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Villers-Bocage Then & Now......

Article about: Just spent a most enjoyable week in Normandy, with V-B as our 'local' town. As has been said many times, there's not much to see. But if you have a good selection of books the 'Wittmann' loc

  1. #61

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    I think the question is - why didn't either the Firefly or Tiger do very well in this case ?
    It's certainly a dramatic few moments - the two most powerful tanks in Normandy, face-to-face, blazing away.....

    The answer would seem to be 'the fog of war'. By all accounts, by the time Wittmann's Tiger had reached the maximum point of penetration in V-B, poor visibility due to smoke, rubble and dust was becoming a major factor in the fighting. He could probably barely see the Sherman at the bottom of the road ( and vice versa ) and it seems generally agreed that as soon as he realised that he was facing a high-velocity weapon he turned around - fast. The Firefly similarly probably only had a glimpse of the Tiger. Also to be taken into account ( and interesting to imagine when you visit the scene ) is the effect of very high-velocity shells flying up and down the street at flat trajectory, raising their own clouds of dust.....

    Also worth bearing in mind that the optics of the Firefly weren't as high-quality as those of the Tiger. Firefly sights had a tendency to 'go off' after a few shots ; many Firefly vistories ( such as the action which ultimately killed Wittmann ) were taken from stable positions.

  2. #62

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    Quote by Martin Bull View Post
    I think the question is - why didn't either the Firefly or Tiger do very well in this case ?
    It's certainly a dramatic few moments - the two most powerful tanks in Normandy, face-to-face, blazing away.....

    The answer would seem to be 'the fog of war'. By all accounts, by the time Wittmann's Tiger had reached the maximum point of penetration in V-B, poor visibility due to smoke, rubble and dust was becoming a major factor in the fighting. He could probably barely see the Sherman at the bottom of the road ( and vice versa ) and it seems generally agreed that as soon as he realised that he was facing a high-velocity weapon he turned around - fast. The Firefly similarly probably only had a glimpse of the Tiger. Also to be taken into account ( and interesting to imagine when you visit the scene ) is the effect of very high-velocity shells flying up and down the street at flat trajectory, raising their own clouds of dust.....

    Also worth bearing in mind that the optics of the Firefly weren't as high-quality as those of the Tiger. Firefly sights had a tendency to 'go off' after a few shots ; many Firefly vistories ( such as the action which ultimately killed Wittmann ) were taken from stable positions.
    Thanks Martin
    Really looking forward to visiting VB now, think i'm going turn the visit to VB into a Wittmann trail as it were, will also visit the scene of his destruction as it were

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