Monday, 13 April 2020

King Tiger Penetration Trials


"10th Tarnopol Order of Lenin Independent Guards Tank Destroyer Brigade
September 3rd, 1944
#0302

To: Commander of artillery of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Colonel General of Artillery, Barentsov
CC: Commander of artillery of the 13th Army, Commander of artillery of the 5th Guards Army

I report that on September 1st and 2nd, 1944, I performed penetration trials against the "T-B King Tiger" tank using 57 and 76 mm guns, a 57 mm SPG, an 85 mm gun on a SU-85, and a 152 mm gun-howitzer on an ISU.

Results of penetration trials:
Range
Type of ammunition
Location of impact
Results
57 mm gun
300
AP
Front
2 hits. No penetration, ricochet. Scoop depth 30 mm.
150
AP
Front, turret side
2 hits on a turret side, complete penetration.
1 hit on the front. Ricochet. Scoop depth 20 mm.
200
AP
Side
Sloped side penetrated completely.
300
APCR
Front
2 hits on the front part. Ricochet. Scoop depth 20 mm.
1 hit on the gun mantlet. Penetration depth 140 mm.
150
APCR
Front, turret side
2 complete penetrations of the turret side.
2 ricochets off the front. Scoop depth 20 mm.
200
APCR
Side
1 hit to the front of the turret at an angle. Penetration depth 110 mm
57 mm SPG
600
AP
Side
3 complete penetrations of the vertical side armour. 2 ricochets from the side of the turret. Scoop depth 20 mm.
76 mm gun
500
AP
Side
3 hits. No complete penetrations. Penetration depth 60 mm.
200
AP
Side
10 hits to the sloped side. No complete penetrations. Penetration depth 60 mm.
300
APCR
Side
2 penetrations of the vertical side and 2 penetrations of the running gear.
400
APCR
Side
2 penetrations of the sloped side.
600
APCR
Side
3 ricochets off the turret side.
200
APCR
Side
3 complete penetrations of the vertical side armour.
400
HE
Running gear
A road wheel was destroyed.
85 mm SPG
450
AP
Side
4 complete penetrations of the sloped side armour.
250
AP
Front , turret side
2 complete penetrations of the turret side. 3 ricochets of the front. Scoop depth 60 mm.
152 mm gun
450
HEAT*
Side
1 complete penetration of the sloped side. A 70 cm wide breach that spanned through the plate forms. The recoil mechanisms inside the tank are smashed.
1200
HEAT*
Turret side and running gear
1 complete penetration of the turret side.
2 hits to the running gear, 2 road wheels destroyed.


Penetration trials show that:
  1. The front armour is impervious for the 57 and 76 mm guns, 57 mm SPG, and the SU-85 SPG.
    From the front of the tank, the vulnerable parts are the tracks and gun barrel, assuming the shell hits the barrel directly and not the gun mantlet.
    The layout of the turret changed compared to the T-6, which makes the front nearly invulnerable.
    Not a single penetration was made with the 57 mm, 76 mm, and 85 mm self propelled guns against the front armour. The shells ricochet, making a scoop 50-60 mm deep.
    Out of the 5 hits with AP and APCR ammunition, not a single penetration was scored. Firing was done from 150-300 meters.
  2. The side of the tank is vulnerable to the 57 mm gun from 600 meters if using APCR, 400-500 if using AP. The upper side armour is impenetrable for 76 mm AP: out of 8 hits there was not a single penetration. Firing was done from 150-250 meters.
    The 76 mm APCR shot penetrates the side from up to 400 meters.
    The 57 mm SPG gun penetrates both the upper and lower side from 600 m or closer.
    Penetration against the turret side is identical to penetration of the side armour.
The running gear is the most vulnerable part of the tank. Fire at a range of up to 600 meters with 57 mm caliber or higher guns is effective. As the tank has two rows of wheels, hitting the wheels will jam them and the tank will be unable to move.

The most effective weapon against the "T-B" tank is the 57 mm gun, 57 mm SPG, SU-85 SPG. Fire of the 76 mm ZIS-3 gun is the least effective. 

After the enemy adopted the "T-6" and "T-B" tanks into service, it is necessary to introduce high caliber 85 mm guns and larger into tank destroyer brigades instead of 76 mm guns. Needless to say, with higher caliber weapons the mobility of tank destroyer brigades will decrease, but the strength of defense will increase.

Experience in offensive and defensive operations shows that the maneuverability of guns and batteries in the first line of defense is impossible as the artillery takes heavy losses in men, materiel, and cars and the objectives are not achieved.

Chiefly manueuvers are performed by reserve regiments or brigades that are deployed in directions where the enemy is likely to send tanks.

The introduction of a self propelled gun regiment into the brigade will help with combat against "T-6" and "T-B" heavy tanks.

Commander of the 10th Tarnopol Order of Lenin Independent Guards Tank Destroyer Brigade, Guards Lieutenant Colonel Bazplenko"





* 152 mm HEAT was not available at this time. Special anti-tank ammunition for the 152 mm gun-howitzer was a sharp tipped AP shell.

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