Duel at Dessau

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plan_D

Lieutenant Colonel
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Apr 1, 2004
On April 21, 1945 the US 33rd Armoured Regiment of the US 3rd Armoured came up on the German town of Dessau on the Elbe River. The marking moment in this conflict was a one-on-one duel between an American tank and a German Royal Tiger in which the Tiger II was destroyed and the American tank moved on take on several other tanks and win.

This tank only saw 10 days combat service in World War 2 and was known as the 'Super Pershing' a modified M26 Pershing designated the M26-E4. It had a lengthened 90mm cannon with a much higher velocity.


3 days before US 3rd Armours final conflict they came upon Dessau and attacked. By pure luck the only Super Pershing in Europe had been sent to the 33rd Armour Regiment that spearheaded the assault.
As it rolled down one of the many streets it turned around at an intersection to see a King Tiger around 600 yards away. The King Tiger fired but its shot went harmlessly over the Pershing. The Pershing fired upon the King Tigers front glacis plate and the round was deflected. Then the Pershing was struck but did little damage, it is not known if the round was caused by the King Tiger or another tank. Capabilites from the King Tiger show that if it was from the King, it would have been a near miss definately not a direct hit because that would have ripped the Pershing apart.
The King Tiger started rolling forward towards the Pershing and moved over a pile of rubble. The Pershing crew taking advantage of the moment, fired when the King Tigers ill-armoured underbelly was pointing towards them. The round went straight through and exploded the King Tigers ammo blowing the Kings turret clean off.

The Pershing crew had no time to celebrate as the battle continued to rage. The duel lasted only 20 seconds and Dessau was taken on the next day with the Super Pershing destroying a Panther with two shots.

This certainly was not the mighty clash that could have been fought out on the open field between the two most powerful tanks of the war but it was a US victory that made the quick-thinking US crew very proud.

The M26-E4 at Dessau was one of 25 ever built, and it was the only one sent to Europe.
 
That's why I put it, for SHOCK! Not many people know about the M26-E4 and even less know about it seeing any action. It was certainly an impressive tank, it would have matched the Tiger I in a straight shooting match.

I would like to point out that even though the Super Pershing did win that duel at Dessau, it doesn't make it a more POWERFUL tank. The initial shot hit the Royal Tiger head on and deflected with little damage.
 
Yes, the King Tiger crew made a big mistake. The 'Super Pershing' was better all round though, if you look at costs, weight, manuverability, fuel consumption, ease of repair etc. It's just in combat, the King Tiger would normally blow it to pieces, of course always depending on the situation.
 
Ok, lets see now. The rarest tank in the entire ETO (only 1 Super Pershing saw action in Europe) 'magically' and 'coincidentally' manages to find and best one of the rarest German tanks of that time......in an area NOWHERE NEAR where any surviving King Tiger units are operating? Far fetched propaganda which has now been shown to be nonsense. We now have a complete record of all King Tiger actions and movements and none were anywhere near Dessau in April 1945. Did the KT fly to Dessau on it's own?

There are NO pictures of this phantom King Tiger at Dessau. No unit ID. Not even a tank number. A King Tiger k.o'd by a Super Pershing would have been a great pictorial attraction for the occupying U.S forces.....yet there is not even one picture of the aftermath of this mysterious 'event'.
The U.S thought enough to take lots of pictures of the Tiger I k.o'd by the regular Pershing near Elsdorf in Feb '45, but 'mysteriously' NOBODY ever took a pic of this phantom King Tiger at Dessau????

King Tiger unit placements on April 21st 194:

Battalion 501= unit already disbanded near Paderborn.
Battalion 502= unit disbanded 19th April in Harz mountains.
Battalion 503= in combat in the Austrian Hungarian border area near Stronsdorf.
Battalion 504= In action near Ferrara, Italy.
Battalion 505= unit disbanded in East Prussia. Last Tiger k.od 15th April.
Battalion 506= Unit disbanded 14th April at Iserlohn (the Ruhr).
Battalion 507= Last Tigers in action on 11th April near Osterode (Harz)
King Tiger unit placements on April 21st 1945 (continued).
Battalion 508= In Italy. No King Tigers in the battalion.
Battalion 509= in action in lower Austria between St Polten and Amstetten.
Battalion 510= Unit disbanded 18th April in the Bode valley.
Grossdeutschland= No King Tigers.
SS 501 = In action at Eschenau, Austria.
SS 502= In action around Fortstenwalde (south of Berlin).
SS 503= In action in Berlin.

[ source: Tiger I Information Center - Unit Histories ]

ALL Tiger unit movements are known and recorded. Often we even now know the exact number of tanks they had at any particular given time.
You will be surprised at how much bona fide German archives have come to light these last 15 years.
Wolfgang Schneider and others have provided exhaustive research and shed complete light on what was unknown before because nobody bothered. Now we know everything. Daily combat records, movements and allocations of ALL the Tiger units are known and are widely available.

We even know when they received their tanks.
I can tell you where each unit was on which day and date.
NONE were anywhere near Dessau on 21st April 1945. Closest was SS battalion 502. It was located SEVENTY miles northeast around Forstenwalde engaging the Soviets.
There were NO King Tigers at Dessau.

Have you ever wondered why there was never any picture of this 'mysterious King Tiger' defeated by the Super Pershing? Because it didn't happen. No pictures. No Tiger unit ID. No records from German bundesarchives. NOTHING.Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Makes a nice 'mythical' story to try to show the most powerful US tank of WW2 bested the most powerful German tank of WW2 but that's all it was.
The US captured Dessau and were there for ages.....yet NOT ONE picture? Hmmmmm.

If we go by all allied tanker's accounts of 'Tigers' they faced then there must have been bloody thousands of them in 1944'45. 'Tigers' were everywhere if we listen to them.
Panthers were mostly called Tigers. Jagdpanthers too. Even Panzer IV sometimes.
King Tiger wasn't the only German AFV with 88mm KWK 43 L/71.
Jagdpanther had that gun. So did Nashorn.
Again NO KING TIGERS WERE AT DESSAU.
Nearest King Tiger unit was 100 miles to the east fighting the Soviets.

A Tiger I was k.o'd by a Pershing near Cologne in early '45 (and vice versa). We have documented proof and photos of that but Super Pershing v King Tiger is very bogus.
 
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Interesting first post, tanker1408...nothing like just wading in waist deep and calling bullsh!t on long-time members...

I might mention that your list of Tiger units is incomplete, you seem to have forgotten (or perhaps not aware of?) Ersatzheer, Wa.Prüf., SS Panzer Abt.101, 316 PanzerLehr and Panzer Div. Feldhernhalle...

And I might add that this thread is almost 6 freakin' years old...
 
Whether his information is correct or not (I do not claim to know, I am not tank expert), I have to agree with you Graugeist. That is not a way to do a first post and make any friends. Could have been a bit friendlier...
 
Errr...Look at the date of this last post genius!
 

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I find it interesting because the 'Super Pershing' has just been released in 1/35 by Trumpeter. For further info read Belton Cooper's "Death Traps" he is the engineer/tank recovery expert that up-armored the beast in a Germany machine shop. He recounts the incident second hand. I always found the story a little suspect myself, but I'm no expert on German armor.
 
Personally I don't mind the use of an old thread if there is some new information to be made public. I don't mind the information that was posted as it does raise a valid question.

What I do mind is the tone and approach, which would have been out of order for anyone, in particular a new joiner
 
I was thinking about going back into old Topics. Though unfortunately, I see that a few of my old correspondants have left, which is sad and makes me reluctant to - because they can't defend themselves and I think that's not fair.

However, I have come around to those peoples way of thinking on a few issues!:D:shock:

One thing I will say on this Thread though, which I had wondered about the Dessau encounter. When it says:

The King Tiger started rolling forward towards the Pershing and moved over a pile of rubble. The Pershing crew taking advantage of the moment, fired when the King Tigers ill-armoured underbelly was pointing towards them. The round went straight through and exploded the King Tigers ammo blowing the Kings turret clean off.

- now, does it mean the actual belly, or the lower front hull...

For the belly to be exposed, the front roadwheels would need to be floating in midair?
 
It´s called "Fürstenwalde" / Fuerstenwalde not "Forstenwalde". Also, parts of the unit were ordered to move to Halbe / Teupitz in april, whether or not they arrived there or indeed carried out the orders is unknown. There were rumors that SS502 was fighting around Fürstenwalde into may 45.
 
Inothing like just wading in waist deep and calling bullsh!....

Hey GrauGeist, it IS bullshit when they claim far fetched propaganda to try to show their most powerful tank beat the German's most powerful tank. Some people might be fooled by it but not those who are knowledgeable. It would have been a one million to one chance that the ONLY Super Pershing in the entire ETO would have bumped into a rare King Tiger in an area where no King Tiger units were anywhere near. The units are ALL traceable. NO KING TIGERS WERE AT DESSAU. There is not even the smallest argument to try and claim otherwise.

I might mention that your list of Tiger units is incomplete, you seem to have forgotten (or perhaps not aware of?) Ersatzheer, Wa.Prüf., SS Panzer Abt.101, 316 PanzerLehr and Panzer Div. Feldhernhalle...

On September 9, the remains of the unit were ordered to rest and completely refit with the new Tiger II's, with this change on September 22, 1944, it was redesignated Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501.
The King Tigers and crews of Abt.101 SS were the same as those in the 501 which was nowhere near at Dessau. We know all the movements and issues of the King Tigers.
Panzer-Lehr-Division was surrendered to the Americans in the Ruhr Pocket (Ruhr Area) which is located in North Rhine-Westphalia, far away from Dessau.
 
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