Wehrmachtbericht
(Armed Forces Report)
Tigers Vs. Shermans

This section of the website deals with the actions of the German Tiger I and Tiger II tanks in combat against the American built Sherman.  Not necessarily all of the actions will involve the Americans vs. the German crewed Tigers, some of the actions described will involve Shermans that were used by the British (Commonwealth) or even the Russians.  Please note that this section is also a work in progress.  The initial descriptions of the engagements are from the German perspective, but to get an accurate picture of each engagement, one needs to get the "other" sides take on that same engagement.  Hence, over the course of time I will research to find out what Allied sources say about the same engagements.  Also, keep in mind that most of the information from the German perspective has come from the war diaries of the heavy panzer battalions, which information quite often came from the German archives.  We also need to keep in mind that more than likely, the true kill numbers were almost always lower than what the Germans claimed.  This is due to the fact that many tanks that the Germans claimed were destroyed were in fact only damaged and were later removed from the battlefield and then eventually made battle ready.  If anyone has sources from the Allied perspective on these engagements, please email me so that I can find that information and get the Allied view as a counter weight to the German only view.  

sPzAbt.501:

"The attack began on Sunday, the 14th of February, at 04.00.  After a brief battle the American Sherman tanks there were destroyed.  Rolling onwards, 1./501 reached the assigned area eight kilometers north of Sidi bou Zid.  From there the Germans could recognize without binoculars the preparations of about fifty American tanks.  When these attacked a short time later, the lead tank was destroyed by the Tigers.  The rest of the American tanks pulled back to Sidi bou Zid.  The superiority of the Tiger's 8.8 cm cannon was demonstrated in this engagement when Ofw. Augustin succeeded in destroying a retreating Sherman from a range of 2700 meters.  On that day the Tigers of 1./501 destroyed fifteen American Sherman tanks."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 32)  

"Throughout three days of fighting, Allied forces lost a total of 55 tanks. Of these, elements of Heavy Tank Battalion 501 claimed the destruction of at least 15.  Although Heavy Tank Battalion 501 contributed 10 or fewer tanks to the overall effort of all four combat groups, they destroyed 27 percent of the total achieved." (Sledgehammers, pg 42)

"This brought Operation Fruhlingswind to an end.  1st company, SPz Abt.501 had accounted for a large share of the total of 165 enemy tanks destroyed during the operation."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 32)  

"The accomplishments of the handful of Tigers operating with Combat Group Reimann--in the space of about six hours--just prior to daybreak until around noon--was remarkable.  They assisted in breaking through their opponents forward defenses, destroying a tank company in the process.  They continued the attack assisted in defeating two counterattacks, destroying a total of 20 Shermans throughout the day."  (Sledgehammers, pg 51)

"Although they had achieved several local penatrations, the Americans were beaten off by the Tigers' long-ranging cannon operating in conjunction with the other arms, and suffered heavy casualties.  On 24 March 1943, the Wehrmacht bulletin reported the destruction of forty-four enemy tanks in that sector.  This success had been achieved by about a dozen Tigers of the 501st and 504th Battalions."   (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 37)


"Heavy tank battalion 501 destroyed more than 150 Allied tanks in North Africa while losing only 11 Tigers.  This amounts to a kill ratio of 13.6 enemy tanks destroyed for every Tiger lost.......Another indication of the effectiveness of the vehicles, if not necessarily the unit, is the fact that of the 11 Tigers lost, only three were destroyed by enemy fire." (Sledgehammers, pg 56)


sPzAbt.504:

'The Wehrmact communique of 25 April 1943 stated: "The enemy's losses in tanks on the day before yesterday in this combat zone alone have risen to eighty-one." Oberst Gerhard Schirmer (Rtd.) estimates the Tigers share of the knocked-out enemy tanks as at least fifty percent.'  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 37)

"With his last six to eight Tigers, Major Seidensticker attacked this powerful enemy force from the flank.  With great elan the Tiger crews rolled against the wave of enemy tanks, destroyed at least twenty and repulsed the breakthrough attempt."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 37)

"Uffz. Wicht, the gunner in Goldschmidt's vehicle, opened fire.  He destroyed a Sherman from 2,300 meters with his first shot.  A second Sherman, which rolled past the knocked out tank, was likewise destroyed by Wicht's first shot.  The remaining American tanks withdrew, but from a range of 2,800 meters Wicht knocked out the last Sherman and then the next to the last.  Damaged, the fifth Sherman rolled to the side and disappeared behind cover."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 44)

"Uffz. Fred Gunther saved the situation and his gunner, ROB-Gefr. Werner Hahn, knocked out two enemy tanks in quick succession.  Lt. Goldschmidt swung his turret to nine o' clock and opened fire on the Shermans, several of which caught fire or exploded.  The rest of the enemy tanks withdrew."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 45)

"German sources credit Heavy Tank Battaltion with destroying 35 U.S. tanks.  American sources universally mention that this attack was halted--although rain and swampy conditions are usually given as the primary factors--while no losses are provided."  (Sledgehammers, pg 228, note 88)

"During the two months that they operated in Tunisia, Heavy Tank Battalion 504 destroyed more than 150 enemy tanks.  Prior to destroying the 14 remaining Tigers, the battalion achieved a tank kill ratio of 18.8 enemy tanks for every Tiger lost; because the battalion was ultimately lost, however, the kill ratio measured against all 22 Tigers committed was still a respectable 6.8 enemy tanks destroyed for every Tiger."  (Sledgehammers, pg 57)

"Tigers from the 1st company, Heavy Tank Batallion 504 initially stopped this attack, destroying 11 Shermans and forcing the abandonment of 12 more."  (Sledgehammer, pg 95)

"Heavy tank batallion lost 87 Tigers during it's employment in Italy and destroyed 100 enemy tanks during this time.  Of the 87 Tigers, probably only 13 were destroyed by enemy fire.  Of the 74 Tigers that were destroyed by their own crews, 29 of these were destroyed during the final month of the war when the strategic situation was hopeless for the Germans.  Until the final month of the war then, this battalion destroyed 7.7 enemy tanks to every Tiger lost in direct combat and almost two enemy tanks for every Tiger lost, regardless of the reason." (Sledgehammers, pg. 98)

sPzAbt.505:

"I immediately gave the order to fire.  The first and the last tanks were to be fired on one after the other.  If this could be done, those driving in the middle would have no chance to escape.  The sudden fire took the Russians completely by surprise.  After a few moments all six tanks stood in flames.......Not until I was int he military hospital in Borisov did I learn that all of the enemy Sherman tanks had been destroyed by the Tigers."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 136)

sPzAbt.503:

"When the Tigers had approached to within two hundred metres of the farm they could see the enemy tanks.  Several were burning and others were turning away.  In their haste to escape, two command command tanks collided and their crews bailed out in panic.  These two tanks were captured and all of the remaining twelve Sermans were destroyed."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 146)

sSS-PzAbt.102:

"There Loritz destroyed a Sherman.  During the occupation of the hills north of la Biestierre, Loritz destroyed two more enemy tanks.  Ustuf. Streng shared in the success with two enemy tanks destroyed each, and during the course of the day Uschaf. Rodinger (1 tank, 1 anti-tank gun), Oschaf. Piller (2 tanks, 2 APC, and Uschaf. Kuhlemann (3 tanks) were also successful."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 152)

sPzAbt.504:

"Twenty-three American Sherman tanks had been put out of action by the Rohrig platoon: of these, twelve had been destroyed by fire from the Tiger's 8.8 cm cannon and the rest had been abandoned in panic by their crews--proof of the demoralizing effect that the appearance of Tiger tanks had on American tank crews".  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 198)
 
"The Allies launched an attack on 18 September following a heavy bombardment by naval guns.  The attack was repulsed with a loss of seven Sherman tanks".  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 203)

"The first two enemy tanks appeared at approximately 07.00: one was destroyed and the other rolled quickly to the rear.  Forty minutes later a single enemy tank attempted to roll at high speed across the section of  terrain which Kessel was observing.  It burst into flames after the first shot.  Two members of it's crew escaped."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 203) 

sPzAbt.506:

"Near Boxberg on 7 March the Tigers scored one last success: six tanks, six armoured personnel carriers and a truck carrying fuel were destroyed from the flank."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 215)

"The main breakthrough occured along the Shonberg road.  The American official history states that only three Sherman's of Combat Command B, 7th Armored Division defended this key road during this attack and that they were easily destroyed by the attacking King Tigers." (Sledgehammers, pg. 162)

sSS-PzAbt.501:

"The Tigers now attacked from the flank against the Polish Armoured Division.  They opened fire from 1800 meters.  The first enemy tanks blew apart.  The wave of Shermans which was rolling toward Cintheaux was smashed.  Once Allied attack after another broke down in front of the thin front held by the handful of Tigers.  The battle raged for hours.  One of the Tiger commanders who survived reported that Wittmann's Tiger had destroyed three more enemy tanks."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 219)

sPzAbt.508:

"When three Sherman tanks broke through the German main line of resistance around midnight, they were destroyed by a section commanded by Oblt. Stein.  A bren gun carrier and limbered anti-tank gun were captured." (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 247)

"It's crews and their vehicles also helped to contain the bridgehead, destroying three Shermans that penetrated the front lines on 21 February 1944."  (Sledgehammers, pg 87)

"Then, suddenly, we were hit twice on the rear of the turret; four or five hits more followed.  Two Sherman tanks were firing at us from the right.  We immediately retured fire, one Sherman began to burn; the orther ran for it."  (Sledgehammers, pg 90)

"February 24 was also a successful day for 3./508 Uffz. Zint destroyed eleven American tanks, while Fw. Hammerschmidt accounted for six more."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 247)

"During an attack across the Cisterna-Littoria railway embankment on 23 May, the Tigers of the 508th Battalion destroyed fifteen Sherman tanks."  (Tiger, The History of a Legendary Weapon, page 547)

"Though costly, this attack across the Cisterna-Littoria railway embankment managed to destroy 15 Shermans and drive American forces back three kilometers in this local sector."  (Sledgehammers, pg 92)


Ratio of Enemy Tanks destroyed to Tiger Tanks Destroyed (from Sledgehammers, page 186)

Kill Ratio Kill Ratio
In Action Total Lost



3rd Bn. Pz. Regt. GD 8.06 5.10
SS Heavy Tank Bn 101/501 6.94 4.67
SS Heavy Tank Bn 102/502 15.79 7.89
SS Heavy Tank Bn 103/503 50.00 12.82
Heavy Tk Bn 501 18.75 3.75
Heavy Tk Bn 502 15.90 13.00
Heavy Tk Bn 503 15.00 6.75
Heavy Tk Bn 504 8.60 2.29
Heavy Tk Bn 505 19.10 7.10
Heavy Tk Bn 506 6.56 2.23
Heavy Tk Bn 507 13.95 5.77
Heavy Tk Bn 508 6.67 1.28
Heavy Tk Bn 509 6.58 4.17
Heavy Tk Bn 510 5.71 3.08
Grand Totals 12.16 5.44