Saturday 6 October 2018

Kursk Trio

"To the Deputy Chief of the GBTU, Lieutenant-General of the Technical Service, comrade Lebedev

By your instruction, I present you with a brief summary of new type of vehicles in the German army according to information from prisoners.
  1. Panther tank. Mass: about 35 tons. Armament: one long 75 mm gun, two MG-42 machineguns. The tank is similar to the T-4 Russian tank. Compared to the T-4, it has stronger front armour and wider tracks.
  2. Reinforced Tiger tank. Weight: up to 65 tons. Armament: one 88 mm gun, one 20 mm AA gun, installed in the rear of the tank, 4 MG-42 machineguns. An emergency hatch is present at the bottom of the tank. The walls on the front and along the sides are cemented. The armour is up to 120 mm thick. Some tanks have flamethrowers along the right side. Crew: 7 men.
  3. Ferdinand SPG. A prisoner from the 654th Independent Tank Destroyer Battalion says that the battalion is composed of three companies of 14 Ferdinand type SPGs each. Tactical technical data is unknown.
Engineer Lieutenant-Colonel Andreev
July 14th, 1943"


  1. Reinforced Tiger tank? With those specifications anyone knows to which tank refers to? 65t, 88mm main gun, 20mm AA gun and 4 MG42s... I can think of the King Tiger or the Jägdtiger, especially the last one, but none of these were present in 1943...

  2. Strikes me these prisoners either lied so as to create fear in Russia or they didn't know what they were talking about. One would assume that before the information was kicked upstairs that someone who has actually looked inside of a German tank reviewed the findings. For one thing all German tank machine guns were MG-34s. And Russian troops figured out very quickly that Ferdinand had just one machine gun defense. Inspection of destroyed German tanks would of showed as much.

  3. I'm not really surprised. This is a mid-grade officer teporting the results of the interrogations that he, and his unit had performed. The filtering is done at higher levels ( And with more complete reports, including context, such as the background, unit, circumstances of capture, and the transcript of the interrogation. This is a Summary Report.) where information from multiple sources, including Field Examination of knocked-out or captured vehicles is examined.
    Anyone who has been involved with any military (I doesn't matter which one) is fully aware of the
    depth and breadth of the "Latrine Rumor ", especially when the report is coming from a non-specialist from another branch, and the ability of a soldier to build a yarn from them.