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Can 20 Sherman tanks defeat 10 Tigers?ūüßź

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The Sherman Firefly had the right caliber to shoot a tiger, but it only survived if it shot first. The rest of the tank was exactly inferior to a normal Sherman.

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Depends on which version of a sherman, and also the tactical/situation is in the encounter. Can guarante a normal 75mm sherman can take out 5 or more tigers if they rumble across and shows their sides to the sherman, frontally its a different story. Sherman jumbo with the 76mm gun would however be even to a tiger armour and gun wise. Then we have the late war models but shall not ramble on :P

Good video there and from how it was played out its a plausible outcome. Much fun seeing it and entertaining and was tense to watch.:D

Edited by judgedeath3

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I found that the video was interesting, and quite entertaining¬†ūü§Ē

Edited by SCG_Slater
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What I wonder is: How many times during the war were the Germans actually able to field 10 Tigers in one place at one time against British/American forces? 

 

I know they were concentrated in the Schwerer Panzerabteilungs, but pretty much all combat accounts I've read feature at most a handful of Tigers. 

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I depends on what you mean by "one place", but I would expect that during the fighting near Caen in Normandy, when almost all the German armour in the west was concentrated opposite the British and Canadian forces, there were probably occasions when a heavy tank battalion was able to field 10 or so Tigers or Tiger IIs.  Similarly during the first day or so of the Ardennes offensive, the German armour concentration would have been able to achieve this. 

 

On both occasions the Germans were in a static position long enough to build up the numbers: it was movement that wrecked the Tigers' serviceability rates. 

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1 hour ago, Finkeren said:

What I wonder is: How many times during the war were the Germans actually able to field 10 Tigers in one place at one time against British/American forces? 

 

I know they were concentrated in the Schwerer Panzerabteilungs, but pretty much all combat accounts I've read feature at most a handful of Tigers. 

I haven't checked my sources, but I believe that American armor literally engaged Tigers around 3 times during liberation of France that's how rare they were. 10 Tigers sounds like a stretch at least for Americans but its possible the Brits and Canadians saw more of them. I'm sure Ardennes must've achieved 10 Tigers but who knows. Probably the only time it was possible.

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10 hours ago, namhee2 said:

The Sherman Firefly had the right caliber to shoot a tiger, but it only survived if it shot first. The rest of the tank was exactly inferior to a normal Sherman.


Well... first shot. Was't that generaly one of the most important thing in tank combat?

Anyway, in this scenario it is mutual. The 17pdr has the power to destroy Tiger and so the 88mm to destory the Sherman.
So I would bet on 20 Fireflies just because the superrior firepower.

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1 hour ago, Fliegel said:


So I would bet on 20 Fireflies just because the superrior firepower.

 

I would bet on 10 tigers for their superior accuracy. The 17 pounder was not an accurate gun at combat ranges (1000 meters) where the 88mm kwk43 L71 was known for its flat and accurate trajectory. While the 17 pounder at a 1000 meters would be taking several shots hoping a discarding sabot shell connects, the 88 generally at those ranges is usually on the money.

Edited by bzc3lk

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6 minutes ago, bzc3lk said:

where the 88mm kwk43 L71 was known for its flat and accurate trajectory.

However the Tiger I was equipped with the 8.8cm KwK36/L56. The L71 was the gun, the Tiger II was equipped with.

But you are right, the 88mm gun, especially, as the late war Tiger I had a new gunsight with additional 5x zoom, unless the one we have in game with only 2.5x, the Tiger has on larger distances surely quite some advantages. But the Shermans, with their speed advantage, certainly would close the distance, to get better shots. 

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At the engagement ranges shown in the video, the overall accuracy, trajectory or sight magnification of the tanks shouldn't really matter. Distances here seem to be less than 1000m, which means that neither tank would have trouble killing the other from any angle. In that case it gives a massive advantage to the side with twice the number of gun barrels and twice the number of eyes looking out for targets - unless they do what they do in the video and advance with the entire force line abreast across an open field right into the fire from the mostly stationary Tigers in hull-down position.

 

The way the Firefly was usually deployed was as a sniper taking out the German tanks from a concealed stationary position, while the other tanks of the platoon drew the German fire. Fireflys should not be advancing en masse like that. 

Edited by Finkeren

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4 hours ago, Torrens said:

I haven't checked my sources, but I believe that American armor literally engaged Tigers around 3 times during liberation of France that's how rare they were. 10 Tigers sounds like a stretch at least for Americans but its possible the Brits and Canadians saw more of them. I'm sure Ardennes must've achieved 10 Tigers but who knows. Probably the only time it was possible.

 

The British and Canadians absolutely saw more of them in Normandy: they engaged Tigers almost every day during the Normandy campaign. Schwere SS Panzer Abteilungs 101 and 102 were attached to I.SS Pz Corps opposite Monty's lot. Additionally 503 (non-SS) was 5th Army reserve. So that is 100+ Tigers on the British/Canadian Sector: initially. Not so many by the end.... 

 

Taking a quick glance through  Schneider's "Tigers in Combat" [essential reference if you want a day be day account with numbers]  it is generally the case that the Germans deployed their Tigers in company strength: this is an establishment of 13, but typical mentions in the text are from 4-8 tanks - the number declining as the campaign went on as you would expect.

 

For the Ardennes, again the Germans started with a full strength Tiger battalion, but I can see no mention of significant armour vs armour clashes involving Tigers.

 

      

Edited by unreasonable
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The Tiger in my opinion, only had one weakness, the underpowered engine. With a more powerful engine I’m sure a lot of the issues would be solved. 

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4 hours ago, SCG_Slater said:

The Tiger in my opinion, only had one weakness, the underpowered engine. With a more powerful engine I’m sure a lot of the issues would be solved. 

 

The main problem of the Tiger was its weight, which caused a host of logisticsl issues that simply wasn't worth it. The Tiger had very few shortcommings once in combat. The problems mainly had to do with getting it to where it needed to be. 

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Would also claim another disadvantage was how much it costed to produce and the time it took to make, plus with the logistical side of fuel and like you said Finkeren: Getting it somewhere and then the issue with lack of spare parts.

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11 hours ago, bzc3lk said:

 

I would bet on 10 tigers for their superior accuracy. The 17 pounder was not an accurate gun at combat ranges (1000 meters) where the 88mm kwk43 L71 was known for its flat and accurate trajectory. While the 17 pounder at a 1000 meters would be taking several shots hoping a discarding sabot shell connects, the 88 generally at those ranges is usually on the money.


The combat distance was around 600m on the West front as far as I know.
I did not mean armour piercing discart sabot (the problem with sabot separation were solved by different muzzle brake, after which precision improved a bit) as those were rare anyway. Just APCBC.
And I think that the difference between accuracy of the 88mm kwk 36 and the 17pdr mark IV is neglitible. The 17pdr has higher muzzle velocity than the 88mm so it probably has pretty flat trajectory too (again, APCBC). Even though it is often mentioned that at extreme ranges it wasn't that accurate as US 76 (no idea why or details, just saw some US report once).

 

12 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

But the Shermans, with their speed advantage, certainly would close the distance, to get better shots. 


I'm not sure if the Firefly really had any speed advantage. It was heavier than normal Sherman and Tiger wasn't that slow. I mean - I think it was little bit faster actualy. And definetly could climb better as were better at going trough obstacles than the Sherman.

I just think that sitting back and snipe the Tigers could work for Fireflies. And with 2 to 1 ratio, if every hit counts, the chances could be good.



 

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10 hours ago, unreasonable said:

 

The British and Canadians absolutely saw more of them in Normandy: they engaged Tigers almost every day during the Normandy campaign. Schwere SS Panzer Abteilungs 101 and 102 were attached to I.SS Pz Corps opposite Monty's lot. Additionally 503 (non-SS) was 5th Army reserve. So that is 100+ Tigers on the British/Canadian Sector: initially. Not so many by the end.... 

 

Taking a quick glance through  Schneider's "Tigers in Combat" [essential reference if you want a day be day account with numbers]  it is generally the case that the Germans deployed their Tigers in company strength: this is an establishment of 13, but typical mentions in the text are from 4-8 tanks - the number declining as the campaign went on as you would expect.

 

For the Ardennes, again the Germans started with a full strength Tiger battalion, but I can see no mention of significant armour vs armour clashes involving Tigers.

 

      

Would be interesting to see how many of those +100 Tigers were fit for frontline action and how many were unable to attend due to breakdowns ect.

 

Brits and Commonwealth were pretty well equipped against Tigers too. I stood infront of a Firefly tank in Danzing, Poland few years ago and that 17 pounder gun is like a big ole telephone pole when you stand under it. Very intimidating machine when it towers ower you.

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Its huge yes and in performance quite close to the Tiger I¬īs 88mm gun, theres a reason why the german tank commanders tried to take them out first as they were deadly in battle ranges, hence the firefly tankers tried to conceal the long barrel in many ways so they would be mistaken for a normal sherman.

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18 minutes ago, Torrens said:

Would be interesting to see how many of those +100 Tigers were fit for frontline action and how many were unable to attend due to breakdowns ect.

 

According to german Wikipedia they (126 Tiger I) only arrived gradually at the front, due to the well known transport issues. Therefore they had no operational influence. This would also explain the british and canadian forces having fightings with them over a longer period during the Normandy battle. Of the 105 lost Tigers, only 38 were due to enemy action, while the others were self destroyed or left by the crew. Only 13 losses by air attacks.

After that battle, the Ardennes offensive was the only situation in which Tiger I were in a larger number (35 according to Wikipedia) at the western front.

Wikipedia speaks of no total losses, which would also fit, to what unreasonable posted.

But maybe someone has better sources about that.

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1 hour ago, judgedeath3 said:

Tiger top speed: 38 kmh
Sherman firefly: 40kmh


That is probably for the road though. The crossroad is another thing.
And by my numbers Firefly has top speed of 22.25 miles per hour* (36km/h) so is still slower than the Tiger.

*David Fletcher - Firefly
*Supposedly WO 194 http://www.wwiiequipment.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69:the-sherman-medium-tank&catid=46:tanks&Itemid=57

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Cross country speed for a Tiger:
Cross country: 20‚Äď25¬†km/h (12‚Äď16¬†mph

but yes, some sources claim different numbers.

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5 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

According to german Wikipedia they (126 Tiger I) only arrived gradually at the front, due to the well known transport issues. Therefore they had no operational influence. This would also explain the british and canadian forces having fightings with them over a longer period during the Normandy battle. Of the 105 lost Tigers, only 38 were due to enemy action, while the others were self destroyed or left by the crew. Only 13 losses by air attacks.

After that battle, the Ardennes offensive was the only situation in which Tiger I were in a larger number (35 according to Wikipedia) at the western front.

Wikipedia speaks of no total losses, which would also fit, to what unreasonable posted.

But maybe someone has better sources about that.

 

"Having no operational influence" is a bizarre claim. If this is supposed to mean that the Tigers on their own did not tip the balance of the campaign one way or another this of course this is true: the Germans lost!  During specific local operations they had a huge influence. You can argue endlessly about whether the Germans would have been able to throw the Allies into the sea if all 100+ Tigers had all arrived together: I think not, given the effect of naval gunfire close to the beaches, but this is entirely academic since this is not the way the Germans ever used them.  

 

Bt 101:  1st June 44 In training near Amiens 37 operational out of 45 on hand.  So that gives a fairly standard serviceability rate for when not moving fast or in combat of ~80%  It only takes a loose connection in the radio set for a tank to be non-operational for the day. 

 

By 12th June the 1 and 2 companies have reached assembly area in Normandy, with 8 and 6 Tigers operational respectively:  8+6 = 14 / 26 = 54% - so that is an indication of serviceability after long approach march on tracks (from Paris).

 

13th June - Villers-Bocage: potential breakout by British armour stopped. 3 company then arrives. Over the next several days we have "Epsom" and continuous British attacks. By 5th July no tanks are operational, but by 8th July the battalion has 21. 18th July: Goodwood:  Tigers heavily involved.  More continuous heavy fighting.

8th August: one Canadian Firefly knocks out 5 Tigers, including Wittmann. Meanwhile 3 Tigers stop the advance of the Polish 1st Armoured division. 

 

I think it is a bit misleading to say that Tigers abandoned by their crews were not lost due to enemy action. They were unrecoverable precisely because the enemy were advancing up the road!  This is not the same as being temporarily unavailable due to track damage on an approach march, for instance. 

 

As for the loss numbers: I count 26 mentions of tanks "knocked out" for 101, 17 for 102 and 6 for 503 = 49, not including tanks that were damaged by enemy action before the retreat and not repairable. Same source as previously mentioned based on unit reports.   IMHO all the Tigers sent to Normandy that were lost (almost all of them) were lost due to enemy action. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by unreasonable

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50 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

 

"Having no operational influence" is a bizarre claim. If this is supposed to mean that the Tigers on their own did not tip the balance of the campaign one way or another this of course this is true: the Germans lost!  During specific local operations they had a huge influence. You can argue endlessly about whether the Germans would have been able to throw the Allies into the sea if the Tigers had all arrived together: I think not, given the effect of naval gunfire close to the beaches.  

 

101:  1st June 44 In training near Amiens 37 operational out of 45 on hand.  So that gives a fairly standard serviceability rate for when not moving fast or in combat of ~80%  It only takes a loose connection in the radio set for a tank to be non-operational for the day. 

 

By 12th June the 1 and 2 companies have reached assembly area in Normandy, with 8 and 6 Tigers operational respectively:  8+6 = 14 / 26 = 54% - so that is an indication of serviceability what after long approach march on tracks (from Paris).

 

13th June - Villers-Bocage: potential breakout by British armour stopped. 3 company then arrives. Over the next several days we have "Epsom" and continuous British attacks. By 5th July no tanks are operational, but by 8th July the battalion has 21. 18th July: Goodwood:  Tigers heavily involved.  More continuous heavy fighting.

8th August: one Canadian Firefly knocks out 5 Tigers, including Wittmann. Meanwhile 3 Tigers stop the advance of the Polish 1st Armoured division.

 

I think it is a bit misleading to say that Tigers abandoned by their crews during a rout were not lost due to enemy action. This is not the same as being temporarily unavailable due to track damage on an approach march, for instance. As for the loss numbers: I count 26 mentions of tanks "knocked out" for 101 alone, 17 for 102 and 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately Wikipedia doesn't give a source for this, so I don't know where their information is from.

I don't think, they mean with operational influence, to throw back the allied into the water, but yes, of course it means some larger influence than thrilling some british or canadian companies for some hours.

With enemy action is meant by direct hit of an enemy tank or so. Maybe my translation was a bit misleading.

Edited by Yogiflight

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No problem, @Yogiflight I am not having a dig at you: just trying to point out that saying that "only 38 out of 105 were due to enemy action",  is likely to be taken by some people as indicating that 67 were abandoned in the retreat without battle damage due to fuel shortages, track and mechanical failures or impassable obstacles. This is not the case.  

 

Not only does my source give  other numbers for tanks "knocked out" but it also makes clear that few were abandoned or destroyed by their crews while more or less intact: many were abandoned at maintenance sites  because they could not be repaired before the maintenance companies were forced to retreat.  Breaking these down into those with non-battle damage vs battle damage is impossible, but it is reasonable to expect that the majority of these had incurred some battle damage, since most non-battle damage is easy and quick to repair.    

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8 hours ago, unreasonable said:

am not having a dig at you:

Don't worry, I didn't understand it that way. As I wrote at the end of my original post, maybe someone has ab better source. Especially as Wikipedia didn't give a source, I wouldn't give too much on what they wrote and definitely give more on your source.

Surely many of the abandoned Tigers were damaged, however I also read, that the allies often simply passed them out of range to go on with their attack and not being slowed down by destroying the Tigers. Then the Tiger tanks were too slow and had too much technical issues to get  back to the own lines. so this might be a reason to destroy the tanks, too.

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I think it was something like 15% of enemy engagements by Shermans was with enemy armor of all types.

 

Anyway, why would Shermans engage Tigers if they could call on artillery or anti-armor infantry units?

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4 minutes ago, chuter said:

 

 

Anyway, why would Shermans engage Tigers if they could call on artillery or anti-armor infantry units?

 

Because they might have to do it immediately rather than waiting for artillery which might not be available or infantry that might not be able to get into a range where they could use their PIATs or bazookas.  Anyway, Sherman Fireflies could engage Tigers on roughly equal terms. 

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24 minutes ago, chuter said:

I think it was something like 15% of enemy engagements by Shermans was with enemy armor of all types.

True, in most cases tanks never engaged other tanks, and around 70% of all tank battles on western front was against other things than tanks. And what killed most tanks in ww2 was, surprise! Anti tank guns according to studies done on the matter.

Edited by judgedeath3

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43 minutes ago, judgedeath3 said:

And what killed most tanks in ww2 was, surprise! Anti tank guns according to studies done on the matter.

Edited 40 minutes ago by judgedeath3

Absolutely. This is modelled completely wrong here in game. AT guns get caught by surprise by tanks, however IRL the gun crew heard the tanks long before they were in range. And with the limited sight of a tank crew, an AT gun in a good firing position with camouflage was hell for a tank. But here in game AT guns usually are positioned free in the terrain, so you can't overlook them. And then of course they are easy prey for the tank, which can shoot with HE on larger distance, than the gun with its AP ammo.

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Although I fall victim to those anti tank guns often xD Some cases due to they can fire through trees and see one through forests, and they are hard to see unless you played the same map several times and learned where they are. And also often I get hit and cant tell where the fire is coming from due to they dont give a big flash when they fire, some cases I still dont know where they shot from. But yes, depending on what perimeters one set them to and if one know more or less where they are: they are easy prey for a tank.

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2 hours ago, chuter said:

Anyway, why would Shermans engage Tigers if they could call on artillery or anti-armor infantry units?

 

Based on the accounts I've read, one thing that did happen occasionally was, that German heavy tanks weren't spotted or properly identified, until the Allied tanks were quite close to them. What happens in that situation is, that your platoon is well within the lethal range of the German's cannon with no way to quickly get out of harm's way. In that case your best option might be to engage, when you're at a numerical advantage and within or close to effective range of your own guns, rather than risk a retreat, which will put you outside effective range of your own guns and possibly costing you several casualties which in turn might rob you of your numerical superiority and ability to defeat the threat later.

 

That's the rational explanation. There is also simply the fact, that humans when faced with a threat that suddenly pops up right next to them will have a tendency to stand and fight rather than run away, because the threat is perceived to already be at a distance, where it can cause you harm. It is much easier to retreat from a threat, that is far away or that you can see coming.

 

A classic example of this instinctive reaction:

 

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1 hour ago, judgedeath3 said:

Although I fall victim to those anti tank guns often xD Some cases due to they can fire through trees and see one through forests, and they are hard to see unless you played the same map several times and learned where they are. And also often I get hit and cant tell where the fire is coming from due to they dont give a big flash when they fire, some cases I still dont know where they shot from. But yes, depending on what perimeters one set them to and if one know more or less where they are: they are easy prey for a tank.

As far as I know, AI can still see you through the top of hills. I noticed that for example with Thad's 'Tiger at the gate' mission, that we were one or two times under fire, before we reached the top of the hill in front of us and were in the sight line of the enemy.

BTW there should not be that much flash, but a huge dust and smoke cloud, after firing a gun that low above the ground. 

20 minutes ago, Finkeren said:

Based on the accounts I've read, one thing that did happen occasionally was, that German heavy tanks weren't spotted or properly identified, until the Allied tanks were quite close to them. What happens in that situation is, that your platoon is well within the lethal range of the German's cannon with no way to quickly get out of harm's way. In that case your best option might be to engage, when you're at a numerical advantage and within or close to effective range of your own guns, rather than risk a retreat, which will put you outside effective range of your own guns and possibly costing you several casualties which in turn might rob you of your numerical superiority and ability to defeat the threat later.

 

Tigers were at the western front usually used in a defensive role, standing in a hidden position, might be even with the engine turned off, or at least with low rev, so they were not to hear for the attacking troops with their tanks having higher revs, as they were moving. And then it depends very much on the situation and the terrain, what is the best solution to handle this problem.

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A common mistake during the normandy and western front battles were a lot of troops mistook the Panzer IV for a tiger tank due to similair design, square shaped tank, 90 degree armour, long gun, and similair look at long range and soldiers arent tank experts and barely even know the look of all their own designs, hence why one has officers and inteligence trying to support info for the units what they might face. Soldiers will be soldiers as they say :P

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It's a rather interesting question and fun to speculate on outcomes.  In response to my question of "why would they" a good point is brought up concerning Shermans being ambushed and having to fight but I have to say I don't really consider that the question, though.  That is "reacting to" the Tigers.  I see that as "can 10 Tigers defeat 20 Shermans"  - lol.  Just about 10 of anything properly ambushing 20 of anything else has a shot at defeating that anything else.  To me the question implies 20 Shermans are on one side of a hill deciding if they should take on the 10 Tigers on the other side.  So, back to the question:  With a proper computer, good connection and, maybe, some slick skins I say "HELL, YEAH!",  I'd give it a go.  Grass range set to 0.0000, though ... can't have that handicap.

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1 hour ago, chuter said:

It's a rather interesting question and fun to speculate on outcomes.  In response to my question of "why would they" a good point is brought up concerning Shermans being ambushed and having to fight but I have to say I don't really consider that the question, though.  That is "reacting to" the Tigers.  I see that as "can 10 Tigers defeat 20 Shermans"  - lol.  Just about 10 of anything properly ambushing 20 of anything else has a shot at defeating that anything else.  To me the question implies 20 Shermans are on one side of a hill deciding if they should take on the 10 Tigers on the other side.  So, back to the question:  With a proper computer, good connection and, maybe, some slick skins I say "HELL, YEAH!",  I'd give it a go.  Grass range set to 0.0000, though ... can't have that handicap.

A lot depends on the distance at which they can see each others the first time. Then, we don't have the right Sherman in game. This Sherman on a decent distance will be nothing but breakfast for the Tigers.

3 hours ago, judgedeath3 said:

A common mistake during the normandy and western front battles were a lot of troops mistook the Panzer IV for a tiger tank due to similair design, square shaped tank, 90 degree armour, long gun, and similair look at long range and soldiers arent tank experts and barely even know the look of all their own designs, hence why one has officers and inteligence trying to support info for the units what they might face. Soldiers will be soldiers as they say :P

This might be the reason, why, according to german Wikipedia, on the eastern front, as well as on the western front, there were much more Tiger tanks sighted, than the germans even had, and in places they didn't have any.

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On 9/10/2019 at 6:51 AM, Finkeren said:

What I wonder is: How many times during the war were the Germans actually able to field 10 Tigers in one place at one time against British/American forces? 

 

I know they were concentrated in the Schwerer Panzerabteilungs, but pretty much all combat accounts I've read feature at most a handful of Tigers. 

 

On 9/10/2019 at 8:32 AM, Torrens said:

I haven't checked my sources, but I believe that American armor literally engaged Tigers around 3 times during liberation of France that's how rare they were. 10 Tigers sounds like a stretch at least for Americans but its possible the Brits and Canadians saw more of them. I'm sure Ardennes must've achieved 10 Tigers but who knows. Probably the only time it was possible.

 

 

The Tiger was designed as a Break-Through tank, and as such the amount of needed numbers the were thought not to be very great.

It was also this reason the cost and maintenance issues where not thought of as an issue.

 

 

The armature tank researcher Nicolas Moran describes this a lot better than I can ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quote

Can 20 Sherman tanks defeat 10 Tigers?

Topicstarter forgot put one zero in number 200?)

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@MiloMorai Question on that table:  I assume that is measuring the number serviceable over the number on hand - not the number in establishment. Is that right?

 

Ie if your battalion Orbat strength was 50 tanks, of which you had 40 on hand after some were written off in combat, of which 30 were operational, the percentage shown would be 75%, not 50%. 

 

 

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