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"Vulnerability of Tiger Tanks" from Tactical and Technical Trends

U.S. translation of a WWII article from the Soviet Artillery Journal giving instructions for using anti-tank weapons against the German Tiger tank, Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 40, Dec. 16, 1943. At the time of publication, U.S. forces had only sporadically encountered the Tiger tank in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


An article recently published in the Soviet Artillery Journal gave detailed instructions for the use of antitank weapons against the German Tiger tank. Vulnerability of various parts of the tank was cited in connection with directions for attack. The accompanying sketch shows vulnerable points and indicates weapons to be used against them. Material concerning the vulnerability of German tanks was published in Tactical and Technical Trends No. 8, p. 46 and No. 11, p. 28. Detailed information about the Tiger tank was published in Tactical and Technical Trends No. 34, p. 13.

A translation of the Soviet Artillery Journal article follows:

"The mobility of tanks depends upon the proper functioning of the suspension parts — sprocket (small driving wheel), idler (small wheel in the rear), wheels and tracks. All of these parts are vulnerable to shells of all calibers. A particularly vulnerable part is the sprocket.

"Fire armor-piercing shells and HE shells at the sprocket, the idler and the tracks. This will stop the tank. Fire at the wheels with HE shells. Also, when attacking a tank, use AT grenades and mines. If movable mines are used, attach three or four of them to a board and draw the board, by means of a cord or cable, into the path of an advancing tank.

[German Tiger Panzer VI: Vulnerability of German Tiger Tank]

"There are two armor plates on each side of the tank. The lower plate is partly covered by the wheels. This plate protects the engine and the gasoline tanks which are located in the rear of the hull, directly beyond and over the two rear wheels.

"Fire at the lower plates with armor-piercing shells from 76-, 57- and 45-mm guns. When the gasoline tanks are hit, the vehicle will be set on fire. Another method of starting a fire within the tank is to pierce the upper plates on the sides of the tank, thus reaching the ammunition compartments and causing an explosion.

"The rear armor plate protects the engine as well as giving additional protection to the gasoline tanks. Shells from AT guns, penetrating this armor, will disable the tank.

"The turret has two vision ports and two openings through which the tankís crew fire their weapons. The commanderís small turret has five observation slits. There are two sighting devices on the roof of the front of the tank, one for the driver, the other for the gunner. Also, in the front of the tank there is a port with a sliding cover.

"The turret is a particularly important and vulnerable target. Attack it with HE and armor-piercing shells of all calibers. When it is damaged, use AT grenades and incendiary bottles (Molotov cocktails).

"There is a 10-mm slit all around the base of the turret. AT gun and heavy machine-gun fire, effectively directed at this slit, will prevent the turret from revolving and thus seriously impair the tank's field of fire. Furthermore, hits by HE shell at the base of the turret may wreck the roof of the hull and put the tank out of action.

"The tankís air vents and ventilators are under the perforations in the roof of the hull, directly behind the turret. Another air vent is in the front part of the roof, between the two observation ports used by the radio operator and the driver. Use AT grenades and incendiary bottles against these vents.

"Explode antitank mines under the tank to smash the floor and put the tank out of action."

Accompanying sketch shows vulnerable points and indicates weapons to be used against them.

See Also: Notes on Tiger Tanks in the Battle for Florence, German Heavy Tank — PzKw 6, German Tiger Tank in Allied Intelligence, New German Heavy Tank
Keywords: Tiger I, Panzerkampfwagen VI, Panzer VI

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