side to the enemy fire. The side armor of Tiger is 80mm if I remember correctly, it is weaker than the frontal 100mm armor. I wouldn't expose my tank's side to the enemy if I can help it. :)

    By the way, from playing some tank simulation game called World of Tanks, I learned that tank drivers should always place the tank at a slight angle toward the enemy instead of facing enemy straight head on. Because that can create extra "slope" for your armor, and making your armor harder to penetrate.

    From real battles, it was known that Tiger frontal armor can be penetrated by the 76.5mm gun on T-34 at a few hundred meters range, but if the Tiger is facing the T-34 with a 30 degree angle, the T-34 will not penetrate the Tiger at any range... of course multiple T-34s can still try to flank the Tiger and achieve a side hit.
  4. Susime New Member

    I think it was shock & confusion which made for the dramatic destruction rates which Wittmann & his crew achieved that day. On Youtube there is a show posted Called "Tanks!". It tells the story of Wittmann through his career & goes into great detail about the encounter I said about in my previous post.

    Ahh, another World of Tanks player :D I absolutely love being able to play around with experimental tanks & it's educational too. I mean, I didn't even know about half the projected tanks in this game. Yes placing your tank at an angle to the enemy does give you a little more "protection" but not much, but it all depends on if the enemy knows where to hurt you ;)
  5. vashstampede Active Member

    Any idea what tanks were destroyed in that battle on the road?

    Tiger 1 was surely a beast for its time. There were more than a few dozens tank commanders of Tiger 1 got over 100 kills throughout the war. Although the skills do play a major role in there, the tank itself is the key factor for the high kill/death ratio. For all of the 1,300+ Tiger I produced, their average kill death ratio was over 5 to 1. Tiger II doubled that because of the 150mm frontal armor and the slope, while Tiger I had flat 100mm frontal armor.
    If only the Tiger I also had a large slope on their armor, they would be even more invincible.

    The WOT game does help us to understand many of the things we normally don't pay attention to when it comes to tank battles. The slope, the angle, the weak spots, etc.
  6. aghart Former Tank Commander


    They were Cromwell tanks of the British 7th Armoured Division, the famous "desert rats". There is still an ongoing debate as to why the performance of this formation in Normandy, "the most experienced tank formation in the British Army" was seemingly not at the same level as North Africa and Italy.
  7. Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    That particular incident happened just before the Battle of Prokhorovka. I can't find any detailed scholarly articles about it online, in either Russian or English. Can someone help?

    I am also not able to find much about Franz Staudegger. He died in 1991, in Frankfurt. Was he ever taken POW?
  8. ShamarV8 New Member

    All I found was that On 7 July 1943, a single Tiger I tank commanded by SS Oberscharfuehrer Franz Staudegger from the 2nd Platoon, 13th Panzer Company, 1st SS Panzer Regiment LSSAH engaged a Soviet group of some 50 T-34 tanks around Psyolknee in the southern sector of the Battle of Kursk. Staudegger used up his entire ammunition supply and destroyed 22 Soviet tanks, while the rest retreated. Also Staudegger ended the war in the 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion which was present at the Battle of Normandy in 1944 under the command of Michael Wittmann and was later involved in the Ardennes Offensive. Pretty vague but it's something. Hopefully someone cam come up with some more details because this seems pretty awesome.
  9. aghart Former Tank Commander

    Picture is of a Cromwell tank knocked out by Michael Wittman BUNDES~1.JPG
  10. Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Wittmann is regarded as one of the most successful and famous tank commanders during the World War II period. Unfortunately he died at the age of 30, during the Operation Totalize.
  11. Justyn Mendoza New Member

    It's seems like one of those Rambo moments. Staudegger beating all the odds. I'm not saying it's impossible. But It does seem a little far fetched. Especially with there being no substantial evidence of this encounter on either side. But then again there was a story of a sniper. I think they nick named him the ghost. He basically killed about 250 soldiers that were trying to invade his village. He was even shot in the face and survived. I couldn't believe this one either. But if it is true then the moral boost from such a victory would have been astounding concerning Staudegger.
  12. Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Justyn, exaggeration and over-hyping is a part of the military strategy. It helps to revive the morale of the troops. Don't know much about the Nazi strategy, but the Soviets used it quite effectively during the WW2.
  13. vashstampede Active Member

    There are certainly some over-hyper as a part of propaganda, I believe it is possible to achieve those kill/death ratio by the top aces. It is the matter of superior tank (Tiger vs Sherman and T-34), superior commander skill, plus some luck.

    When I was playing World of Tanks, my kill/death ratio in tank destroyer was over 6 to 1. And if wasn't for the fact each enemy tank require more than 3~4 shots to kill, they wouldn't even know what hit them before they are taken out. It is completely possible to achieve extremely high kill rate without getting killed if wasn't for the game detecting system which highlight your tank to red for the entire enemy team within range after you fired within just one enemy's visual range.

    Just make good use of your tank's strong point, in Tiger's case, the frontal armor, and the long range 88mm, as well as the superior optical. They could often detect enemy tanks and make a kill before enemy know where they are.
  14. blindwarrior Member

    Something else to consider however is that the high kill ratio might also be attributed to an abundance of targets. That's considered the main reason why there were a lot more Luftwaffe Aces than Allied ones.
  15. vashstampede Active Member

    It is harder to score if you have a lot more enemies targets than friendly. It takes skills and luck, and of course a superior tank to do the job.

    I also don't deny the fact it is harder to be an Ace if there are too few enemy targets for sharing among too many friendly units.

    But that doesn't change the fact it is much easier to die in the first situation.
    However in the air battles, you should also consider the fact allied air raids are mostly bombing campaigns. Shooting down German air craft is their secondary goal. While the defending Luftwaffe's primary objective is to shoot down enemy bombers. That might be the reason for Germans have more Ace.

    As for the tank battles, Germans had superior tanks. That is why most of their tank aces were commanding a Tiger tank.
  16. blindwarrior Member

    That's only true in the second half of the war, during the Battle of Britain and Barbarossa's initial stages, to name a few. The Germans were doing the bombing and the Allies were doing the defending.
  17. vashstampede Active Member

    Actually, the Germans were only on offensive for the first two years or so if I am not mistaken. Battle of Britain was ended within months. Russians went on offensive for four years before reached Berlin. Massive allies air raids against Germany lasted for at least two years.

    German air raids against allies were not so massive except for Battle of Britain. Thus, German pilots had a lot more opportunities to score kill on allies bombers than the other way around. Not saying it is easy though since Germans were greatly outnumbered and out-supplied.
  18. Diptangshu Member

    Absolutely correct.....lateron Luftwaffe were simply out numbered to Allied,ie.,Britain+US+Russian air force simply overwhelmed them.

    The devastation(airbourne) Allied shows on Germany simply unimaginable....

    I oftenly force to imagine that only 100 Roman soldiers were fighting with 10 hundred thousand inferior army having innumerable logistics and fresh personnel entries on regular basis.........fighting continued and....
  19. FMAlanbrooke New Member

    The Germans had more aces because they were in the war longer ( some haveing started in the Spanish Civil War) and because they did not have a rotation system for their pilots. Basically their pilots kept flying until they were dead or unable to fly any more. Allied pilots were supposed to fly a certain number of missions (which was always increasing) and then be rotated to a training position or given a rest of some sort. Earlier in the war there wasn't a specific number of missions to fly but a squadron leader would give his pilots a different job if he thought they were getting worn out/ too badly affected by "battle fatigue". This by the way is one of the reasons the Germans may have been winning the Battle of Britain when they switched to bombing London - the Germans had more experienced pilots flying than the British, so the replacement British pilots weren't living for very long.

    Micheale Wittman wasn't on his own when he shot up the reconnaisance colum of 7th Armourd division. There were five other tiger tanks of his unit involved. The Cromwell equipped the reconnaisance units of British armoured divisions because it had very high speed but not terribly good armour. His tank was disabled by a 6 pdr shot and this shows one of the weaknesses of the Tiger - Wittman then had to leave his tank behind as it was too heavy to be recovered unless you happend to have a 18 tonne half track nearby to retrieve it. Earlier in the war, it was the German's ability to recover and repair their tanks that often put the odds in their favour. The Tiger was originally designed to be about 16 tons lighter than it was fully loaded, so its engine was always under strain and it was not a reliable beast. The Tiger II had the same engine as the Tiger I but was 20 tons heavier. It also consumed an awful lot of fuel. So it was most often lost to mechanical failure (again it was too heavy to recover easily) or lack of fuel.

    Probably the 7th armoured division was not so effective because it was a veteran formation and veterans tend to be more cautious. Also it was used to working in wide open spaces, not the confines of the Bocage. If Wittman hadn't stopped them at Villiers Bocage we would be saying how effective the Destert Rats were as they were about to penetrate a hole in the German lines and get behind them when they were stopped. That was one of the great missed opportunities of the Normandy campaign.
  20. aghart Former Tank Commander


    True, however, 7th Armoured Division was the exception! The Cromwell was the Main Battle Tank of this Division, all the regiments had this vehicle, not just the recce units, no Churchill's no Shermans (except for the odd Firefly).

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