By David R. Higgins

As a prelude to the post-war idea of a unmarried "main conflict tank" layout, autos in the course of global battle II tended to be categorised as gentle, medium, and heavy, counting on their use. during this final type, tanks had grown in dimension, weight, and firepower to counter ever-improving anti-tank weapon structures. This ended in alterations in strategies and doctrine to raised combine heavy armor right into a mixed fingers approach. This used to be very true at the japanese entrance, the place the open terrain promoted armor motion and a speedy cycle of advancements. The Soviets have been speedy to boost autos that have been capable of struggle the Tiger I on an equivalent footing through past due 1943, resembling the up-gunned T-34/85 and the self-propelled ISU-152s. as the American T-26/M-26 Pershing arrived overdue within the conflict, and the British Centurion on no account, basically the Soviet IS-2 serves for example of a heavy layout that used to be fielded in huge battlefield numbers. The Soviet force to chop off enemy forces in East Prussia in the course of Operation Solstice (February 1945) is a main instance of this clash. The Germans, had constrained assets, and have been strategically at the protective, yet loved ever-shorter logistic distances as they retreated, and fought in an atmosphere and terrain that performed to the strengths of the technically-superior King Tiger. The IS-2 used to be lighter, extra maneuverable, and much extra a variety of, and used those resources to its virtue. This conflict, fought within the last months of the struggle, depicts the vintage late-war distinction among the army doctrines of Germany and the Soviet Union.

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Additional info for King Tiger vs IS-2: Operation Solstice 1945 (Duel, Volume 37)

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Along with Kaldrack’s remaining cadets, Battalion Enge and Replacement Staff for Artillery Regiment zV (“for retribution”), recently freed from their V-2 rocket-launching duties, provided 400 and 800 fighters, respectively, for Arnswalde’s defense. Possessing little more than small arms and a few machine guns these groups were bolstered by two Volkssturm battalions, a Landesschützen (Territorial Defense) battalion, and a detachment from 83rd Light Antiaircraft Battalion that provided two antiaircraft batteries, a 20mm battery, and a Even the 70-tonne Tiger II could be overturned by artillery or aerial bombing.

Preceding a Soviet armored breakthrough, sappers (engineers), worked in groups of twos or threes to clear paths through landmines or other obstructions, while aircraft, infantry, and armor attempted to neutralize enemy antitank positions. During a breakthrough attempt the lead battalion-sized group kept 40–50m intervals between vehicles in the lead, while 200–300m behind, the motorized infantry battalion provided a mix of specialized units such as mortars, antitank, engineer, and assault infantry.

Even as Steiner’s force accumulated reinforcements, many had to be quickly returned to combat to prevent Soviet penetrations of the front line and preserve his assembly positions. During a conference with Hitler on February 13, Guderian proposed that as Rokossovsky’s 2nd Belorussian Front was now threatening to cut off Danzig, Eleventh SS Panzer Army needed to go over to the offensive in two days to divert Soviet attention and resources. Hitler and Himmler were reluctant to start such an operation until sufficient supplies were gathered, but Guderian managed to secure approval for an amended start date.

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