Friday 27 March 2015

SU-85 vs Tigers

We've seen what SU-85s can do against Tigers in controlled conditions, but of course, theory and practice are often at odds with one another. Here's one situation where the two met on the field of battle.

"In battle with German invaders, comrade [Petr Yermolayevich] Osminin showed unliimited devotion to the principles of the party of Lenin and Stalin and his socialist Motherland.
He displayed a feat of heroism, courage, and bravery during a German counterattack against the left flank of the 2nd Motorized Infantry Battalion near the Suostai village on August 7th, 1944. As a driver of an SPG, he was one of the first to take his crew to face the enemy, who fired upon enemy Tigers and Ferdinands to prevent them from attacking the left flank of our units.
In this battle, the SPG destroyed the following: 1 Tiger tank, 5 anti-tank guns, 1 StuG and up to 30 soldiers and officers. In this uneven battle, as a true patriot, engulfed in flames but fighting until his last breath, he died the death of heroes.
He is worthy of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, posthumously."

CAMD RF 33-793756-35

Another award order to the gunner (Nikolai Ivanovich Petrov) exists in CAMD with mostly the same text.

I doubt that there were actual Ferdinands, especially since a knocked out StuG is reported. As always, let's see what Schneider has to say about this.

"7 August 1944: In the morning the battalion is ordered to attack to the south from Kacenai to Bobenai despite an enemy penetration near Suostas. Contrary to the recommendations ofthe battalion, the useless attack against Bobenai is continued. When Bolter (4 Tigers) is finally directed to Suostas at mid-day, the German infantry is already retreating. After fierce fighting, Suostas is taken back (4 tanks and 3 antitank guns knocked out, including one captured German 8.8-centimeter Pak, which knocked out 2 Tigers). After dusk, the 81. Infanterie-Division withdraws behind the Memel sector to Struski (4 kilometers north of Schonberg) under cover of the Tigers."

Just as I thought, the "Ferdinands" were actually StuGs from 81st Infantry Division. In a similar case of misidentification, it's likely that the "captured 8.8 cm Pak" was the SU-85 that ended up knocked out, as the Germans didn't claim any SPGs.


  1. Its amazing what does west made documents and books do from russian tanks and their crews. They absolutely do from them vehicles unable to fight other tanks. And now when they admited 2 lost, they claim that their captured 88 mm gun is responsible for it. LOL

  2. If you think that they mis-identified a captured 8.8 cm Pak (which is a hell of a gun) as a destroyed SPG but not a destroyed tank as destroyed SPG I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you.

    1. Flip through Schneider, you'll discover so many Tiger kills attributed to 8.8 cm guns that you'd think they were magnetic.

    2. A lot of stuff was captured and used by each side. Only 143 8.8 cm pak were produced by end 2/1944 but 1400 were produced by the end of 7/1944 when the contract concluded.

      Osminin's SU could of been mistaken for a tank as the text indicates it was engulfed in flames. It could of exploded (like many T-34s did) rendering it a SU.

    3. The profile of a SU-85 is completely different than that of a T-34.

  3. In the notes from 502 battalion in at least 2 occasion in august 1944 they are send to relieve artillery units encircled by soviet troops, so is high probable that soviets captured a number of AT guns that are more close to front lines.So make sense to put these gun against the higher threat in the sector: the Tigers.

    Is possible the Germans missidentified the SU-85 for a 8,8 cm gun?
    If you consider that a SU-85 have a entire t-34 chassis attached to gun, even if this explode is very unlike that is don't leave any trace of the chassis.

    Is possible that SU-85 destroyed at least one of tigers?
    Yes, is possible, none really care who killed who in these combat situations, and after battle the caliber holes look a lot similar.

    Why tigers not claimed the SU-85?
    High probable that a stug or a pak that killed the SU-85

  4. Peter Samsonov28 March 2015 at 20:09

    Flip through Schneider, you'll discover so many Tiger kills attributed to 8.8 cm guns that you'd think they were magnetic.

    Are you serious?
    I counted only 6... Yeah, really many...

  5. From accounts some Russians didn't make difference between real Ferdinands and StuGs, they called any Stugs Ferdinands or Russian translation of Sturms, this is how you would read about Ferdis everywhere.

    And regarding the SU, confusing an AT gun for a vehicle? If it was an SPG be sure they would not report it as an AT gun.
    Highly unlikely and surprising if considering how much effort is spent in this blog noting how germans claimed tank kills left and right