Friday, February 04, 2005

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Panzer - Well, last day here at Tiger Week and why not finish off with one of the more well known photos of the giant, this one from the 101'st SS heavy tank battalion on its way to the front in Normandy.

A lot of the Tiger's strenght came from the myth of invincibility surrounding it. At the time the first Tigers arrived on the battlefields none of the allied tanks in service could confront a Tiger on equal terms.
One way was to try and get as close to the Tiger as possible and then fire from point-blank range, but that usually meant the Tiger got the allied tank first.
Allied soldiers quickly realised that the presence of Tigers on a battlefield could mean certain death and in their minds every German tank became a Tiger.

Later on more powerfull anti tank weapons were part of the allied arsenal, but often the least suicidal way to stop a Tiger was to surround it with four or five allied tanks and try to get shots through it's thinner side or rear armour.
Facing the crack units of the SS heavy tank battalion's in Normandy only added to the myth of the invincible Tiger, and in one legendary incident in the small Normandy town of Villers-Bocage (scroll to the bottom of the page) a handfull of Tigers destroyed twenty British tanks and several other vehicles in just five minutes.

Eventually the Tigers were beaten by attacks from airplanes like the rocket equipped Hawker Typhoons or they simply fell victim to the major problem of the German war effort in the last year of WW II - fuel shortages.

Babe - "Sorry, just came to read the meter..."
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