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    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf

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    Post by mechanic on Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:06 pm

    Any chance to see the mission with a famous tanker Kurt Knispel?

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Knispel

    With 168 acknowledged kills, Kurt Knispel was by far the most successful tank soldier of the Second World War. The actual number of enemy tanks destroyed by him may be nearer to 195. Beyond that he took part in a hundred minor advances and relief attacks, supporting the infantry by taking out enemy bunkers and artillery positions ana helping repel infantry assaults. When he was decorated with the Iron Cross, First Class, Knispel had fifty enemy tanks to his credit, a number which won other gunners the Knight's Cross.

    On 15 April 1945 the 503rd heavy tank battalion was sent into the 357th Infantry Division's area in order to help the division establish a new defense front. On 19 April there were several sharp engagements with waves of Soviet tanks attempting to outflank the German positions.
    It was there that Kurt Knispel experienced something like his swansong, for he accounted for four of the thirteen enemy tanks destroyed. The fighting intensified on 21 April and Knispel knocked out four tanks and three antitank guns. His was one of the five Tigers that the battalion was able to field. Then the small Kampfgruppe was joined by three Tigers from the workshops. An entire Soviet armored group with mounted infantry broke through the front, resulting in one of the last big armored engagements of the war. Ten enemy tanks were knocked out in front of a dairy farm. Then the panzers counterattacked, led by Knispel in his Tiger II. He approached a small group of enemy tanks and destroyed three. Following this smashing success the panzers assembled in Laa. Lt. Linkenbach had been seriously wounded and was put up for the Knight's Cross.
    From Zingendorf, site of the battalion command post, the unit moved to Wostitz on 26 April. The next day saw a resumption of heavy fighting, which lasted until 30 April. Six enemy tanks were destroyed. According to a member of Knispel's crew, on 29 April 1945 he destroyed his 168th and last enemy tank. He was then attacked by several enemy tanks and was killed. Fw. Skoda, who had rushed to Knispel's aid, was also killed.
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    Post by mechanic on Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:37 pm

    Wallpaper Kurt Knispel
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf 69kjlf
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    Post by Deviator on Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:07 am

    Дзесьці чытаў,што Kurt Knispel быў не ў пашане ў начальства за сваё паводзіны.Любіў танкіст выпіць і пабуяніць,набіць морду афіцэру старэй па званні і г.д.Так, вядомы выпадак,калі ён збіў
    канваіра SS ,калі той без прычыны застрэліў ваеннапалоннага.
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    Post by lockie on Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:11 am

    I've started to make the mission devoted to Kurt Knispel, based on the above epizode happened on 29 April 1945. Mostly the script is ready. User has a task consequently capture three settlements, which defended with AT guns and tanks, which attacks during the mission. There is one question. I was sure Knispel had a fight against American forces and already prepared the units. But when I started to compile the quotes it appeared Knispel fought only at East front. So, the question is: leave as it is or replace American armour on the Soviet? The Soviet units is more powerful, like SU-100, T-34/85, JS-2, but infantry out of panzerfaust. On the other hand American tanks more weaker (M4A3/76, Pershing), but infantry has bazooka. I'd prefer the variant with US forces, it's more exiting and fun! I'd like to hear the other opinions. So far, what we do have:
    GER
    1. 3x Pz.VI/B + inf. platoon (under user command)
    2. 4x StuG III ausf.G

    USA
    1. 15x M4A3 (diff. mod.), depends on the balance
    2. 9x AT guns 76mm (diff. mod.)
    3. 3x infantry AT squad(3x soldiers equipped with bazooka)

    BTW
    It's interesting K. Knispel started his career as a loader(same as O.Carius) in 12th Panzer Division, 29th Tank Regiment.

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Ibb8k0
    May 1944: Tank commander Fendesack and gunner Knispel. Both have reason to be happy: After the bitter fighting of June 1943 at Unternehmen Zitadelle, they were sent to Thuringia for rest and refitting.
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    Post by mechanic on Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:57 pm

    I like both variants Smile
    Nice photo!
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    Post by Txema on Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:22 pm

    Hi Lockie !

    Here you have some information about Kurt Knispel in Normandy !

    The Book is "Panzer Aces ii", by Franz Kurowski

    https://books.google.es/books?id=7Nf6EeZrW1YC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=knispel+caen&source=bl&ots=Ifvbhy-JOu&sig=AxA_sS1vi2UOipuB1T1cRfBvdM8&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiLn5Lr3bLaAhUFxxQKHZnSDHU4ChDoAQg5MAM#v=onepage&q=knispel%20caen&f=false
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    Post by lockie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:49 am

    Txema wrote:Here you have some information about Kurt Knispel in Normandy !
    The Book is "Panzer Aces ii", by Franz Kurowski
    Thanks Txema for the info!
    I've this book, but there are almost no any text abt. Knispel' fighting with allies forces, except mention "enemy tanks". Suppose it was "Cromwell"?
    Knispel often knocked out the enemy's point tanks from long range, from which his King Tiger was not even visible.
    "Knispel's name was on everyone's lips. He was the wonder of the panzer arm."
    503rd Schwere Panzer-Abteilung where Knispel served, arrived in Normandy on 8th July 1944. At the end of August after heavy battles battalion lost almost all "King Tigers" and had to return to Germany. That's all info presented in the book.

    So far, I've written the next history note.

    Operation "Goodwood" was a British offensive in the Second World War, that took place between 18 and 20 July 1944 as a part
    of the battle for Caen in Normandy, France.
    The British 11th Armoured Division was assigned to lead the advance towards Cagny and capture Bras, Hubert-Folie, Verrieres and
    Fontenay-le-Marmion. Its armoured brigade was to bypass most of the German-held villages in its area, leaving them to be dealt
    with by follow-up waves of the 159th Infantry Brigade.
    The Germans considered the Caen area to be the foundation of their position in Normandy and were determined to maintain a defensive
    arc from the English Channel to the west bank of the Orne. The main armoured unit of the German defence was a 21st Panzer Division,
    reinforced with a 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion, which included ten "King Tigers", was located to north-east of Cagny in a position
    to support Kampfgruppe of Oberst Hans von Luck. The task was prevent the enemy's breakthrough near Colombelles area, which had
    place on 18th July 1944.

    According to this note we have a mission King Tiger vs Sherman! It is the first such confrontation in the STA mod!

    PS
    It is a good scenario for the movie "Fury II" bounce I guessthere should be one King Tiger on the move.
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    Post by lockie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:55 pm

    As it appeared the Commander of sPzAbt 503 during period February-December 1944 was Hauptmann Rolf Fromme. He was awarded with a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
    It was a highest award in the military and paramilitary Germany forces during WWII. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades were based on four separate enactments. The total number of awarded in Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross is 179.
    Well, I didn't suppose to see commander in a rank of Hauptmann. Supposed it should be a Major at least.
    Photo from the book "The Combat History of GERMAN TIGER TANK BATTALION 503 IN WORLD WAR II edited By Franz-Wilhelm Lochmann, Richard Freiherr von Rosen, and Alfred Rubbel"
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf 0a1fromme

    The mission in common case is ready and now under a final adjusting. It'll be the first mission in the campaign "Mein Panzerkampf".
    http://stasf2008.forumotion.com/t1019-campaign-with-king-tiger-pz-vi-ausf-b

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf 0a2knispel01 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf 0aa3

    Here's a mission briefing, thank to Monseigneur Frinik for proofreading.
    briefing:

    Initial situation:
    Spearhead elements of the British 11th Armoured Division broke through the German front near Colombelles area
    and moved towards Cagny. In order to stop the enemy, the the OKW (Wehrmacht High Command) decided to transfer
    the general reserve to bolster the defence. Thus, the 21st Panzer Division reinforced with a 503rd Heavy
    Panzer Battalion equipped with a newest heavy tanks Pz.VI ausf. B "King Tiger" was sent to halt the British advance...

    Combat order:
    The 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion together with 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment has been tasked to stop the
    the British armoured columns of the 148th Royal Tank Regiment, which are moving towards Cagny and then
    cosiquently dislodge their forces from the occupied settlements and farmstead. This attak has a purpose to prevent
    the further advance of the British 11th Armoured Division and cutting off their supply lines.
    - Mein Freund Kurt, your assault group consist of the four newest heavy Panzers "King Tiger" equipped with a
    long-barreld gun 88mm and supported by the infantry of the 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment. You must stay on the
    enemy way as a strong wall and send him to the hell! No any free path for the enemy!
    - Dismissed!

    Your Task:
    You are Feldwebel Kurt Knispel. There are three heavy tanks Pz.VI ausf.B "King Tiger" and infantry platoon
    under your command.
    Your squad operates as a main unit of the joint attack.
    You have to:
    - attack and capture the Farmsted, Knutor and lastly the Allies Base
    - during your movement be preperad to repel any enemy armoured counterattack!

    Callsigns:
    HQ(HeadQuarter) is OAK
    Your group is WOLF
    Sturmgeschutz platoon is LUCHS

    Artillery Support:
    No artillery support

    Air Support:
    No air support

    Reconnaissance:
    All settlements are occupied by enemy infantry equipped with bazooka (or piats - British panzerfaust). Allies panzer units
    are armed with a "Sherman" tanks. Presumably, the experimental American "Pershing" heavy tank equipped with 90mm gun
    might be present.

    The Commander of the 21st Panzer Division Generalleutnant Edgar Feuchtinger
    The Commander of the 503rd Heavy Tank Batallion Hauptmann Rolf Fromme
    It is too easy with 4xStuG enclosed. I'm thinking to replace them on one King Tiger.
    Here's a map. User should consequently capture three points: farmstead, khutor and base. During his movement he will be attacked by the Shermans (15x depends on the balance).
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Mission_kk


    Last edited by lockie on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by Kozak76 on Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:58 am

    When the mission will be ready?
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    Post by lockie on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:50 pm

    Kozak76 wrote:When the mission will be ready?
    I guess it'll be ready at this weekend.
    Finally, I've got decision there will be 4x Pz.VI/B + Platoon Gebirgsjagger. That will be more or less closer to the reality and I hope well balanced, coz 4x StuG is a very strong unit.

    I've written three phrases for the German crew when they die. So, if someone has ability to voice it then be my guest!

    This is WOLF TWO. My tank is under fire! Leave that f.cked grave!
    This is WOLF THREE. Yankee hit my tank! Get the f.ck outta here!
    This is WOLF FOUR. My tank destroyed! Long live to Fuhrer!
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    Post by Txema on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:56 pm

    Hi Lockie !

    The mission sounds great !

    To make the mission harder it would be very nice to have a Sherman Firefly in some of the British tank platoons. I have read that Sherman Fireflies were used by the British in Normandy in their Sherman tank platoons (one Sherman Firefly per platoon).

    Txema
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    Post by lockie on Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:00 pm

    Txema wrote:To make the mission harder it would be very nice to have a Sherman Firefly in some of the British tank platoons.
    Good idea! Three "Firefly" implemented!
    And finally mission has been transferred into the personal Campaign "Mein Panzerkampf"!  happy
    Now campaign will be available only testing, TSF members and for those who already donated!
    In fact, it's not a campaign, coz it has only one mission, but we are not in hurry Wink

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Kampf1 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Kampf2 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Cagny

    There are some screens.
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_00 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_01 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_02

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_03 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_04 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Farm_05


    I've to note that mission is a very resourceful!Scared I couldn't finish it because of the memory lack. I've captured "Farmstead" then got CTD. So, I had to delete the enemy tanks then run the mission to be sure it works fine.


    So far Allies has depends on balance:
    - 6x M4A1/76 VVSS(early/late)
    - 3x M-26 "Pershing"
    - 3x M4A3/76 VVSS
    - 3x M4A4 "Firefly"
    - 6x ATG
    - 2x Thunderbolt
    - infantry

    BTW
    "King Tiger" has a cockpit, but it doesn't work properly, coz loader just sitting unmovable. Hope it'll be fixed! Cool

    PS
    here's a small announcement. Deviator managed to create a ground pillbox! Shocked
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Pill_0000
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    Post by frinik on Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:40 am

    I think it doe s not make sense to put Pershings in that mission. Historically they were not sued before March 1945 and never by the Brits. Why not put a few fireflies instead? I know our friend Lockie is going to answer "ït's only a game!" but I crave historical accuracy. We also need the Churchill model with the 76 mm gun.

    Good work Lockie and Deviator|!
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    Post by lockie on Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:08 am

    frinik wrote: I think it doe s not make sense to put Pershings in that mission. Historically they were not sued before March 1945 and never by the Brits.
    Absolutely agree! I've put this tank in the missions, coz there were some wishes to see how KT acts against Pershing. You may be assured that I will make a change as soon u let me know what the Sherman should be placed instead. 3x Firefly already presented. There are left Sherman M4A1/75(early/late) with 75mm gun, which is three times weaker than M-26, but historically it fits like a glove!  gcat
    Well, in fact all Sherman should have been equipped with 75mm gun(short-barreled), but as I told before - it wont be interested at all, coz KT would not get a strong opponent.

    Why not put a few fireflies instead? I know our friend Lockie is going to answer "ït's only a game!" but I crave historical accuracy. We also need the Churchill model with the 76 mm gun.
    It's only a game!  cheers2
    Hey, Firefly already implemented Very Happy
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    Post by frinik on Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:53 am

    Ok why not put Shermans Ma3 Hvss??? 6 of them? |Or replace the Pershings with M36????
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    Post by lockie on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:05 am

    frinik wrote:Ok why not put Shermans Ma3 Hvss??? 6 of them? |Or replace the Pershings with M36????
    OK, I may do these changes, though M4A3E8/76W HVSS started his production since August 1944. It the best case they arrived to Normandy in September 1944. AFAIK, they took part in 1945 on the West front.
    The first 40 SPG M36s did not make it overseas until September 1944, and entered combat in October 1944. There should be M-10, but STA mod doesn't has it.
    If we would keep the history groove in a very strong manner then in the mission should be presented only Sherman M4A1 with a short-barreled 75mm gun. It'll be boring to see such confrontation. There should be let's say 30 Shermans vs one King Tiger What?
    I don't know how it'll be better. OK, let's finish firstly the the test, then mission will be presented to TSF members and let's see opinion!

    Personally, I don't think if somebody care what the tanks presented in the mission. I may say more - user must be expert to recognize M4A1/75 from M4A1/76 and be super expert to know exactly the date of production Whistle
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    Post by woofiedog on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:45 pm

    Have to say that the multiple goals incorporated into this mission is excellent and really adds a feeling of realism of a well thoughtout plan while playing out this mission accomplish a successful end. Great work. Very Happy

    As far as Sherman/Firefly or Pershing's tanks being used, I prefer the Sherman/Firefly. Because it simulates the time period of the mission itself.
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    Post by lockie on Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:59 pm

    woofiedog wrote:Have to say that the multiple goals incorporated into this mission is excellent and really adds a feeling of realism of a well thoughtout plan while playing out this mission accomplish a successful end. Great work. Very Happy
    Thanks Woofie!
    In this mission, if user take a seat as a driver then he has to go more than 2km! Be warned abt. engine overheat! If u will be careless - then be prepared to get a pretty good chance of the engine malfunction  Embarassed

    As far as Sherman/Firefly or Pershing's tanks being used, I prefer the Sherman/Firefly. Because it simulates the time period of the mission itself.
     
    Under strong pressure and keeping the historic groove, I had to remove Pershing and replace it on Sherman M4A2 with 75mm.

    And now Gentlemen, let me introduce a video of that mission made by our Golden camera - Geoweb35! Let's see the BIG FAT GUY in the action!

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    Post by lockie on Wed May 02, 2018 10:09 pm

    New mission added! It is significantly redesigned mission N8 from the "Combat episodes". Now user will meet T-34/85 and JS-2! Also there will be many AT guns presented on the map. Thanks to Monseigneur Frinik for the proofreading!
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Mp_021 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Mp_022 Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Kt44_1

    history note:
    By the end of August 1944 "Operation Bagration" was ended. As a result the German Army Group "Centre" was destroyed and expelled from Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania.
    The Red Army broke into Poland and developed further offensive success on the right wing of the 1st Belarus Front. The Red Army was ordered to reach Narew river and attempt to gain a control of the right river bank between the two Polish towns of Pultusk and Serock.
    By September 9th, despite on the stubborn resistance of the German 20th Army Corps, the 65th Soviet Army assisted with a 1st Guards Tank Corps, completed the task and established a bridgehead 25km in wide and up to 18km in depth. This bridgehead had a vital strategic importance as initial position for further invasion to the West and finally cut off and isolated the German armies in East Prussia. The German Command, realizing the importance of the bridgehead, called it a "pistol aimed at the heart of Germany" and ordered a counteroffensive to eliminate it as faster as possible.
    On October 4th 1944 at 5:00 AM, German troops with a forces of the 252nd Infantry Divisions, 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion, the 3rd and 25th Panzer Division launched a powerful strike towards the bridgehead held by the 65th Soviet Army. The Soviet 105th Rifle Corps, holding positions in the center of defencive lines, could not resist the German attack and had to retreat back to the river. Only immediate assistance from the 1st Guards Tank Corps and anti-tank artillery halted the German advance. On the next day, the positions of the Soviet troops on the bridgehead were exposed with another strike of the German armour with the leading role assigned to the 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion.
    Briefing:
    Initial situation:
    It is 5th October 1944. Army Group "Centre (Mitte)". 503rd Schwere Panzer Abteilung (Heavy Tank Battalion). Poland, region of Serock.
    German forces develops an offensive against the Soviet troops located on the right bank of the river Narew.

    Combat order:
    The 503rd Schwere Panzer Abteilung together with a units of the 3rd and 25th Panzer Divisions and supported with 252nd Infantry
    Divisions has been tasked to break through the defence of the Soviet 65th Army and drop the enemy to the Narew River, then develop an offensive
    towards the town of Serock. The attack will start at 8:00 AM on October 5th, 1944.

    Your Task:
    You are Feldwebel Kurt Knispel. There are three heavy tanks Pz.VI ausf.B "Kingtiger" and infantry platoon under your command.
    Your platoon operates as a standalone unit on the battlefield and participate in the common assault.
    You have to:
    - break through the enemy first and second defencive lines
    - be prepared to repel any enemy armoured counterattack
    - Dismissed!

    Callsigns:
    HQ(HeadQuarter) is OAK
    Main tank group is MARDER
    Your platoon is WOLF

    Artillery Support:
    Artillery support will be launched during attack.

    Air Support:
    No air support

    Reconnaissance:
    The right bank of the Narew River is holding by the enemy with a forces of the Soviet 105th Rifle Corps and elements of
    the 1st Guards Tank Corps equipped with a tanks T-34/85 and JS-2. The whole battlefield is under a cross-fire of the enemy AT guns.

    The Commander of the 2nd Army, Generaloberst Walter Weiss
    The Commander of the 503rd Heavy Tank Batallion Hauptmann Rolf Fromme


    Last edited by lockie on Thu May 03, 2018 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by frinik on Thu May 03, 2018 4:36 am

    Looking forward to the new mission. The current one is one of my favourites. Thanks Lockie!
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    Post by lockie on Thu May 03, 2018 4:19 pm

    frinik wrote:Looking forward to the new mission. The current one is one of my favourites. Thanks Lockie!
    U're welcome! I've simplified the mission and made the scripts more variable. Now u don't need to wait a reinforcement of the 5x Pz.VI
    Attack the first defencive line then second.

    That is the most distressed thing in the game! Your weapon was damaged! Sad
    This is because I've decided to suppress the infantry in the trench. Someone shoot with a grenade at my barrel and ... mission over. The rule is - don't go over the trench, which fulfilled with an infantry. In SF infantry is a very strong and may damage or even destroy the tank with grenades.
    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf Hole1_0007
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    Post by frinik on Thu May 03, 2018 11:49 pm

    I have been saying for long now that there 's an issue with the Tiger II's gun .It gets damaged easily even shots that rebound on the ground without touching or hitting the barrel may result in the gun being disabled.
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    Post by lockie on Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:54 pm

    I'm still obsessed with idea of confrontation King Tiger vs Pershing!
    What's scenario will be the most suitable? March-April 1945? What's the place? Any ideas?
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    Post by Txema on Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:42 am

    Hi Lockie!

    It seems that in this book you can find combat episondes between the Pershing and Tiger I and Tiger II !

    https://www.amazon.com/Pershing-Tiger-Germany-1945-Duel/dp/1472817168/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530322706&sr=1-1&keywords=pershing+vs+tiger
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    Post by lockie on Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:06 am

    Txema wrote:It seems that in this book you can find combat episondes between the Pershing and Tiger I and Tiger II !
    https://www.amazon.com/Pershing-Tiger-Germany-1945-Duel/dp/1472817168/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530322706&sr=1-1&keywords=pershing+vs+tiger
    That's a good book! It turned out that Pershing and KTII never met at the battlefield, but there some moments, which could be applied into missions, ie:

    Quote N1.

    The arrival of Task Force Welborn in Elsdorf was reported to Bayerlein. This was not unexpected since the town was on the main road to Cologne and was a significant rail junction. Bayerlein ordered a small Kampfgruppe from 9. Panzer-Division toward the town. This included at least three Tiger I tanks of sPzAbt (FKL) 301 and several PzKpfw IV tanks from Panzer-Regiment 33. US reports estimated there were 10-15 German tanks in and around the town. The Tigers arrived in the town after dark and were informed by the Grenadiere that there were American tanks at the southern edge of the town near the railroad tracks.
    One Tiger I, Nr. 201, moved down Koln-Aachener Strase where its crew could hear the sound of tank motors ahead. The tactical number suggests that it was the tank of the commander of 2./sPzAbt (FKL) 301. Two tanks from F/33rd Armored, an M4 and the T26E3 named "Fireball," pulled up behind
    one of the Panzersperren on the main street near the railroad crossing. Around 2100hrs, the M4 was set ablaze, either by a Panzerfaust or German artillery fire. This fire silhouetted the turret of "Fireball" and exposed it to Tiger I Nr. 201, which at this stage was only 100yd away. The Tiger I fired three shots in rapid succession. The first shot was lucky and penetrated through the coaxial machine-gun opening in the gun mantlet, killing gunner Cpl John McGraw and loader Pfc Francis Rigdon. Rigdon had chambered a 90mm round in the breech, and the second 8.8cm round hit the muzzle brake of "Fireball," jamming the barrel and causing the 90mm round to detonate prematurely in the tube. The third 8.8cm round glanced off the upper corner of the mantlet of "Fireball," and ricocheted into the commander's hatch, ripping it off.

    Quote N2.

    Sgt Nicholas Mashlonik was the commander of T26E3 No. 40. He had been selected to command the company's first T26E3 since he was the most experienced tank commander in the company, credited with knocking out 12 German tanks and surviving the loss of seven of his own M4 tanks since Normandy. Mashlonik later recalled:
    The company commander and I did some investigating. By crawling out to a position where we could see from ground level, it was a sight to behold. The German Tiger was slightly dug in and this meant it would be more difficult to destroy. I decided that I could take this Tiger with my 90mm. Our M26 was in defilade position, more or less hidden in a little valley. I detailed my driver (T/5 Ernest) Cade and gunner (Cpl Carl) Gormick to accompany me on this mission. I would be gunner and have Gormick load. I instructed both of them that once we had fired three shots - two armor piercing and one HE point detonating - we would immediately back up so as not to expose ourselves too long on the top of the hill. Just as we started our tank and moved very slowly creeping forward, I noticed that the German Tiger was moving out of the position and exposed his belly to us. I immediately put a shell into its belly and knocked it out. The second shot was fired at his track and knocked his right track off. The third shot was fired at the turret with HE point detonating and destroyed the escaping crew.
    At the time three other German armored vehicles were leaving Elsdorf and were on the road driving to my right flank. I waited until all of them were on the road with their rear ends exposed and then I picked off each one with one shell each getting the last one first, then the second one and then the first one - just like shooting ducks. Then I came back to each vehicle with HE point detonating and destroyed the crews as they were dismounting from the burning vehicles. It was our first day in combat with the Pershing and it was both fruitful and exciting.

    Mashlonik then fired at three PzKpfw IV Ausf J of Panzer-Regiment 33 (9. Panzer-Division) that were operating slightly to the west of the Tiger I. Two were hit first with a T33 projectile, followed by two M71 high-explosive rounds to kill the escaping crews and set the tanks on fire. The fate of the fourth German tank was not recorded and the after-action report that day credited Mashlonik with three tanks, not four. Mashlonik's crew knocked out another PzKpfw IV a few days later during the advance on Cologne, making his tank the highest-scoring Pershing in the ETO. The remaining German tanks in Elsdorf retreated as American infantry swarmed through the town in the late morning.

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf T26_1
    A portrait of the crew of T26E3 No. 40 of E/33rd Armored, sometimes dubbed "Fireball's Avenger," commanded by Sgt Nicholas Mashlonik (second from left) and including Cpl Carl Gormick (gunner), T/5 Ernest Cade (driver), Pfc Ralph Ruiz (loader), and Pfc Walter Bozenko (assistant driver).

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf T26_2
    This Tiger I of 2./sPzAbt (FKL) 301 was knocked out by Sgt Nicholas Mashlonik's Pershing tank near a building on Jackerather Strase on the morning of February 27, 1945.

    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf T26_3
    The Tiger's second 8.8cm projectile hit the muzzle brake of "Fireball," splitting it open, and detonating the loaded 90mm round in the barrel. This gun was removed and replaced with a spare barrel from an M36
    90mm GMC tank destroyer.


    Kurt Knispel' mission (King Tiger), campaign Mein Panzerkampf T26_4
    During the evening of 26 February 1945, Tiger I Nr. 201 of sPzAbt (FKL) 301 moved down Koln-Aachener StraBe in Elsdorf to confront the approaching tanks of Task Force Welborn of the 3rd Armored Division.

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