On 16 May a single Char B1 French heavy tank, the Eure, frontally attacked and destroyed thirteen German tanks lying in ambush in Stonne, all of them Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs, in the course of a few minutes.
In his book Panzer Leader, Heinz Guderian relates the following incident, which took place during a tank battle south of Juniville: "While the tank battle was in progress, I attempted, in vain, to destroy a Char B with a captured 47 mm anti-tank gun; all the shells I fired at it simply bounced harmlessly off its thick armor. Our 37 mm and 20 mm guns were equally ineffective against this adversary. As a result, we inevitably suffered sadly heavy casualties".
The Char B1 was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a "battle tank" fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm. Starting in the early twenties, its development and production were repeatedly delayed, resulting in a vehicle that was both technologically complex and expensive, and already obsolescent when real mass-production of a derived version, the Char B1 "bis", started in the late thirties. Although a second uparmoured version, the Char B1 "ter", was developed, only two prototypes were built.
Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers or mechanised artillery.
Tactically, they were employed as breakthrough tanks. Their role was to support infantry in the assault, using their large guns to destroy bunkers, buildings, dug-in crew-served weapons, and other 'soft' targets. They were also capable of taking on any German AFVs if required. Once a breakthrough was achieved, lighter, more mobile T-34s would take over the exploitation.
The KV-2 was designed to break through fortifications. It had an enormous turret which carried a gigantic 5.98 inch howitzer. Anti-concrete shells the size of garbage cans were fired from the howitzer. These shells were used to knock down pillboxes and bastions. As a specialized version of the KV-1, the KV-2 played a role similar to that of the British Funnies. Because an extra hand was needed to operate the weapons, an additional crewmember stayed in the turret. This meant that the KV-2 had six crewmembers, while the KV-1 had five. Even though it had a much heavier main gun, the KV-2 kept the same chassis and engine as the KV-1. This meant that it was even slower than the KV-1. The Germans found that they could easily destroy the KV-2 by first aiming for its tracks, so that the tank could no longer move.
The Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I was a heavy tank of World War II, developed by Nazi Germany. Originally developed under the name of Pzkw VI Ausf. H after a request by the OKW (High Command of the Army), the resulting project emerged the Elefant, the Sd. Kfz 181 Tiger I and, later, the Tiger II or Königstiger, the Jagdtiger (tank destroyer version with a barrel 128 mm) and Sturmtiger, a car designed for urban combat equipped with a mortar fired a naval origin propelled projectile 380 mm rocket. The Tiger I was used from late 1942 until the German surrender in 1945. Ferdinand Porsche gave him his nickname. The operating crew training, the Tigerfibel, became a collector's item. There were approximately 1350 of these tanks.
On 7 July 1943, a single Tiger tank commanded by SS-Oberscharführer Franz Staudegger from the 2nd Platoon, 13th Panzer Company, 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler engaged a group of about 50 T-34s around Psyolknee (the southern sector of the German salient in the Battle of Kursk). Staudegger used all his ammunition and claimed the destruction of 22 Soviet tanks, while the rest retreated. For this, he was awarded the Knight's Cross.
The US Army did little to prepare for combat against the Tiger despite their assessment that the newly-encountered German tank was superior to their own. This conclusion was partly based on the correct estimate that the Tiger would be encountered in relatively small numbers
Greatest Tank Battles (DVD)