ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sandomierz, Poland, Aug. 1944: Battle of Titan Tanks

Updated on May 3, 2011
Russian Joseph Stalin-2
Russian Joseph Stalin-2
German PzVIB King Tiger
German PzVIB King Tiger
Battle area
Battle area
A Tiger trophy with relaxing Russian comrades
A Tiger trophy with relaxing Russian comrades

In late July and early August, 1944, the Russian juggernaut had punted the German war machine out of Russia and into Poland. Many Russian units were establishing bridgeheads over the Vistula River, south of Warsaw. The Germans were in panic mode, tossing threadbare units into the fray attempting to hold the tide.

The German counterattack at Sandomierz, Poland, like many then, was a rushed affair. The Germans were trying to plug gaps in the line with just about any unit. The unique thing about this battle was that both side's baddest tanks first met. The German's with the untried in battle King Tiger, or, PzVIb, with so thick of armor it seemed unstoppable and the Russian Joseph Stalin-2, equally monsterous in dimensions and armor. For the Germans, the whole attack was rushed, plagued with numerous breakdowns of the new tank. The crews had little training in the monster, and, there was no reconnaissance of the battle area. Hitler was convinced victory was theirs and the Russians would be pushed back across the Vistula. For the Russian, they sat and waited while they built up their bridgehead.

Few German accounts of the battle exist and the few Russian ones are confusing as to dates and sequence of battle events. The only thing for certain is that the German's arrived at Szyldow on August 11 after two days of march and breakdowns with the new tank. The 501 Tank battalion had 45 PzVIb's, but only 20 arrived for this battle and of that, only 11 actually made it to staging near Ogledow. For infantry, Cos. 6,7, 8, 10\ 2Bn\79PG Reg. of 16th Panzer arrived, as did a mix of 20 Pz V and PzIV tanks. For the Russians, near Staszow, the 2nd and 3rd Tank Bns of 53rd Brigade and the 52nd Tank Brigade waited. The 11 JS-2 tanks were further back in the 71st Bn. Also present was the 294 infantry regiment from 97th Division, 51st Tank Brigade, 1893 Self-propelled Bn with SU 122 tanks, 353rd Antitank Regiment, plus two units of artillery.

The Germans had a total AFV strength 40. The Russian, 60 AFV. From the reports, it is unclear if the attack began at 0700 on the 12th or 13th, in any case, the German new weapon, never seen by any Russian, lurched into view, jerked and swerved (a clear indication that the crew was not accustomed in driving it). The Russians from 400m out, thought it was a Panther (PzV), but then, thought otherwise when its massive 88mm gun fired. Russian fire seemed to bounce off the front-and it did. As the Germans made their clumsy advance due to sandy ground (they were forced to stay on roads), Russians in ambush positions allowed the tank to pass, which allowed them to attack the flank of the tank. It was soon found out, these monsters could be immobilized by aiming at the wheels.

The Joseph Stalin-2 tank was the other monster. The tanks fired at a range of 2000 yds, other tanks did not dare to get closer. Because the German gun and AT shell and sighting optics were superior to the Russian, the King Tiger was King, but a very slow one, averaging not more than 6-7 mph in battle. This proved to be a real negative because the Russian tanks, were twice the speed and could manuever to attack from the side or rear. Even its JS-2 was faster and could destroy the King Tiger.

In battle, many of the new German tank did what they loved to do-breakdown. Their crew would simply abandon them. After a two day battle, 12 of the new tanks had been lost, three were operational and simply abandoned. The entire counterattack had been a waste and utterly failed because the Russians had expanded it with growing numbers. Hitler was furious that his new "wonder weapon" had so many issues and sacked its commander! The tank was sent back to Berlin for refitting.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)