In discussing the employment of the Pz. Kw. 6, or
"Tiger" tank, two well-informed German noncommissioned
officers recently made a number of statements
which should be of interest and value to readers
of the Intelligence Bulletin. Although the material
contained in this section has been evaluated as substantially
correct and in line with information already
known to the Military Intelligence Division, it must
be treated with a certain degree of reserve, as is
customary with material obtained from prisoner-of-war
sources. This, however, does not alter the fact that it
can be studied with profit.
2. THE COMMENTS
a. After Pz. Kw. 6's have had to move long
distances, and before they can then go into action, a
number of adjustments must be made. For example, bogie
wheels must be changed. It is therefore unlikely
that the tanks will often be sent directly into action
after a long approach march on tracks.
b. Originally, it was planned that Pz. Kw. 6's
should be supported by an equal number of Pz. Kw.
3's to provide local protection. The latter would
move on the flanks of the main body of the Pz. Kw.
6's and cover them against hostile tank hunters
attempting to attack them at close range. During an
assault, the Pz. Kw. 6's would attack hostile heavy
tank battalions or heavy pillboxes, and the Pz. Kw.
3's would attack machine-gun nests or lighter tanks.
This method was altered in Sicily, where ground
conditions repeatedly kept tanks to the roads and limited
their usefulness—thereby decreasing the need for
local protection. At least one battalion, which should
have had nine of each type to a company, exchanged
its Pz. Kw. 3's for the Pz. Kw. 6's of another unit,
after which the company was made up of 17 Pz. Kw.
c. A prisoner of War stated that on one occasion his
turret jammed in turning, making it impossible for
the crew to blow up their tank by means of a built-in
explosive charge which was situated under one of the
plates (possibly forward of the turret) in such a way
that it could be reached only when the turret was
directly facing the rear.
d. These prisoners remarked that in a "model"
attack by a Tiger battalion, the standard company
formation is a wedge or an arrowhead, with one
platoon forward. This platoon is generally led by an
officer, whose tank moves in the center of the
formation. The company commander is forward, but not
necessarily in the lead. The battalion commander is
not forward, as a rule. It must be remembered, however,
that the "model" attack cannot take into
account such factors as variable terrain and the strength
of the opposition. Therefore, deviations from the
"model" formation are not only sanctioned, but are
The prisoners appeared to consider frontal attacks
no less usual than outflanking attacks.
e. A prisoner stated that his Pz. Kw. 6 carried
over 100 shells for the gun, "stowed everywhere";
however, the standard ammunition load is 92 shells.
According to him, although the 88-mm gun in the Pz.
Kw. 6 can fire up to 10,000 to 12,000 yards indirect,
this type of firing is very difficult and is seldom
undertaken. He declared that the best range is 1,000 to
2,000 yards—"the nearer the better."
f. Although one prisoner of war stated that the
Pz. Kw. 6 carries a gyroscopic compass, he maintained
that it is impossible to attack at night because of
vision difficulties. Theoretically, however, the
gyroscopic compass is very good for keeping direction by
night and in smoke or fog.
g. According to a prisoner, the chain of wireless
communication is from battalion to company to platoon.
The latter link is a frequency on which all the
tanks in the company are tuned, but each platoon and
headquarters has a code name by which it is called
up. For special operations—for example, long-range
reconnaissance patrols—tanks can be netted by a
frequency other than the company frequency. However,
this entails altering the sets. Alternatively
tanks can be given two sets tuned to two frequencies,
but this is seldom done except in the case of the
company headquarters tank, where it is the normal
procedure. All priority and battle messages are
passed in the clear, but important tactical terms (such
as "attack," "outflank," "assemble") have code
names (such as "dance," "sing," and so on). Each
tank carries a list of these code names.
In Russia, where German troops often were 4 miles
or so from headquarters, Soviet troops made a
practice of intercepting traffic between battalion and
company, so that they would have enough time to take
preparatory measures before company orders came
h. The Germans take great pains to camouflage
their Pz. Kw. 6's, a prisoner remarked. Every effort
was made by one particular battalion to make their
tanks look like the 3-ton personnel carrier. A dummy
radiator and front wheels were fitted to the front of
the tank, the top of the radiator being about level
with the top of the tank's hull. A thin sheet metal
body was fitted over the entire tank. This metal body
was supported by a metal projection fitted to the top
of the turret, and was not in contact with the hull
of the tank at any point. The gun projected through
a hole. Apparently the camouflage body was rotated
by the turret, and did not have to be removed when
the gun was traversed. This rather elaborate form of
camouflage exceeded the dimensions of the 3-ton
personnel carrier by at least 3 to 6 feet.