Tank Ramming in WW2 – Ramming Speed feat. @The_Chieftain


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Tank Ramming in WW2 - Ramming Speed feat. @The_Chieftain



Tank vs. Tank ramming is portrayed in movies and computer games. Yet, if one looks at German and US WW2 regulations it seems be highly discouraged at least at first. The number of incidents seems also rather limited. In this video we look at regulations, veteran interviews, memoirs, photos and other sources that range from pre-war to 1945 and cover the Eastern and also Western front to get a better understanding of tank vs. tank ramming in World War 2.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Militärhistorische Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden in 2019. http://www.mhmbw.de/

Big thank you here for Dr. Roman Töppel for bringing up this topic and providing me with access to his notes and many sources on the matter. Thank you to Jens Wehner, Chieftain and Peter Samsonov for further input and support. Special thanks to Andrew for reviewing the script.

Cover design by vonKickass.

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» TIMESTAMPS «

00:12 – Working with German Veterans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzfKgfTOCf8
00:29 – Underground Tank Depot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae6c0zJLLyY
00:38 – Tank Ramming – Tankers Commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNLfDPGVmHU
02:17 – Soviet Tank Repair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrPlzexGnS0
02:53 – Stug School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w47yYXLFGM
04:13 – Chieftain’s Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT
10:30 – Kursk Defensive Tactics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxGKhGLUpNI
11:56 – German Halftrack SdKfz 251: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60oHeCZHtvI
12:44 – Tank Archives’ Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EarlessPierre
22:24 – Who lied more – Officers vs. Soldiers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pQ4Vx0Yw9k

» SOURCES «

Jentz, Thomas L.: Panzertruppen 1 – The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany’s Tank Force – 1933-1942. Schiffer Military History: Atglen, USA, 1996.

Ritgen, Helmut: 6th Panzer Division Operations. In: Glantz, David (Ed.): The Initial Period of War on the Eastern Front. Frank Cass: Portland, Oregon, USA, 1993, p. 108-120.

Kauffmann, Kurt: Panzerkampfwagenbuch, 2. Verbesserte und erweitere Auflage, 1940, reprint 2014.

FM 17-30: Tank Platoon, War Department: October 1942.

FM 17-33: Tank Battalion, War Department: December 1944.

FM 17-10: Armored Force Field Manual. Tactics and Technique. War Department: March 1944.

Glantz, David M.: Colossus Reborn. The Red Army at War, 1941-1943. University Kansas Press: Kansas, US, 2005.

Lochmann, Franz-Wilhelm; Rosen, Richard Freiherr von; Rubbel, Alfred: The Combat History of German Tiger Tank Battalion 503 in World War II. Stackpole Books: Mechanicsburg, PA, USA, 2008 (2000).

Wijers, Hans: “…als Panzerfahrer 7000 Kilometer im Sturmgeschütz…“. Kriegserlebnisse von Uffz. Heinrich Engel, Ritterkreuzträger in der Sturmgeschütz Brigade 660 und 259, Brummen: 1997.

Babadshanjan, A. Ch.: Hauptstoßkraft. Militärverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik: Berlin, DDR, 1985.

BArch, RS 2-2/25: Generalkommando II. SS-Panzerkorps, KTB Nr. 6 der Abt. Qu. vom 01.06.1943-02.08.1943 mit Anlagen.

TsAMO: F. 500, Op. 12480, D. 137: Sturmgeschütz-Schule Lehrstab: Merkblatt – Die Geschützbedienung, Burg b. M., Oktober 1943.

Schneider, Wolfgang: Tiger im Kampf. Die Einsätze in der Normandie. Schneider Armour Research: Uelzen, 2004.

Samsonov, Peter: Sherman Rammer. Tank Archives, May, 2020. Accessed: 16th May 2020.
https://www.tankarchives.ca/2020/05/sherman-rammer.html

https://memorialmuseums.net/eng/denkmaeler/view/1505/Denkmal-an-die-Schlacht-bei-Kursk

https://www.unithistories.com/officers/Army_officers_G02.html#Gorman_JR

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gorman_(politician)

#Tank #Ramming #WW2

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44 Comments

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  1. ERRORS:
    On the Sherman ramming King Tiger incident, It was recently brought to my attention that there is a lot more research out there. I was not too happy with the sources at the time, as you might have noticed I noted several issues and points that don't add up. Based on the additional material, it seems my analysis has some serious errors in it. For a more detailed look into this topic, check out this series of threads: https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=144696&sid=114d02188117a49438eed023b34a2121

    TIMESTAMPS:
    00:12 – Working with German Veterans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzfKgfTOCf8
    00:29 – Underground Tank Depot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae6c0zJLLyY
    00:38 – Tank Ramming – Tankers Commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNLfDPGVmHU
    02:17 – Soviet Tank Repair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrPlzexGnS0
    02:53 – Stug School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w47yYXLFGM
    04:13 – Chieftain’s Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheChieftainWoT
    10:30 – Kursk Defensive Tactics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxGKhGLUpNI
    11:56 – German Halftrack SdKfz 251: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60oHeCZHtvI
    12:44 – Tank Archives’ Channel: https://www.youtube.com/tankarchives
    22:24 – Who lied more – Officers vs. Soldiers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pQ4Vx0Yw9k

  2. How to upgrade your lucky Stug to Jagd Panzer trying ramming the enemy.
    How close would you be to the enemy when your trying to ram the enemy.
    Bernard I really respect the work you do here. Your research is enormously thorough and without peer when it comes to original sources of this type of material.

  3. 7:21 "why would the T-34 try to ram the stug." German man with spreadsheets and calculator making a video trying to figure this out in 2020. 1942 Russia: Vodka in hand, "DVAI COMRADES UUUUUUUUURAHH!"

  4. soviet tank commander: dammit our gun is damaged, driver, battle speed!
    soviet tank driver: commander, i can already see the tank!
    soviet tank commander: DRIVER, RAMMING SPEED DRIVER! FORWARD!

  5. An older friend of mine studied in the Soviet Union (in the 80s). He spoke with lots of veterans. Some of them tank crew members. An they told him lots of stories of ramming (in addition to other anecdotes of course), and ramming was indeed a desperation tactic, but it seems not so uncommon. Some of the anecdotes i remember my friend was told; one occasion the tank was hit and in flames and so close to a fascist tank that they just rammed it without to much results, only concussions and a bleeding forehead in the crew… and continue to ram another tank that was ahead. This both tanks were wrecked, and they even fight the other crew when abandoning the tank. One of them die in the action. Other crew told than in other occasions they just were out of ammunition, and they prefer ramming a tank if they were in close combat or almost serve as a easy target that leave they friends alone.

  6. Interesting! Never read of tanks ramming tanks. Soviet tanks occasionally crushed 37mm PAKs while fighting the Finns. If the Finns happened to have any tanks at all, they were outnumbered by Sovits by a ratio of 20 or so. Probably it was the Soviets running to each other on the narrow roads if any tanks collided at all.

  7. There were several incidents of opposing tanks colliding in the Pacific theater. There also exists a published photo of a Japanese tank stuck on the engine deck of a US Sherman after plunging off an embankment onto the Sherman.

  8. I remember listening to an audio book on here, one of the Tiger driver pushed a T-34 into a tank ditch, and used it as a bridge to get to the other side lol. I think the book was called Tigers in the Mud.

  9. When going though the history of my grandfathers unit, i found an account where the neighboring brigade managed to breakthrough to an active German airfield. This brigade rammed every plane that was unfortunate to be on the ground.

  10. Over the years I have heard a few German tank crew veterans complain Russia tankers were know to ram them and it was pretty easy to knock the turret out of its gravity ball bearing tracks thus making the gun useless.

  11. My belief in a WW2 movie falls to the floor when two tanks colliding burst into flames.
    Also, when the German tank is actually an M48 with black crosses painted on it!
    This at a time (1960s) only 15+ years after WW2
    NB : I remember travelling to Switzerland by train in 1973 and seeing paddocks dotted with every type of German AFV (all painted white or yellow – scrap? or museum?)

  12. I can see if maybe the T-34 was running low on ammo after a long engagement, and after failing to eliminate the STuG with the first shot, the commander decided to make the best of the situation and immobilize the STuG with a ram. They were probably worried they wouldn't have time to get another round off before the STuG could. Maybe the loader was injured or even outright dead from previous action, or maybe the ammo rack was damaged, making loading harder. Maybe they overestimated German reloading times. There's a lot of possibilities that could've made ramming seem like a good idea, with many more opening up if the commander was inexperienced, as many Soviet soldiers were early in the war

  13. Brings back fond memory of world of tanks 🙂 Ramming things was irrationally satisfying. Notable rammers included the VK 2801, E-50/M, M6 heavy, and basically anything sitting on the edge of a cliff when an unsuspecting enemy drives underneath.

  14. I know that I am super late into commentary here, but if you're in the stug or whatever and your barrel is in the front and you're attempting to ram the running gear of another armored tracked vehicle, could you not raise your barrel? This gives you the possibility for a hull-to-running-gear impact if you can raise it enough to go over the top of the other vehicle. If I were desperate enough to try this, I think this would be a best case scenario.

  15. I would bet that in the case of the Stug case it is to be done primarily if A: the barrel or fire mechanism is broken or B: the ammo stowage was empty or only had lesser rounds like HE or alike

  16. i am certain the king tiger ramming with a sherman spoken about in this video is a version of something i read yesterday, the account i read yesterday was from the sherman commander point of view and was wildly different from the German tankers account, it painted the English tanker as a huge hero who had his sherman drive down hill gathering speed and momentum and ramming the tiger in the rear knocking it out.
    im so glad i seen this video today to get both sides looked at impartially where some truth can be found in the middle of both accounts.

  17. I would suggest that if the manuals all felt it necessary to warn the crews to not ram the enemy, it was at least felt to be a valid type of attack at some point, and was something that most crew men had at least heard tales of at some point, probably some inter-war doctrine from the 20s or 30s, and/or something that was used in Spain (Pz Is vs T-26s, out of desperation perhaps?). And considering the sheer number of half trained tank crews in action and the vast numbers of encounters, in a life-or-death, often disadvantaged combat situation, I bet there were instances where tank crews rammed other tanks, even if it was not ideal.

  18. I'd be willing to believe both accounts, mainly because as far as the Sherman crewman's concerned, if a Königstiger is traversing to shoot at you, it doesn't matter if he's going to take twenty seconds still, in your mind, it's the last moment strung out for all twenty seconds.

  19. It would be quite normal to think that the Tiger was pointing his gun at you when he was not. A so-called affective illusion. It would explain why the Tiger did not destroy the Sherman. Also, to the British person's credit, he did get his tank close enough to a tiger to collide with it. That's either brave or stupid or unlucky or all of the above.

  20. After reading David Glantz's excellent (if dry) book on Kursk, I found descriptions of a Soviet tactic that was just as, if not more insane than this: anti-tanks squads riding shotgun on the T34s. If it's true, they would jump off and throw sticky bombs at the panzers. And what would the T34 crews do if the tank got knocked out? Bale out, get the small arms, and provide cover fire for the infantry.

  21. Could both stories be true in a way ?
    Is it possible that the tiger was backing up when the Sherman did try to ram it at the same time ?
    How would the German know whether or not the intent of the Sherman ? Was he even looking behind his tank or was he still looking ahead to where his presived threat was ?