By Christopher W. Wilbeck
The Tiger and King Tiger tanks won mythical prestige in the course of international struggle II. a variety of tank commanders attained exceptional tallies of kills and entire remarkable feats in the course of strive against in those tanks, development the legend to close mythic proportions after the struggle. in the course of WWII, the Germans created 11 military and 3 Waffen-SS heavy tank battalions. those heavy tank battalions have been hired in approximately the whole lot of Europe opposed to virtually each enemy of Germany. As big in breadth and scope because the employment of Tiger battalions themselves, Sledgehammers offers old examples and research of heavy tank battalions’ activities in North Africa, Normandy, Italy, the Ardennes Offensive, and diverse battles at the jap entrance together with Operation ZITADELLE/the conflict of Kursk, Operation BAGRATION, the conflict of the Cherkassy Pocket, past due struggle assaults to alleviate Budapest, and plenty of different extra minor engagements. even supposing very much has already been released approximately Tiger tanks’ technical info and a few of the devices which used them, previously, little or no has been written in regards to the association and tactical employment of those tanks through the German defense force and around the theaters within which they have been hired. Sledgehammers presents an in-depth examine heavy tank battalions’ agencies and strategies, together with the tactical doctrine in which those elite devices have been presupposed to struggle and the way they have been truly hired at the battlefield by means of their commanders and crews. Even given the Tiger’s recognition, many readers can be surprised by means of the fearsome casualties inflicted by way of the crews of a lot of those behemoth armored autos. it's secure to assert that no different armored automobile of the battle wreaked as a lot havoc between enemy formations as Tigers. Many will, although, additionally locate it both lovely to profit of the Tigers’ many technical and tactical vulnerabilities. in the course of the systematic use of tremendous special basic resource and different impeccably trustworthy study, Sledgehammers demolishes numerous significant myths approximately Tigers in global warfare II. Meticulously researched and written with the point of view and recognize for Tigers' crews that just a specialist tanker can deliver to the topic, Sledgehammers synthesizes info to supply new and definitive insights into the strengths and flaws of global struggle II’s so much feared and mythical tanks. Prologue via famed Tiger ace Otto Carius. Epilogue by way of Tiger killers Viktor Iskrov and Ray Holt. 35 unique maps. forty two pictures.
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Additional info for Sledgehammers: Strengths and Flaws of Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II
It contained only two sections covering (1) p u r p o s es, tasks, a n d organization; a n d (2) e m p l o y m e n t . Portions of the first section included doctrinal a n d tactical guidance such as: T h e weapons a n d a r m o r in c o m b i n a t i o n with the high maneuverability make the Tiger the strongest c o m b a t w e a p o n of the Panzerwaffe (Tank/ 33 HEAVY TANK BATTALION OVERVIEW A r m o r b r a n c h ) . T h e Tiger battalion is therefore a powerful, decisive point w e a p o n in the h a n d s of the t r o o p c o m m a n d e r .
As a result of the emphasis placed u p o n this theater by Hitler, OKH ordered Heavy Tank Battalion 501 to N o r t h Africa. T h e first elements landed in Bizerte, Tunisia, on 23 N o v e m b e r 1942. Because of Allied pressure on the p o r t s a n d airfields in Tunisia, elements of the battalion formed p a r t of an ad h o c C o m b a t G r o u p immediately u p o n disembarkation, fighting their first action on 1 D e c e m b e r 1942. Heavy Tank Battalion 501 engaged in m i n o r counterattacks until 17 March 1943.
Similarly vague a n d obvious guidance of "timely deployment . . a n d close cooperation with these (the engineer p l a t o o n ) to d e t e r m i n e a n d clear m i n e s a n d obstacles are necessary" was included for the engineer p l a t o o n . 116 117 T h e General Inspector of A r m o r e d Troops published an instruction p a m phlet for a r m y - a n d corps-level c o m m a n d e r s to guide t h e m in the correct e m p l o y m e n t of the heavy tank battalion. T h e p a m p h l e t , organized into 25 points, stated vaguely that all guidance was based u p o n the characteristics of the Tiger a n d the p u r p o s e for which it was created.