May 19, 2015

A Greyhound Hunts a Tiger

M8 Greyhound

A remarkable incident took place during the Battle of St. Vith, December 1944. An M8 Greyhound of the 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, U.S. 7th Armored Division, was in a concealed position when a Tiger tank passed in front of it. When the heavy tank passed the Greyhound slipped out of its position and followed it, trying to get as close as possible. At some point the Tiger tank commander realized that an American armored car was behind him and began to traverse his slow moving turret. The Americans managed to close to 25 yards and fired their 37mm gun three times. The Tiger stopped, exploded and burnt. For the Greyhound it was a victory against all odds! 

The M8 Greyhound was armed with an M6 37mm gun. The M51 APC shot fired from this gun could penetrate 61mm of armor at 500 yards. Tiger I’s rear armor was 80mm thick.

Greyhound’s turret
2. Greyhound’s turret with the 37mm main gun.

Ammo storage inside the turret
3. Ammo storage inside the turret.

37mm shells
4. 37mm shells. From left to right:
1) Armor Piercing Capped (APC) with tracer.
2) Armor Piercing (AP) with tracer.
3) High Explosive (HE).
4) Canister. The Canister shell was for close quarter defense against massed infantry. 
It was filled with shrapnel and burst open when it left the muzzle.

Tiger I
5. A close up of Tiger I’s rear.

Forty, George. Tank Aces – From Blitzkrieg to the Gulf War. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing, 1997.

Photos attribution
1. U.S. Army; via David Haugh - Oregon USA, via Wikimedia Commons
2. AlfvanBeem, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
3. The Minnesota Historical Society, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
4. BVV, GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
5. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-311-0904-39/Vack/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons