Posts Tagged ‘Tiger’

The Most Important Panzer in the German Wehrmacht of WW2

November 17, 2009

During WW2 the German Army (Heer) had revolutionized the use of armored warfare by using their “panzers” to concentrate a large number of units to strike a spearhead through the enemy’s defensive lines. Much of armored combat tactics, prior to the invasion of Poland in 1939, had used the tanks sparingly spread out across wide lines making them ineffective. With the added use of the Luftwaffe (Air Force) to attack ground based targets and support the German panzers, the “Blitzkrieg” (Lightning War) was conceived. Now having said all that about the “Blitzkrieg”, the panzers were of course used in a defensive manner.

firefly sherman tank

Sherman Easy 8 tee

Russian Red Army Tanks

Kv-1 World War II Russian Red Army Tanks

Sherman Tank

Sherman Tank

As the war turned in favor of the Allies, the Germans started defending the territory they had gained, then subsequently lost and eventually had to defend the “Fatherland” of Germany itself.  So, I beg the question…what was the single most valuable panzer tank used by the Germans during World War 2? We all know of the terrifying Tiger 1 and the Panther, but what of the Panzer I, II, III or IV? Let’s start with the Pzkpfw VI…the “Tiger”.

  • The Tiger made a psychological impact on the morale of the enemy due to its long range deadly 88mm gun and the heavy frontal armor (120mm), which made it seem indestructible. The Tiger was too massive at 56 tons and no sloping armor like the Panther tank which allowed the weight to be much lower. Only about 1350 produced, but started in 1942 and the majority late in the war… too late and too expensive.
  • German Panzer 4

    German Panzer 4

  • The Panther was considered the greatest tank the Germans had by many historians, but the initial action was mired by mechanical breakdowns and fires. After those bugs were worked out the Panther went on to have about 6,557 tanks produced. The Panther had better frontal armor than the Tiger, due to the sloping, and was faster and handled bad terrain better as it was much lighter at 44 tons.  The Panther had its debut at the Battle of Kursk in 1943 starting with 84 working Panthers. Within two days, the number of operational Panthers had dropped to 40 due to breakdowns and enemy action. From then on the Panther was always outnumbered and never had the chance to really make a significant impact.
    Panther Tank
    Jagdpanther Tank

    Jagdpanther Tank

  • The Panzer IV production was just under the III’s with 13,522, it was the only tank to be manufactured during the entirety of the war. The Panzerkampfwagen IV started off with a 50mm gun, then had to match the Soviet threat from the T-34‘s and KV-1’s that were being seen in 1941 for the first on the Eastern front and had to upgrade to the 75mm gun. The Panzerkampfwagen IV was and all around “workhorse” for the Germans and was in many of the major skirmishes in all theaters of operations.
  • Panzer IV Wwii German Panzer 4 Tiger Tanks

    Panzer IV Wwii German Panzer 4 Tiger Tanks

  • The Pzkpfw III’s had 16,409 produced but were medium tanks that kept getting firepower upgrades to keep up with the Soviet tanks like the T-34.The I and II’s had a significant impact in the early stages, but were quickly over-matched by the T-34’s.
Stalingrad ww2 russian tank panzer mark 4

Stalingrad ww2 russian tank panzer mark 4 be repulsed by Russian infanrty

My vote would go to the Pzkpfw IV for the most important tank to the Germans in World War 2. The Panzerkampfwagen IV was much like the Allies’ Sherman or the T-34 tanks, where huge numbers overwhelmed the high quality, low quantity German panzers.  The Panzer IV was improved with each version, except near the end of the war, where resources were limiting performance enhancements. Had the Germans “cranked” out more of the IV’s, they would have had more spare parts, lower costs, higher rate of production and just more tanks to wage war.


German WW2 Panzer IV Tank T Shirt

July 19, 2009

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I really like the U.S. Army intelligence report diagrams of the German armor that were captured during WW2.  They have a cartoonish quality about them, but they are still very accurate.  They remind me of the instructions of the plastic scale tank models that I used to build as a kid.  I really loved the Monogram model kits with the Shepard Paine diorama instructions.  The box had the pictures of  Shep’s diorama on them and I would take the box tops and tape them on the walls in my room as they were real art to me.   Here’s a link to his site with the diorama tip sheets:  Of course I still build models (dioramas) now as an adult.  Some of the model kits that I built as a kid were some of the cheapest and worst detailed kits, but as a kid I loved them and built them as quick as possible.  I have an old Aurora Panther tank in 1/48 scale that I think I will “speed build” the next time I sit down at my table…here’s a pic:

Panzer Tank Modelling Workshop

Achtung Bill's Panzer Tank Modelling Workshop

Panzer Tank Modelling Workshop 3

Achtung Bill's Panzer Tank Modelling Workshop 2

I decided to make another t shirt using this Panzer 4 diagram that illustrates the Panzer IV’s armor thickness.  Here’s a pic of the Panzer 4 t shirt:

Panzer IV WW2 German Panzer 4 Tank

Panzer IV WW2 German Panzer 4 Tanks

Panzer IV WW2 German Panzer 4 Tank Tee Shirt WH on BK

Panzer IV WW2 German Panzer 4 Tank Tee Shirt WH on BK

As always you can see this t shirt at my store Achtung T Shirt.


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Tiger Tank Diagram T Shirt

April 12, 2009

I found this diagram of the Tiger 1, panzerkampfwagen 6, and decided to make a t shirt based on it.  I think that it is the U.S. army intelligence manual on the Tiger that were captured from the Germans in World War 2.  It has the dimensions of all the major components such as the armor thickness at the turret, the mantle, glacis plate, the 88mm gun, machine guns, etc.  The diagram refers to the Tiger tank as a “Heavy Tank–PzKw 6”, not the Tiger as we all know it by.  As always you can buy this shirt from my ebay store: Achtung T Shirt.   Here’s a pic:



world of tanks t shirt

Tiger Iron Cross t shirt

New 88mm FlaK Gun tee is ready!

April 12, 2009

Well I have finally finished the 88mm Flak Gun t shirt that I mentioned in the last post.  I was very busy last week with multiple orders coming in from Australia and France.  I had my favorite French tank lover, Jean-Luc, order 6 tee’s from me.  I think he has ordered everything from the Stuka Ju-87 to the Jagdpanther tee and now he can get the 88mm Flak Gun tee.  This new design is of course the “Dreaded 88” that the British so named during the Afika campaign.  The design is a basic one and a good first entry into the stable of other German World War II weapons.


More about the “Dreaded 88” artillery flak gun:

The German forces employed the 88 extensively in World War II, not only in its original role as an anti-aircraft gun, where it performed well, but also as an anti-tank gun.

The German Condor Legion made extensive use of the FlaK 88 in the Spanish Civil War, where its usefulness as an anti-tank weapon and a general artillery piece exceeded its role as an anti-aircraft weapon. Erwin Rommel also used the 88 as an anti-tank weapon, first in France and later in North Africa. His timely use of the gun to blunt the British counterattack at Arras ended any hope of a breakout from the blitzkrieg encirclement of May 1940. In Libya and Egypt, he lured British tanks into traps by baiting them with apparently retreating panzers. When the British pursued, concealed 88s picked them off at ranges far beyond those of the 2-pdr and 6-pdr guns of the British tanks. The British 8th Army eventually learned to coordinate their heavy artillery with their ground advances, destroying the relatively immobile 88s in their emplacements once they revealed their positions.

The weapon saw continuous use on the Soviet Front. The appearance of the outstanding T-34 shocked the German tank crews, whose 37 mm and 50 mm tank guns could only penetrate the Soviet tank’s armour at extremely close range.

The less open terrain in Italy and Northern France was less suitable for the 88. The success of the 88 caused the Allies to take steps to defend against it in new tank design. Stopgap measures included adding more armour, or even using sandbags, to try to defeat the 88’s projectiles. The Germans took advantage of this effective design in the armament of vehicles such as the Tiger tank and the Elefant tank destroyer (with an 88 mm Pak 43/2 anti-tank gun).

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