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Mike

Tigers In Combat III

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Tigers In Combat III

Helion via Casemate UK

 

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The Tiger was ordered by German High Command in 1942 after the Panzer IV found its nemesis in the shape of the Russian T-34, and through a relatively short gestation period it emerged soon after as a lumbering behemoth that seemed imperious to enemy fire, and quickly gained a reputation on the battlefield and every Allied tanker that survived being "brewed up" was taken out by a Tiger.

 

This new book from Helion Publishing is the third in a series of weighty tomes from author Wolfgang Schneider, who served in the German army for 41 years, and has written a number of books on armour over the years.  He clearly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Tiger and WWII German armour tactics, which shows through at every turn.  The book in this form is hard bound, and  runs to over 520 pages in a portrait oriented book.  The book centres on the use of the Tiger in the battlefield, including those aspects of the organisation that are often overlooked in less concise texts, such as the infrastructure required to keep them on the field, support and logistics, as well as repair and maintenance.  Even tactics and training are discussed at length, with many excerpts from training literature included, which although in German, are described in caption form by the author.  The detail given is astounding, and you get the feeling that if you were to sit there and read every single line, study all the diagrams, and perhaps have a little technical German language under your belt, you could imagine being able to mechanic your very own Tiger at least for a while.

 

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The various chapters are laid out as follows:

 

1. The establishment and structure of the Tiger units

  • The establishment dates for the tiger units
  • The stabskompanie
  • Allocation of responsibilities inside the units
  • Early experiences with the tiger

2. Training

  • Leadership training
  • Tank courses at Paderborn
  • Technical trials at Senne
  • Combat operations to the end of the war
  • Training course content
    • Weapons and equipment training
    • Tank firing practice
    • Combat training
    • Tigers in Hungarian service

3. Operating the Tiger

  • Commander's operating tasks
  • Gunner's operating tasks
  • Loader's operating tasks
  • Driver's operating tasks
  • Radio operator's tasks
  • Whole crew operating tasks
  • Establishing states of readiness
  • Peparations for towing and recovery
  • Work on the running gear
  • Care, maintenance and preservation of operational readiness in extreme environmental conditions
  • Schedule related work
  • Camouflage and the application of camouflage paint
  • Operation in winter
  • Submerged driving

4. Deployment

  • The tasks of the commander
  • Tasks of the gunner
  • Tasks of the loader
  • Tasks of the tank driver
  • Radio operator's tasks
  • Crew based tasks
  • Loading for rail transport
  • Transport across water

5. Tactics

  • General combat tactics
  • Marches
  • Reconnaissance and scouting
  • Security measures
  • Types of combat
  • Command and control
  • Collaboration with other weapons
  • The effect of enemy weapons
  • Logistics (including medical services)
  • Recovery and evacuation to the rear
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Employment of the Tiger battalions
  • Propaganda

Annex

  • Amendments to Volumes I and II
  • Literature list
  • Reports by individual Tiger battalions
  • List of regulations and manuals

 

Given the huge scope of the book, it isn't surprising that the page count is so high, but it isn't all dry text.  There are hundreds of photos and drawings, extending to 1,200 in total, many of which I have not seen before, and most are of excellent quality, with a few exceptions due to the age of the photos.  A few 3D renders are also used to illustrate different aspects of the tank's construction, and there are even a couple of bitmapped images present, which although they aren't of the best quality, don't detract from the overall experience.  Most of the photos are black and white, but there are a number of pages to the rear of the book that are in colour, which appear to be originally taken in colour, rather than colourised later.  The sheer number of photos is exemplary, and they give a complete impression of life as a Tiger crew member, as alongside the staged photos, there are many more that were taken by the crews themselves and some are candid, showing crews working, resting and playing.  If you're wondering about the Tiger II, the King Tiger, it does make the occasional appearance through the book, sometimes in the background of photos, but it is also mentioned a number of times through the pages.

 

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Conclusion

It's a work of almost biblical scope, and coupled with the previous two volumes, that I really must track down, it makes a complete reference for the legendary Tiger.  If you want such a thing, then this is for you, and it'll also keep you busy reading for quite some time.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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I had been on the fence about buying this book, already having the first two volumes.

This looks even more interesting, thanks for the excellent review.

I've ordered it, can't wait for it to arrive.

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