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3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

Article about: One of the most memorable tank engagements of the war occurred towards the end of the Lvov-Sandomierz offensive in Poland. On the evening of 11 August 1944, Lt. Aleksandr P. Oskin of the 53r

  1. #1

    Default 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    One of the most memorable tank engagements of the war occurred towards the end of the Lvov-Sandomierz offensive in Poland. On the evening of 11 August 1944, Lt. Aleksandr P. Oskin of the 53rd Guards Fastov Tank Brigade (6th Guards Tank Corps) was ordered to patrol the Polish village of Ogledow where he was expected to link up with the unit's 2nd Battalion. The patrol included a team of tank infantry which had been riding on his vehicle through the Byelorussian and Polish fighting since June. On reaching the village, no friendly tanks were located, and German troops were approaching the opposite end of the town. Oskin informed the brigade commander and was told to take up a defensive position and monitor the German troops. The tank hull was already well camouflaged in a field of corn, and Oskin's crew and the tank infantry camouflaged the turret with corn stalks. A German tank column entered Ogledow that evening and shot it up, but halted after dark.

    Although Oskin did not know it at the time, the tank unit was a platoon from sPzAbt 501, the first German tank unit on the Eastern Front with Hitler's latest 'wonder weapon', the new King Tiger heavy tank. The unit had disembarked earlier at Kielce with 45 King Tigers but by the time it had reached the vicinity of Ogledow on the evening of 11 August 1944, it was down to only eight tanks. The rest had broken down during the 45 km road march, mainly due to reduction gear failures.

    On the morning of 12 August, the King Tiger battalion was ordered into action to help crush the Soviet bridgehead over the Vistula River near Sandomierz. Sitting in his tank, Oskin saw the King Tiger s move out of the village. They appeared to be Panthers, but Oskin recalled an intelligence briefing in which the Soviet crews were warned to keep an eye out for a new German heavy tank. In the event, the Germans had not spotted Oskin's well camouflaged tank, and they were moving down a road where their more vulnerable sides would be exposed. Oskin ordered the loader, A. Khalyshev, to load one of his precious BR-365P hypervelocity rounds. When the King Tigers had closed to 200 m and were broadside, Oskin ordered his gunner, Abubakir Merkhaidorov, to fire. The round hit the turret side of the second tank, seemingly without effect. Actually, it had penetrated and killed some of the crew, but this was not immediately apparent to the Oskin's crew. Oskin's tank fired two more BR-365 AP rounds against the turret, and in frustration he finally ordered up another round of sub-calibre ammunition and told the gunner to hit the rear fuel tank. The King Tiger finally began to burn.

    By this time, the lead King Tiger had begun to swing its massive turret looking for its tormentor, but in all the dust raised by the impacts of the 85 mm gun, they could not find a target. Oskin's tank fired three rounds at the front of the turret, which bounced off without effect. The fourth round penetrated the turret ring, and the lead King Tiger began to burn from an ammunition fire. The third King Tiger, blind in the smoke from the fuel fire on the second King Tiger, began to back off the road at top speed. Oskin detonated the MDSh smoke cans at the back of his tank to give himself some cover, and began chasing after the third King Tiger. The fleeter T-34-85 soon caught up and Oskin managed to manoeuvre around to the rear of the King Tiger where they knocked it out with a shot into the engine compartment through the thin rear armour. On returning to the road, one of the King Tigers had stopped burning, so Oskin fired at it again with his last round of hypervelocity ammunition. Two of the King Tigers subsequently suffered catastrophic ammunition fires which blew off their turrets. German losses were eleven dead of the fifteen crew including Lt. Karnetzki and Wieman, and some of the survivors were taken prisoner by Oskin's tank riders. The Tiger battalion did not
    Know what had hit them, and their losses were attributed to 'massive anti-tank defences'.

    The third King Tiger was later recovered and sent to the Red Army tank proving ground at Kubinka, where today it still rests in the armoured force museum. Lt. Oskin was decorated with the highest Red Army award, the Hero of the Soviet Union gold star.

    my Skype: warrelics

  2. #2

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Thanks for that interesting bit of history! Being an ex-Tanker myself, normally I'd say that a tank is only as good as its crew...But in the face of so many breakdowns they must have felt rather helpless...
    cheers, Glenn

  3. #3

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    At least one shot from King Tiger will kill the T 34's crew

    my Skype: warrelics

  4. #4

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Great Dimas, I enjoyed that little tale.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Excellent thread Dimas, I pictured the entire event in my mind. It was a masterly executed ambush from a military perspective.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Great story!

    Here's a photo of Aleksandr Oskin.

    Name:  2008127234940_60.jpg
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    One of his three victims...

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    And him and his crew being greeted by townsfolk in the locale after the action.

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    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Or just a lucky "warmhead". If there will be more experienced crew in the German side, then " good bye Motherland" instead of Hero. But, I'am sure Germans will not give such a elite tanks to unexperinced crew. I think the speed and bravery - gave a big chance in this battle

    my Skype: warrelics

  8. #8

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Great stuff Dimas! Thanks

    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  9. #9

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Very interesting.

  10. #10

    Default Re: 3 King Tigers vs T 34-85

    Here is I found his fear reward from archive.
    In this document said 3 of the "Tiger's B" was shot by him, and after his attack to the village he killed in action and rammed about 80 German soldiers, more 3 King Tigers was captured by him
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	oskin.jpg 
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ID:	474114  

    my Skype: warrelics

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