What if Germany had tiger tanks in the beginning of WW2?

Ultimately, I don’t suspect much would change. Poland, France, the Low Countries, Denmark, and Norway were all taken too quickly for the Tigers to even keep up with the advance most times. There is the possibility if the Germans had such well protected vehicles in 1940 that Guderian would have decided to finish off the pocket of Allied troops at Dunkirk and destroy pretty much the entirety of the British regular army. That could’ve left Britain defenseless enough for Germany to attempt Operation Sea Lion, but the prerequisite of air superiority for conducting any large scale naval invasion would still not be achieved by the Luftwaffe, Miracle at Dunkirk or not.

Michael also makes the point that Moscow might also have been taken. I am fairly certain this wouldn’t have happened. While the Wehrmacht got to within sight of the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the Red Army devoted the entire spirit of the nation and hundreds of thousands of men to ensure Moscow did not fall.

Even a fair number of at the time exceptional tanks would not have swung the difference, especially if fighting in an urban area.

6 Replies to “What if Germany had tiger tanks in the beginning of WW2?”

  1. It wouldn’t have helped too much. At best, they would’ve caused some extra grief for the Allies, especially the French and the Soviets, but they wouldn’t have won the war.

    Admittedly, the Tiger tanks would’ve definitely been a major threat to the early Soviet tanks, which were mostly comprised of BT tanks, T-26s interspersed with T-34s and KV-1s. The Tiger tanks would’ve likely destroyed huge numbers of Soviet tanks early in the war.

    Earlier Soviet Tanks would’ve stood no chance against the Tiger tank.

    Early British and American tanks, such as the Crusader and the M3 Lee, would’ve more quickly been phased out as they Allies, realized the danger posed by the Tigers.

    And with the previous point lies the problem, or one of them at least. Technology is ever-changing and constantly advancing. Historically, the appearance of the Tiger spurred the British and the Soviets into developing more powerful anti-tank weapons. Had the Germans used Tiger tanks at the beginning of WW2, the Allies would’ve also had developed these weapons, and probably would have pressed them into service earlier. This would result in early Tigers going up against 17 pounders and 122mm guns much earlier than what historically happened.

    It’s also possible that tanks like these would’ve actually seen service in WW2

    Similarly, the Tigers would’ve also sped up tank development, meaning that tanks such as the British Centurion, American M26 Pershing, and Soviet IS-3, would’ve all seen service, or saw combat much sooner in the case of the M26 Pershing, in an effort to counter the Tiger tanks.

    Another possibility is that the tank would’ve been very unreliable. Historically, the Tiger tank was actually unreliable primarily due to the fact that it was rushed into combat before all of its faults could be identified and fixed. Reliability was improved later in the war, but would drop again as Germany began to collapse.

    It’s because of this, that the Tiger tanks would’ve been relatively difficult for Germany to properly supply and maintain. Historically the Tiger was laborious and did take a large amount of man hours to properly maintain. Also, Germany was simply unable to compete with the Allies in terms of industrial capability and manpower. No matter how many tanks they built, they still would’ve lost. Germany simply couldn’t keep up

    In the end, it’s likely the Tiger’s wouldn’t have won the war for Germany. Germany simply couldn’t match the combined strength of the Allies. The most likely changes would’ve been the much faster development of tanks and anti-tank weapons as the Allies tried to counter the Tiger.

  2. Third Reich lost not because it lacked cool technology at the start of WWII, but rather because Hitler started overestimating himself and his allies at the begining of the war. All Axis members combined – Third Reich, Italy, Imperial Japan were generally not enough to beat French Empire, British Empire, Soviet Union, the US and China at the same time. Actually, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf himself, that in order to conquer the world, he would need either British Empire or Soviet Union as a key ally and a part of Axis. But later on, his actions contradicted himself.

  3. It would have helped but Germany’s problems had a lot more to do with finding a stable fuel supply and creating a much larger ‘Luftwaffe. Also, their manpower problems were critical.

  4. That depends on if it's the tiger 1 or 2. The tiger 2 will easily crush the m4 Shermans while the tiger 1 will be easily destroyed by the simplest of tanks if deployed in large numbers ( the Sherman or the T34–85) The tiger 1 was super overestimated by the Germans. It had no sloped armor, it's gun was super bad, and it was so slow and heavy.

    Edit: the tiger 2 will also be easily destroyed by swarming T34s

  5. In the beginning? Not much would change in the invasion of France, but with the invasion of Russia Germany might have taken Moscow and forced Russia to surrender as they wouldn't be slowed near as much by the Russian T-34.

  6. They would have run out of gasoline earlier and the war would have concluded exactly 127.35 days earlier.

    t34 all the way.

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