Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DAK GUNS - Panzer VI Tiger - Heavy Tank

The Tiger "121" from the Schwere Panzerabteilung 501 in Tunis (Colorized Picture)

The Tiger was the most famous of all German Tanks. Specifications for what was to become the Tiger were issued as early as 1937, but this "breakthrough tank" project was cancelled after some test models were build by Henschel. In 1941 the design was dusted off when a new requirement for a heavy tank mounting an 88mm (3.5in) gun was issued. This requirement was changed at least twice before prototypes were ordered from both Henschel and Porsche wich were demonstrated before Hitler on his birthday on 20 April 1942. Both designs were quite similar and both were given production orders, as the Panzer VI Tiger and Tiger (P) (for Porsche). The Henschel model was superior, easier to produce and was not beset with the technical problems that dogged the Porsche tank. It was chosen for large-scale production and rushed into service in August 1942 to participate in the attack on Leningrad where it was used in unsuitable terrain and soon picked out for special attention by the anti-tank gunners.

Tamiya 1/35 scale model of the same Tiger
Little more success was achived in Tunisia soon afterwards, although the design of the tiger aroused great interest among Allied Armies. The Tiger's heyday was in Normandy after the Allied landings when the very suggestion that there were Tigers (or a Tiger) about was enough to cause "Tiger Terror" and hold up the advance. The Tiger simply had better armour and a better gun than any British or American tank it faced in 1944.

PzKpfw VI Tiger Ausf E in Tunisia
This Pzkpfz VI E TIGER with transport tracks (more narrow) of the SCHWERE PANZERABTEILUNG 501 circulates on the streets of Tunes. The peopple joined to see the last German reinforcements. This Panzer is very curious, it is one of the first lots and needs blocking mechanism in the cannon's mouth.
A well-handled Tiger was know to destroy a dozen opposing tanks in a simple engagement, and if lucky, might be able to withdraw to fight again. Despite its capabilities, it was complex, unwieldy and vulnerable to atack from the rear. The innovative interleaving road wheels were prone to clogging with mud, which often froze overnight and immobilised the Tiger. Prodution ended in August 1944 after 1354 were produced, but Tigers fought on until the last were encircled in Berlin in May 1945.

A Tiger and is crew near a Camel (Colorized Picture)
Production date(s):1942-44
Armament:1 x 88mm KwK 36 L/56; 2 x 7.92mm MG
Weight in action:56.9 tons
Overall length:8.24m
Track width:52 or 72.5cm (narrow one for rail transport)
Ground clearance:47cm
Maximum road speed:38km/h
Range (road):90km
Range (cross-country):60km
Engine type:Ausf H Maybach HL210 P 45 V-12 petrol; Ausf E Maybach HL230 P 45 V-12 petrol
Engine power:Ausf H 650 bhp at 3,000 rpm; Ausf E 700 bhp at 3,000 rpm
Engine capacity:Ausf H 21,353 cc; Ausf E 23,880 cc
Fuel capacity:534 liters
Armor thickness:turret 82-100mm, Ausf E 82-110mm; hull 63-102mm

Click to see it BIG!
1 - KWK 36 L/56 88mm gun2 - 7,92mm MG34 Machine gun3 - 7,92mm MG34 machine gun
4 - Ammo for the 2-7,92mm MG345 - Hatchway6 - Commander's seat
7 - Commander's Protection8 - Handling crank for the gunner9 - Auxiliary handling crank for the gunner
10 - Gunner's seat11 - Aim binocular telescope12 - Maybach engine
13 - Radio14 - 88 Ammo shelfs15 - Waterworks system control
16 - Waterworks system17 - Disk breakers18 - Direction control
19 - Direction mechanism20 - Driver's seat21 - Hand break
22 - Accelerator pedal23 - Break pedal24
25 - Commander's cupola26 - Ammo for the 2-7,92mm MG34

One of the two "Tigers" (probably the same) from the movie "Saving Private Ryan". They are converted Soviet era tanks made to resemble Tiger tanks. Great work, but the tracks don't reassemble the real ones.

The Tiger I Tank (PzKpfw VI Tiger) 131 at Bovington Camp (GB) Tankfest 2008 - the only one moving Tiger I in the world, constructed 1941 by Henschel, produced since 1942.

This Tiger was at the service of the SCHWERE PANZERABTEILUNG 504 was captured on a hill called Djebel Djaffa in Tunisia. A round from a Churchil tank of the British 48th Royal Tank Regiment hit the Tiger's gun barrel and ricocheted into its turret ring jamming its traverse and wounding the commander. The crew bailed out. Now it bellongs to the Bovington Tank Museum - England.

Tiger Tank 131 at Bovington Tank museum,includes how to start the engine,how to steer and detailed photographs.
Tiger 131 was last running in June 2009 for Tankfest. The engine is currently out and undergoing inspection after 3 years in the tank.


  1. I've seen Tiger 131 in motion at TankFest this past summer (2014). SHe's pretty awesome. Anyone interested in armour owes themselves a visit to the Tank Museum if they are ever in England.

  2. No Tigers were ever issued to Rommel's Afrikakorps. Tigers never carried the "palm tree" logo. I don't know if they belong in this blog.
    You say the Tigers achieved "little success" in Tunisia. In fact they were effective out of proportion to their numbers. The battles at Tebourba and El Bathan are examples.

    1. AfricaKorps had 7 tigers on 05/14/43, they belonged to Schwere Panzerabtielung 504 and where attached. So yes they didn't have the Palm tree on them.

    2. The Afrika Army had a Company (1st Company) of the Schwere Panzerabtielung 504 (not DAK). I dont know the exact number of Tigers available but in fact none of them have the palm tree/swastica symbol.

    3. If you go here you understand why it belongs to this blog: http://deutsches-afrikakorps.blogspot.com/2010/12/other-german-units-in-north-africa.html