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U.S. 3rd Armor Division vs. Tigers of sPzAbt 507 - 30th March 1945
Old 01-19-2007, 05:35 PM   #1
Lagarto
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Question U.S. 3rd Armor Division vs. Tigers of sPzAbt 507 - 30th March 1945

While researching the combat career of the U.S. Third Armored Division, I came across an intriguing account by Lt. Belton Cooper, published in his memoirs "Death Traps". The then liaison officer in the 3rd AD's maintenace battalion, on 30th March 1945, a few miles south of Paderborn, Cooper examined first-hand the aftermath of the woefully uneven duel between Shermans and M-36s of the Welborn Task Force against King Tigers of 3./schwere Panzer-Abteilung 507.
He wrote: "When our maintenance crews arrived on the scene, we found a catastrophe. The Germans knocked out 17 M4 Sherman tanks, 17 half-trucks, three GMC trucks, two Jeeps and one M-36 tank destroyer. The column had been annihilated"

However, he claims that the Shermans knocked out three Tigers!

"One of the Sherman tanks, with 76 mm gun, broke out of the column and took cover behind a small farm building to the left, just off the road in about the middle of the column. As the Tigers came down on their first pass, the Sherman crew swung their 76 mm gun 180 degrees to the rear and let go at close range. The Tiger's thinner armor over the engine compartment was penetrated and the tank started to burn"

And then:
"Although the entire column was trapped, some of the veteran crews stayed cool and utilized their advantages. One of the crews of an M4 Sherman with short-barreled 75 mm M2 gun was near the middle of the column when the three Tigers appeared. [...] In a split second he told his gunner to load a white phosphorus round. It struck the glacis plate right above the driver's compartment with a blaze of flames and smoke. Although there was no possibility of penetration, the shock in the tank must have been terrific. The entire faceplate in front of the turret was covered with burning particles of white phosphorus which stuck to the sides of the tank. The smoke engulfed the tank, and the fan in the engine compartment sucked the smoke inside the fighting compartment. The German crew must have thought the tank was on fire and immediately abandoned it. Although the tank suffered little damage, had the crew stayed inside they would have been overcome by deadly fumes.
The Sherman immediately turned its gun on the second tank in the column and fired white phosphorus, with the same result. Although the ingenious tank commander knocked out two King tigers (without ever getting a penetration) his tank was then knocked out by another Tiger"

What do you think of it?

Interestingly, Cooper goes on to say how he himself tested a panzerfaust, which he used to carry around in his jeep, on one of the allegedly abandoned Tigers:
"I had always been curious about the actual penetrating power of a panzerfaust and also about the strength of the armor on a King Tiger. I felt it was a good time to test out both. I told Wrayford to give me one of the 100-meter panzerfausts.
I took the panzerfaust and paced off approx. 30 yards directly in front of the tank. I set the sight for 30 yards and aimed directly at a ten-inch-square patch of the forward turret faceplate just to the side of the gun mantlet. I fired, and the panzerfaust struck it dead center. There was a tremendous explosion and we were showered with small cement particles (The Germans covered their tanks with a thin layer of cement to protect them from magnetic mines).
The blast center was about four inches to the right of the aperture where the machine gun came through the faceplate. Upon closer examination, I could see a distinct penetration about a half inch to three-quarters of an inch in diameter on the outside that went all the way through the faceplate of the turret and opened out about half an inch in diameter on the inside".
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:36 AM   #2
Oliver Neubert
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Hello, I guess the best account of the battle on the Dörenhagen-Kirchborchen road near Hamborn castle comes from the "Chronik 507". If you have any interest in the Paderborn battle, you will have to buy the German or the English edition. The Chronik gives a detailed report of the events on the 30.March. Cooper mixed up two different battles in his book. The story with the white phosphorus rounds happened one day after the first battle with TF Welborn, when 4-5 Tigers of 2nd Company of sPzAbt 507 attacked Hamborn castle. One crew member of this tanks survived with heavy burns on his hands and face and told his story in a German book "Krieg in der Heimat" by U.Saft.

While the Chronik 507 claims that there were no casulities during the first battle on 30.March, this is most likely related to any human losses. I think there is evidence of at least two Tigers damaged and abondoned (plus 2 recovery tanks) on the battlefield on 30.March. On 31.March 3 King Tigers are lost in the side valley leading to Hamborn castle, one by a tank destroyer and two by phosphorus rounds.

I think that the King Tiger photo in "Death Traps" shows the Tiger commanded by 3rd Company leader Wolf Koltermann, who became a victim of a friendly fire incident arround midnight 30/31.March on the road leading to Dörenhagen near the Eifersloh farm.

Judge yourself: http://news.webshots.com/photo/11128...31916276HZkEEo
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:07 AM   #3
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The damage he attributes to the panzerfaust is exactly what one would expect from a shaped charge anti tank weapon.
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Old 01-21-2007, 06:59 PM   #4
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Thank you very much for the info. I have one question - on 21st April 1945 at Dessau the so-called Super Pershing, the only one in the 3rd AD, knocked out a King Tiger. What unit did that Tiger come from? I searched far and wide but failed to find a conclusive answer.
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Old 01-22-2007, 01:46 AM   #5
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So far I have seen no evidence about any German tanks operating in Dessau. Some Hetzers were used in a German assault in a nearby village against the 3rd AD. A local historian has written a small book about the end of the war in Dessau, covering the American advance into Dessau in every detail, but he does not mention any German tanks abandoned or knocked out in Dessau city. The gunner of the Super-Pershing seems to be the only person to claim that there were German tanks fighting in Dessau and he also claims to have knocked out a Jagdtiger outside Paderborn with his Sherman.
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:19 AM   #6
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Thank you Oliver, now you really got me puzzled! Could this story:

http://www.3ad.com/history/news/super.pershing.1.htm

described by Irvin in detail in his memoirs titled "Another River, Another Town" be made up? There's no way to mistake a Hetzer for a King Tiger...
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Jagdtiger
Old 01-22-2007, 09:33 PM   #7
Alte110thpzgr
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War Jagdtiger

According to my research the Jagdtiger was the only tank during the war that was never Knocked out by another tank. its 12"'s of armor was impervious to the American 90mm and the soviet 127mm? (not sure on the exact mm) Most of them where taken out from the air, artillery or abandonment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Neubert View Post
So far I have seen no evidence about any German tanks operating in Dessau. Some Hetzers were used in a German assault in a nearby village against the 3rd AD. A local historian has written a small book about the end of the war in Dessau, covering the American advance into Dessau in every detail, but he does not mention any German tanks abandoned or knocked out in Dessau city. The gunner of the Super-Pershing seems to be the only person to claim that there were German tanks fighting in Dessau and he also claims to have knocked out a Jagdtiger outside Paderborn with his Sherman.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:04 AM   #8
Oliver Neubert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagarto View Post
Thank you Oliver, now you really got me puzzled! Could this story:

http://www.3ad.com/history/news/super.pershing.1.htm

described by Irvin in detail in his memoirs titled "Another River, Another Town" be made up? There's no way to mistake a Hetzer for a King Tiger...
Well, maybe there were German tanks operating in Dessau, maybe even Tigers. I have my doubts and would like to see some evidence – photos or at least some official documents. I have seen only a few photos taken in Dessau, showing German prisoners marching into captivity directly after the fighting’s. The After Action Report of the 36th A.I.R. (the infantry of the 3rd Armored Division) does not mention any German tanks in Dessau (only a single assault gun defending a road block at Klein Kuhnau) and in the official 3rd AD history book "Spearhead in the West" is nothing about tanks, too. However my doubts are only my personal opinion and I am open for any new information.

As I wrote earlier Irwin never wrote “King Tiger” or ”Royal Tiger”, he calls the tank that he claims to have knocked out “Tiger” and “Royal Monster”. The 3rd AD Website calls it a “King Tiger”. Irwin calls the second tank that he knocked out in Dessau a “Panzer with 88mm gun”. The 3rd AD Website called this one “believed to be a 50-ton Panther”.

When you compare the Super Pershing info on the 3rd AD website with the original source you will notice another question mark. They write about the first combat of the Super Pershing: “But finally, on April 4, 1945, between the Weser River and Northeim, the Super Pershing was to fire its gun in anger”. The Weser was crossed only on April 9th and most of Northeim had been secured around midnight the same day, so the information about the date on the 3rd AD website is a misinterpretation of the text in “Death Traps”, where Cooper wrote that the Spearhead division started on 4.April from Paderborn to the River Weser.

So many mysteries, so little time.

Oliver N.

Alter PzGren 110, without having the book in front of me, I think he wrote that he disabled the Jagdtiger with a direct hit onto the drive sprocket, then the crew jumped out and was killed by machine gun fire. I have my problems with this story, too.

Last edited by Oliver Neubert; 01-23-2007 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:57 AM   #9
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Indeed, I was first puzzled about the supposed duel of Super Pershing vs. "Royal Monster" in Dessau on 21st April, when I read "Death Traps", where Cooper states: "It was on this stretch between the Weser River and Northeim that our super M26 tank finally got into action. [...] It had finally won its combat plaudit and as far as I know was never again engaged in any action".

Had the Super Pershing - the only one in the whole division - knocked out a German tank some time later in Dessau (esp. a King Tiger!), wouldn't Cooper have known about it?
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagarto View Post
Had the Super Pershing - the only one in the whole division - knocked out a German tank some time later in Dessau (esp. a King Tiger!), wouldn't Cooper have known about it?
Not his job, I guess. Kind of strange that he does not mention the Super Pershing after 9. April anymore.

By the way, if I am right that these two pictures were taken on the same spot, than this Tiger is the Super Pershings first victim:

http://news.webshots.com/photo/10237...6276uejLtYWhVO
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Any details about the M-8 armored car with 37mm vs. Tiger II Point Blank?
Old 02-08-2007, 05:57 PM   #11
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Default Any details about the M-8 armored car with 37mm vs. Tiger II Point Blank?

Any details about the M-8 armored car with 37mm vs. Tiger II Point Blank?

Thanks,

Rob Romero
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87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
Old 02-10-2007, 04:13 AM   #12
Oliver Neubert
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Default 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron

I guess that is a version of the Meijel incident (near Venlo, Holland), where a M8 Armored Car from Troop D of the 87th Recon is credited in the G-2 report of the 7th Armored Division with knocking out a Tiger or Mk VI tank.
I wonder how many versions of this story are available, I have seen “northern sector of the Battle in the Ardennes”, the “Tiger” has been called a “KingTiger from SS-Leibstandarte” and so on.

Extracts, 7AD G-2 and G-3 Journals – October 27th

08.30 Troop D: Getting critical on right flank - around us on all sides need help
very fast or will have to withdraw.
11.16 Troop D: Situation critical spotted 3 tigers fired on one.

11.30 Report 87th Rcn, D-Troop to G-3
Column to vehicles crossing canal.
Have fired on one tiger, spotted three more

11.50 Message missing (???, see 12.35)

12.35 Report S-2 to G-3
We lost two light tanks. Our troops are pinned down in Meijel by Mg fire.
Panzer fausts (enemy tank bazookas) are reported.
The tank we reported previously as being knocked out (Message 11.50 to G-2)
has been definitely identified as Mk VI. The crew escaped.

13.10 Troop D: Line holding. Tiger Knocked out by M8 armored car.

14.00 Troop D: Center platoon forced back by tanks.

19.05 87 Recon to G-2
D Troop forced to abandon 1 Halftrack, one Jeep containing Maps, plans and Division code.


People with more knowledge about the fightings in that area have pointed out that no Tiger-Units operated in that area and that the Tigers and Mk.VI are most likely Panthers from II./ Pz.Rgt. 33 of the 9th Panzer Division.


Last edited by Oliver Neubert; 02-10-2007 at 04:35 AM.
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