Tiger II

Last updated
Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-680-8282A-06, Budapest, Panzer VI (Tiger II, Konigstiger).jpg
Tiger II tank on paved street in Budapest, October 1944
Type Heavy tank
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service1944–45
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Henschel & Son / Krupp (turret)
Designed1943
ManufacturerHenschel & Son / Krupp (turret)
Unit cost800,000 Reichsmark ($300,000 USD) in 1944–45 [1]
Produced1943–45
No. built492 [2]
Specifications
Mass68.5 tonnes (67.4 long tons; 75.5 short tons) (early turret)
69.8 tonnes (68.7 long tons; 76.9 short tons) (production turret) [3]
Length7.38 metres (24 ft 3 in) (hull)
10.286 metres (33 ft 9 in) (with gun forward) [3]
Width3.755 metres (12 ft 4 in) [3]
Height3.09 metres (10 ft 2 in) [3]
Crew5 (commander, gunner, loader, radio operator, driver)

Armor 25–185 mm (1–7 in) [3]
Main
armament
1× single-piece 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 (Early) 1x 2-part 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71. (Serien turm)
Early Krupp design turret: 80 rounds [4]
Production turret: 86 rounds [4]
Secondary
armament
7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
5,850 rounds [3]
EngineV-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 gasoline
700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW) [5]
Power/weight10 PS (7.5 kW) /tonne (8.97 hp/tonne)
TransmissionMaybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B (8 forward and 4 reverse) [5]
Suspension torsion-bar
Ground clearance495 to 510 mm (1 ft 7.5 in to 1 ft 8.1 in) [3]
Fuel capacity860 litres (190 imp gal) [3]
Operational
range
Road: 170 km (110 mi) [6]
Cross country: 120 km (75 mi) [6]
Maximum speed Maximum, road: 41.5 km/h (25.8 mph) [6]
Sustained, road: 38 km/h (24 mph) [6]
Cross country: 15 to 20 km/h (9.3 to 12.4 mph) [6]

The Tiger II is a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, [notes 1] often shortened to Tiger B. [7] The ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 182. [7] (Sd.Kfz. 267 and 268 for command vehicles) It is also known under the informal name Königstiger [7] (the German name for the Bengal tiger), often translated literally as Royal Tiger, or somewhat incorrectly as King Tiger by Allied soldiers. [8] [9]

Contents

The Tiger II was the successor to the Tiger I, combining the latter's thick armour with the armour sloping used on the Panther medium tank. The tank weighed almost 70 tonnes, and was protected by 100 to 185 mm (3.9 to 7.3 in) of armour to the front. [10] It was armed with the long barrelled 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 anti-tank cannon. [notes 2] The chassis was also the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless Jagdpanzer anti-tank vehicle. [11]

The Tiger II was issued to heavy tank battalions of the Army and the Waffen-SS. It was first used in combat by 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion during the Allied invasion of Normandy on 11 July 1944; [12] on the Eastern Front, the first unit to be outfitted with the Tiger II was the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion, which by 1 September 1944 listed 25 Tiger IIs operational. [13]

Development

Development of a heavy tank design had been initiated in 1937; the initial design contract was awarded to Henschel. Another design contract followed in 1939, and was given to Porsche. [14] Both prototype series used the same turret design from Krupp; the main differences were in the hull, transmission, suspension and automotive features. [14]

SHAEF commander Gen. Eisenhower walks by an overturned Tiger II. The overlapping, non-interleaved steel-rim roadwheel arrangement is visible. Chambois1.jpg
SHAEF commander Gen. Eisenhower walks by an overturned Tiger II. The overlapping, non-interleaved steel-rim roadwheel arrangement is visible.

The Henschel version used a conventional hull design with sloped armour resembling the layout of the Panther tank. It had a rear-mounted engine and used nine steel-tired, eighty-centimeter-diameter overlapping road wheels per side with internal springing, mounted on transverse torsion bars, in a similar manner to the original Henschel-designed Tiger I. To simplify maintenance, however, as when the same steel-tired road wheels were used on later Tiger I hulls, the wheels were only overlapping without being interleaved—the full Schachtellaufwerk rubber-rimmed road-wheel system that had been in use on nearly all German half-tracks used the interleaved design, later inherited by the early production versions of the Tiger I [15] and Panther.

The Porsche hull designs included a rear-mounted turret and a mid-mounted engine. The suspension was the same as on the Elefant tank destroyer. This had six road wheels per side mounted in paired bogies sprung with short longitudinal torsion bars that were integral to the wheel pair; this saved internal space and facilitated repairs. One Porsche version had a gasoline-electric drive (fundamentally identical to a Diesel-electric transmission, only using a gasoline-fueled engine as the prime mover), similar to a gasoline-electric hybrid but without a storage battery; two separate drivetrains in parallel, one per side of the tank, each consisting of a hybrid drive train; gasoline engine–electric generator–electric motor–drive sprocket. This method of propulsion had been attempted before on the Tiger (P) (later Elefant prototypes) and in some US designs and was put into production in the WW1 Saint-Chamond tank and the post-WW1 FCM Char 2C. The Porsche suspension components were later used on a few of the later Jagdtiger tank destroyers. Another proposal was to use hydraulic drives. Dr. Porsche's unorthodox designs gathered little favour. [16]

Design

A model depicting the curved front of the first version of the Krupp turret (erroneously called "Porsche turret") Munster Koenigstiger Porscheturm Modell detail.jpg
A model depicting the curved front of the first version of the Krupp turret (erroneously called "Porsche turret")
A clear view of the angular front of the "production turret" designed by Krupp (erroneously called "Henschel turret") taken during Operation Panzerfaust in Budapest, 15 October 1944. The rough Zimmerit coating is evident, used to prevent magnetic mines from adhering to the tank's armour. Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-680-8282A-09, Budapest, Panzersoldaten in Panzer VI (Tiger II).jpg
A clear view of the angular front of the "production turret" designed by Krupp (erroneously called "Henschel turret") taken during Operation Panzerfaust in Budapest, 15 October 1944. The rough Zimmerit coating is evident, used to prevent magnetic mines from adhering to the tank's armour.

Henschel won the design contract, and all Tiger IIs were produced by the firm. [18] Two turret designs were used in production vehicles. The initial design is often misleadingly called the Tiger II (P), after the "Porsche" turret due to the misbelief that it was designed by Porsche for their prototype; in fact it was the initial Krupp design for both prototypes. [17] This turret had a rounded front and steeply sloped sides, with a difficult-to-manufacture curved bulge on the turret's left side to accommodate the commander's cupola. Fifty early turrets were mounted to Henschel's hull and used in action. In December 1943 the more common "production" turret, sometimes erroneously called the "Henschel" turret, was simplified with a significantly thicker flat face, no shot trap (created by the curved face of the earlier turret), and less-steeply sloped sides, which prevented the need for a bulge for the commander's cupola, and added additional room for ammunition storage. [19]

The turrets were designed to mount the 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 gun. Combined with the Turmzielfernrohr 9d (German "turret telescopic sight") monocular sight by Leitz, which all but a few early Tiger IIs used, it was a very accurate and deadly weapon. During practice, the estimated probability of a first-round hit on a 2 m (6 ft 7 in) high, 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) wide target was 100 percent at 1,000 m (0.62 mi), 95–97 percent at 1,500 m (0.93 mi) and 85–87 percent at 2,000 m (1.2 mi), depending on ammunition type. Recorded combat performance was lower, but still over 80 percent at 1,000 m, in the 60s at 1,500 m and the 40s at 2,000 m. Penetration of armoured plate inclined at 30 degrees was 202 and 132 mm (8.0 and 5.2 in) at 100 m (110 yd) and 2,000 m (1.2 mi) respectively for the Panzergranate 39/43 projectile (PzGr—armour-piercing shell), and 238 and 153 mm (9.4 and 6.0 in) for the PzGr. 40/43 projectile between the same ranges. The Sprenggranate 43 (SpGr) high-explosive round was available for soft targets, or the Hohlgranate or Hohlgeschoss 39 (HlGr—HEAT or High-explosive anti-tank warhead) round, which had 90 mm (3.5 in) penetration at any range, could be used as a dual-purpose munition against soft or armoured targets. [20]

Powered turret traverse was provided by the variable speed Boehringer-Sturm L4S hydraulic motor, which was driven from the main engine by a secondary drive shaft. A high and a low speed setting was available to the gunner via a lever on his right. The turret could be rotated 360 degrees at 6º/second in low gear independent of engine rpm, at 19º/second — the same as with the Tiger I — with the high speed setting and engine at 2000 rpm, and over 36º/second at the maximum allowable engine speed of 3000 rpm.[ citation needed ] The direction and speed of traverse were controlled by the gunner through foot pedals, or a control lever near his left arm. If power was lost, such as when the tank ran out of fuel, the turret could be slowly traversed by hand, assisted by the loader who had an additional wheel, which could manually rotate the turret at a rate of one-half a degree per each revolution of the hand crank (i.e. 20° turret rotation required 40 full cranks of the handwheel, and to turn the turret a full 360° the gunner would be required to crank the handwheel 720 full revolutions).

Rear view showing dual exhausts Tiger II mg 7802.jpg
Rear view showing dual exhausts

Like all German tanks, the Tiger II had a petrol engine; in this case the same 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW) V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 which powered the much lighter Panther and Tiger I tanks. The Tiger II was under-powered, like many other heavy tanks of World War II, and consumed a lot of fuel, which was in short supply for the Germans. The transmission was the Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 Model B, giving eight forward gears and four reverse, which drove the steering gear. This was the Henschel L 801, a double radius design which proved susceptible to failure. Transverse torsion bar suspension supported the hull on nine axles per side. Overlapped 800 mm (31 in) diameter road wheels with rubber cushions and steel tyres rode inside the tracks. [21]

Like the Tiger I, each tank was issued with two sets of tracks: a normal "battle track" and a narrower "transport" version used during rail movement. The transport tracks reduced the overall width of the load and could be used to drive the tank short distances on firm ground. The crew were expected to change to normal battle tracks as soon as the tank was unloaded. Ground pressure was 0.76 kg/cm2 (10.8 psi). [22]

Command variant

The command variant of the Tiger II was designated Panzerbefehlswagen Tiger Ausf. B. It had two versions, Sd.Kfz. 267 and Sd.Kfz. 268. These carried only 63 rounds of 8.8 cm ammunition to provide room to accommodate the extra radios and equipment, [7] and had additional armour on the engine compartment. The Sd.Kfz. 267 was to have used FuG 8 and FuG 5 radio sets, with the most notable external changes being a two-metre-long (6.6 ft) rod antenna mounted on the turret roof and a Sternantenne D ("Star antenna D"), mounted on an insulated base (the 105 mm Antennenfuß Nr. 1), which was protected by a large armoured cylinder. This equipment was located on the rear decking in a position originally used for deep-wading equipment. [7] The Sd.Kfz. 268 used FuG 7 and FuG 5 radios with a two-metre rod antenna mounted on the turret roof and a 1.4 metre rod antenna mounted on the rear deck. [23]

Production

The Tiger II was developed late in the war and built in relatively small numbers. Orders were placed for 1,500 Tiger IIs—slightly more than the 1,347 Tiger I tanks produced—but production was severely disrupted by Allied bombing raids. [24] Among others, five raids between 22 September and 7 October 1944 destroyed 95 percent of the floor area of the Henschel plant. It is estimated that this caused the loss in production of some 657 Tiger IIs. [25] Only 492 units were produced: one in 1943, 379 in 1944, and 112 in 1945. Full production ran from mid-1944 to the end of the war. [2] Each Tiger II produced needed 300,000 man hours to manufacture and cost over 800,000 Reichsmark or US$300,000 (adjusted for inflation, approximately $4.2 million in 2018) per vehicle. The vehicle was the costliest German tank to produce at the time. [26]

The Tiger II served as the basis for one production variant, the Jagdtiger casemated tank destroyer, [11] and a proposed Grille 17/21/30/42 self-propelled mount for heavy guns which never reached production. [27]

Proposed upgrades

The HL234, an engine born from the developments initiated by attempting to convert the Maybach HL230 to fuel injection, would have increased the power from 700 to about 800 PS (hp). The Entwicklungskommission Panzer unanimously decided that HL234 be immediately included in the engine design and procurement program. The AK-7-200 was also explored as an alternative to the Maybach Olvar-B drive train, but Waffenamt research and development department Wa Prüf 6 found that it offered inferior driving characteristics and so the Maybach Olvar-B was retained. [28] There was also a program using the Simmering-Graz-Pauker Sla.16 engine, but the war's constraint on supplies and capitulation resulted in the cancellation of this program.[ citation needed ] Krupp proposed mounting a new main weapon, the 10.5 cm KwK L/68. Wa Prüf 6 was not supportive of this as the Heer had not accepted the cannon itself. Other suggested improvements included stabilised sights, a stabilised main gun, an automatic ammunition feed, a Carl Zeiss AG stereoscopic rangefinder, heated crew compartment, stowage for an additional 12 rounds, and an overpressure and air filtration system to protect against poison gas. However, these also never got beyond the proposal stage or did not enter production before the war ended. [28]

Specifications

Armour layout: (all angles from horizontal) [10]
Hull front(lower)100 mm (3.9 in) at 40°(upper)150 mm (5.9 in) at 40°
Hull side(lower)80 mm (3.1 in) at 90°(upper)80 mm (3.1 in) at 65°
Hull rear80 mm (3.1 in) at 60°
Hull top40 mm (1.6 in) at 0°
Hull bottom(front)40 mm (1.6 in) at 90°(rear)25 mm (0.98 in) at 90°
Turret front(production)180 mm (7.1 in) at 80°("Porsche")60 to 100 mm (2.4 to 3.9 in), rounded
Turret side(production)80 mm (3.1 in) at 69°("Porsche")80 mm (3.1 in) at 60°
Turret rear(production)80 mm (3.1 in) at 70°("Porsche")80 mm (3.1 in) at 60°
Turret top(production)44 mm (1.7 in) at 0–10°("Porsche")40 mm (1.6 in) at 0–12°

Operational history

Organisation

Apart from research, training, and a five-tank attachment to the Panzer Lehr, the Tiger II was only issued to heavy tank battalions (schwere Panzer-Abteilungen) of the German Army (Heer), or Waffen-SS . [30]

Tiger II tanks fitted with the narrower "vehicle-transport tracks" of the Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung 503 (s.H.Pz.Abt. 503) 'Feldherrnhalle' posing in formation for the Nazi German wartime-propaganda newsreel at the armour-training ground in Sennelager, Germany, prior to the unit's departure for Hungary Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1975-102-14A, Panzer VI (Tiger II, Konigstiger).jpg
Tiger II tanks fitted with the narrower "vehicle-transport tracks" of the Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung 503 (s.H.Pz.Abt. 503) 'Feldherrnhalle' posing in formation for the Nazi German wartime-propaganda newsreel at the armour-training ground in Sennelager, Germany, prior to the unit's departure for Hungary

A standard battalion (Abteilung) comprised 45 tanks: [30]

Battalion command
3 × Tiger II
1st company command
2 × Tiger II
2nd company command
2 × Tiger II
3rd company command
2 × Tiger II
1st platoon
4 × Tiger II
2nd platoon
4 × Tiger II
3rd platoon
4 × Tiger II
1st platoon
4 × Tiger II
2nd platoon
4 × Tiger II
3rd platoon
4 × Tiger II
1st platoon
4 × Tiger II
2nd platoon
4 × Tiger II
3rd platoon
4 × Tiger II

Units that used the Tiger II were as follows: [31]

Heer: (s.H.Pz.Abt) 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 511
SS: (s.SS.Pz.Abt) 501, 502, 503

Reliability and mobility

A camouflaged Tiger II in display in Bovington Tank museum. The long gun overhangs the bow by several meters. Bovington Tiger II grey bg.jpg
A camouflaged Tiger II in display in Bovington Tank museum. The long gun overhangs the bow by several meters.

Early Tiger IIs proved unreliable, owing principally to leaking seals and gaskets, and an overburdened drive train originally intended for a lighter vehicle. [32] The double radius steering gear was initially particularly prone to failure. [33] Lack of crew training could amplify this problem; drivers originally given only limited training on other tanks were often sent directly to operational units already on their way to the front. [32]

The Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung 501 (s.H.Pz.Abt. 501) arrived on the Eastern Front with only eight out of 45 tanks operational; these faults were mostly due to drive-train failures. The first five Tiger IIs delivered to the Panzer Lehr Division broke down before they could be used in combat, and were destroyed to prevent capture. [34]

The introduction of modified seals, gaskets and drive train components, as well as improved driver training and sufficient maintenance improved the tank's mechanical reliability. [35] Statistics from 15 March 1945 show reliability rates of 59 percent for the Tiger, almost equal to the 62 percent of the Panzer IV and better than the 48 percent of the Panther that were operational by this period. [30]

Notwithstanding its initial reliability problems, the Tiger II was remarkably agile for such a heavy vehicle. Contemporary German records and testing results indicate that its tactical mobility was as good as or better than most German or Allied tanks. [36]

Combat history

Tiger IIs (with the first version of the Krupp turret) on the move in France, June 1944 Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-721-0397-34, Frankreich, Panzer VI (Tiger II, Konigstiger) crop.jpg
Tiger IIs (with the first version of the Krupp turret) on the move in France, June 1944

The first combat use of the Tiger II was by the 1st Company of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.H.Pz.Abt. 503) during the Battle of Normandy, opposing Operation Atlantic between Troarn and Demouville on 18 July 1944. Two were lost in combat, while the company commander's tank became irrecoverably trapped after falling into a bomb crater created during Operation Goodwood. [37]

On the Eastern Front, it was first used on 12 August 1944 by the 501st Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.H.Pz.Abt. 501) resisting the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive. It attacked the Soviet bridgehead over the Vistula River near Baranów Sandomierski. On the road to Oględów, three Tiger IIs were destroyed in an ambush by a few T-34-85s. [38] Because these German tanks suffered ammunition explosions, which caused many crew fatalities, main gun rounds were no longer allowed to be stowed within the turret, reducing capacity to 68. [39] Up to fourteen Tiger IIs of the 501st were destroyed or captured in the area between 11 and 14 August to ambushes and flank attacks by both Soviet T-34-85 and IS-2 tanks, and ISU-122 assault guns in inconvenient sandy terrain. The capture of three operational Tiger IIs allowed the Soviets to conduct tests at Kubinka and to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses [40]

A Tiger II of s.H.Pz.Abt. 503 and Hungarian troops in a battle-scarred street in Buda's Castle district, October 1944 Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-680-8283A-12A, Budapest, marschierende Pfeilkreuzler und Panzer VI.jpg
A Tiger II of s.H.Pz.Abt. 503 and Hungarian troops in a battle-scarred street in Buda's Castle district, October 1944

On 15 October 1944, Tiger IIs of 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion played a crucial role during Operation Panzerfaust , supporting Otto Skorzeny's troops in taking the Hungarian capital of Budapest, which ensured that the country remained with the Axis until the end of the war. The 503rd then took part in the Battle of Debrecen. The 503rd remained in the Hungarian theater of operations for 166 days, during which it accounted for at least 121 Soviet tanks, 244 anti-tank guns and artillery pieces, five aircraft and a train. This was set against the loss of 25 Tiger IIs; ten were knocked out by Soviet troops and burned out, two were sent back to Vienna for a factory overhaul, while thirteen were blown up by their crews for various reasons, usually to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Kurt Knispel, the highest scoring tank ace of all time (162 enemy armoured fighting vehicles destroyed), also served with the 503rd, and was killed in action on 29 April 1945 in his Tiger II. [41]

The Tiger II was also used in significant numbers, distributed into four heavy panzer battalions, during the Ardennes Offensive (also known as the Battle of the Bulge) of December 1944. [42] At least 150 Tiger IIs were present, nearly a third of total production, and most were lost during the course of the offensive. [43] There is a well known story that at the Battle of St. Vith an M8 Greyhound armoured car destroyed a Tiger II after getting in behind it on the Schonberg Road and setting the vehicle on fire by firing three 37 mm rounds into the rear armor of the Tiger from only 25 yd (23 m) [44] . However, there is confusion in the unit history over whether the vehicle was a Tiger I or Tiger II and German unit histories [45] indicate that there were no German heavy tanks lost or even present within 20 miles of St Vith at the time of the alleged incident. Given that the Panzer IV and Panther tanks were often mistakenly reported by allied soldiers as "Tigers" due to their similar appearances to the Tiger I and II respectively it is possible that this was a case of mistaken identity.

Some Tiger IIs were also present during the Soviet Vistula–Oder [46] and East Prussian Offensives in January 1945, [47] as well as the German Lake Balaton Offensive in Hungary in March 1945, [48] the Battle of the Seelow Heights in April 1945, and the Battle of Berlin at the end of the war. [49] On 12 January 1945, a column of Tiger IIs among other tanks from 524th Heavy Panzer Battalion were involved in a short-range engagement with T-34 85 tanks near the village of Lisow, with the Germans leaving behind 5 Tiger IIs, 7 Tiger Is and 5 Panthers for the loss of 4 T-34 85 tanks burnt out. [50] The Germans claimed they had destroyed 50-60 IS-2s even though no IS-2 tanks were present. [51]

The 103rd SS Heavy Panzer Battalion (s.SS Pz.Abt. 503) claimed approximately 500 kills in the period from January to April 1945 on the Eastern Front for the loss of 45 Tiger IIs (most of which were abandoned and destroyed by their own crews after mechanical breakdowns or for lack of fuel). [52]

Gun and armour performance

A Tiger II with fist-sized dents in its front armour and a hole in its turret. Tiger II punctured in front turret.jpg
A Tiger II with fist-sized dents in its front armour and a hole in its turret.

The heavy armour and powerful long-range gun gave the Tiger II an advantage against all opposing Western Allied and Soviet tanks attempting to engage it from head on. This was especially true on the Western Front where, until the arrival of the few M26 Pershings in 1945 and the few M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo"s that were scattered around Europe after D-Day, neither the British nor US forces brought heavy tanks into service. A Wa Prüf 1 report estimated that the Tiger II's frontal aspect was impervious to the 122 mm D-25T, the largest calibre tank gun of WW2. However, Soviet testing contradicted this as they found that the frontal glacis could be destroyed by firing 3-4 shots at the weld joints from the ranges of 500-600m [54] which were found to be inferior in quality to that of previous German designs like the Tiger I or Panther. [55] On the other hand, an R.A.C 3.d. document of February 1945 estimated that the British QF 17-pounder (76.2 mm) gun, using armour-piercing discarding sabot shot was theoretically capable of penetrating the front of the Tiger II's turret and nose (lower front hull) at 1,100 and 1,200 yd (1,000 and 1,100 m) respectively although, given the lack of a stated angle, this was presumably at the ideal 90 degrees and in combat the Tiger II was never penetrated frontally by the QF 17-Pounder. [56]

As a result of its thick frontal armour, flanking manoeuvres were most often used against the Tiger II to attempt a shot at the thinner side and rear armour, giving a tactical advantage to the Tiger II in most engagements. [57] Moreover, the main armament of the Tiger II was capable of knocking out any Allied tank frontally at ranges exceeding 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi), well beyond the effective range of Allied tank guns. [58]

Soviet wartime testing

During August 1944, two Tiger Ausf B tanks were captured by the Soviets near Sandomierz, and were soon moved to the testing grounds at Kubinka. During the transfer, the two tanks suffered from various mechanical breakdowns; the cooling system was insufficient for the excessively hot weather, where the engine tended to overheat and cause a consequential failure of the gearbox. The right suspension of one of the tanks had to be completely replaced, and its full functionality could not be re-established. The tank broke down again every 10–15 km. The 8.8 cm KwK 43 gave positive results in penetration and accuracy, which were on par with the 122 mm D-25T. It proved capable of passing completely through its "colleague", a Tiger Ausf B's turret at a range of 400 m. The armour of one vehicle was tested by firing at it with shells between 100 and 152 mm calibre. The welding was, despite careful workmanship, significantly worse than on similar designs. As a result, even when shells did not penetrate the armour, there was often a large amount of spalling from the inside of the plates, which damaged the transmission and rendered the tank inoperable. Further testing showed that the armour plate itself exhibited deficiencies in quality compared to earlier German tanks such as the Tiger I and Panther. Lab testing found that the armour plates lacked molybdenum (ascribed to a loss of supply, being replaced by vanadium), resulting in low malleability. [55] [59]

The expanded firing test states that the АР projectiles from the 100 mm BS-3 and 122 mm A-19 gun penetrated a Tiger Ausf B's turret at ranges of 1000–1500 metres, which suggests a quality factor of 0.86 for the Tiger Ausf B's turret. The firing test against the Tiger B turret front, however, was conducted after removal of the gun and mantlet, and resulted in penetrations close to armour openings, such as vision slits and gun location. The penetrations to the right gun opening were influenced by previous 100 mm projectile penetration hits or armour damage. [60] The 100 mm BS-3 and 122 mm A-19 could also penetrate the weld joints of the front hull at ranges of 500–600 metres after 3–4 shots. [54]

Surviving vehicles

The working Tiger II of the Musee des Blindes being displayed to the public, 2005 Koenigstiger Saumur F.jpg
The working Tiger II of the Musée des Blindés being displayed to the public, 2005

The only working example is displayed at the Musée des Blindés , Saumur, France. It has the production turret and is accessible to the public. This tank belonged to the 1st Company, 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. It was believed to have been abandoned by its crew on 23 August 1944, due to engine problems, at Brueil-en-Vexin, near Mantes-la-Jolie. It was salvaged by the French Army in September 1944 and then stored in a factory in Satory before being transferred to the museum in 1975. Believed to have carried turret number 123, Colonel Michel Aubry, the founder of the museum, decided to put 233 on the turret in honour of the Tiger II that destroyed his Sherman tank at the end of the war. Unlike other captured German vehicles, this Tiger II was never used by the French Army. [61]

Other survivors include:

The Bovington Tank Museum's prototype Tiger II on display at the Museum's Tiger Collection Exhibition, 2017 Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausfuhrung B (Tiger II pre-production) front-left2 2017 Bovington.jpg
The Bovington Tank Museum's prototype Tiger II on display at the Museum's Tiger Collection Exhibition, 2017
Tiger II at La Gleize, Belgium Tiger II La Gleize2008.jpg
Tiger II at La Gleize, Belgium
Tiger II located at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, US KingTigerPatton.jpg
Tiger II located at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, US
Tiger II with the production turret, at the Deutsches Panzermuseum, Germany SdKfz182.jpg
Tiger II with the production turret, at the Deutsches Panzermuseum , Germany

See also

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era

  • British Centurion main battle tank - developed mid-World War II, entered service 1946
  • British Black Prince heavy tank - six prototypes built in May 1945; did not enter service
  • Soviet IS-2 model 1944 heavy assault tank - entered service in 1944
  • Soviet IS-3 heavy tank - entered service in 1945
  • United States T32 heavy tank - prototype; did not enter service
  • United States T26E4 "Super Pershing" heavy tank - single prototype M26 Pershing with extra armour and improved T13E1 L/73 90mm gun; fought in Western Europe during 1945
  • United States T29 heavy tank - prototype; did not enter service
  • French ARL 44 - produced and served in limited numbers in the late 1940s and early 1950s
  • French AMX 50 - several prototypes produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s

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The Panzer II is the common name used for a family of German tanks used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II.

Panzer III German medium tank of the 1930s and World War II.

The Panzerkampfwagen III, commonly known as the Panzer III, was a medium tank developed in the 1930s by Germany, and was used extensively in World War II. The official German ordnance designation was Sd.Kfz. 141. It was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and serve alongside and support the similar Panzer IV, which was originally designed for infantry support. However, as the Germans faced the formidable T-34, more powerful anti-tank guns were needed, and since the Panzer IV had more development potential with a larger turret ring, it was redesigned to mount the long-barrelled 7.5 cm KwK 40 gun. The Panzer III effectively swapped roles with the Panzer IV, as from 1942 the last version of Panzer III mounted the 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 that was better suited for infantry support. Production of the Panzer III ceased in 1943. Nevertheless, the Panzer III's capable chassis provided hulls for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun until the end of the war.

Panzer IV German WWII medium tank

The Panzerkampfwagen IV, commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a German medium tank developed in the late 1930s and used extensively during the Second World War. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 161.

German armored fighting vehicle production during World War II Wikimedia list article

This article lists production figures for German armored fighting vehicles during the World War II era. Vehicles include tanks, self-propelled artillery, assault guns and tank destroyers.

Panzer 38(t) Type of Light tank

The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t), originally known as the ČKD LT vz. 38 was a tank designed during the 1930s, which saw extensive service during World War II. Developed in Czechoslovakia by ČKD, the type was adopted by Nazi Germany following the annexation of Czechoslovakia. With the German Army and other Axis forces, the type saw service in the invasions of Poland, France and the USSR. Production ended in 1942, when its main armament was deemed inadequate. In all, over 1,400 Pz. 38(t)s were manufactured. The chassis of the Pz. 38(t) continued to be produced for the Marder III (1942–1944) with some of its components used in the later Jagdpanzer 38 (1944–1945) tank destroyers and its derivative vehicles.

Panther tank German medium tank of WWII

The Panther is a German medium tank deployed during World War II on the Eastern and Western Fronts in Europe from mid-1943 to the war's end in 1945. It had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. It was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther until 27 February 1944, when Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral "V" be deleted. Contemporary English language reports sometimes refer to it as the "Mark V".

<i>Jagdtiger</i> Type of Heavy tank destroyer

The Jagdtiger is a German casemate-type heavy tank destroyer from World War II. It was built upon the slightly lengthened chassis of a Tiger II. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 186. The 71-tonne Jagdtiger was the heaviest armored fighting vehicle (AFV) used operationally by any participant nation of WWII and is the heaviest combat vehicle of any type to achieve series production during the conflict. The vehicle was armed with a 128 mm PaK 44 L/55 main gun which was capable of outranging and defeating any tank or AFV fielded by the Allied forces. It saw brief service in small numbers from late 1944 up until the end of the war on both the Western and Eastern Front. Although 150 were ordered, only between 70 and 88 were produced. Due to an excessive weight and a significantly underpowered drivetrain system, the Jagdtiger was continuously plagued with various mobility and mechanical problems. At present, three Jagdtigers survive in different museums around the world.

<i>Elefant</i> German heavy tank destroyer, WWII, 1943

The Elefant was a heavy Jagdpanzer used by German Wehrmacht Panzerjäger during World War II. Ninety-one units were built in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche, using tank hulls produced for the Tiger I tank design abandoned in favour of a Henschel design.

<i>Marder III</i> Type of Tank destroyer

Marder III was the name for a series of World War II German tank destroyers. They mounted either the modified ex-Soviet 76.2 mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field gun, or the German 7.5 cm PaK 40, in an open-topped fighting compartment on top of the chassis of the Panzer 38(t). They offered little protection to the crew, but added significant firepower compared to contemporary German tanks. They were in production from 1942 to 1944 and served on all fronts until the end of the war, along with the similar Marder II. The German word Marder means "marten" in English.

<i>Sd.Kfz. 250</i> Type of Half-track armored personnel carrier

The Sd.Kfz. 250 was a light armoured halftrack, very similar in appearance to the larger Hanomag-designed Sd.Kfz. 251, and built by the DEMAG firm, for use by Nazi Germany in World War II. Most variants were open-topped and had a single access door in the rear.

Grille (artillery) Type of self propelled artillery

The Grille was a series of self propelled artillery vehicles used by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Grille series was based on the Czech Panzer 38(t) tank chassis and used a 15 cm sIG 33 infantry gun.

German tanks in World War II

Nazi Germany developed numerous tank designs used in World War II. In addition to domestic designs, Germany also used various captured and foreign-built tanks.

The Panzerkampfwagen I was a light tank produced in Germany in the 1930s. The Panzer I was built in several variants and was the basis for a number of variants listed below.

Sd.Kfz. 265 <i>Panzerbefehlswagen</i> Type of Light tank

The kleiner Panzerbefehlswagen, known also by its ordnance inventory designation Sd.Kfz. 265, was the German Army's first purpose-designed armored command vehicle; a type of armoured fighting vehicle designed to provide a tank unit commander with mobility and communications on the battlefield. A development of the Army's first mass-produced tank, the Panzer I Ausf. A, the Sd.Kfz. 265 saw considerable action during the early years of the war, serving in Panzer units through 1942 and with other formations until late in the war.

<i>Sd.Kfz. 247</i> Type of Armored car

The Sd.Kfz. 247 was an armored command car used by the German Armed Forces during World War II. Before the war, 10 six-wheeled models were built; this was followed during the war by 58 four-wheeled models. The proper name was schwerer geländegängiger gepanzerter Personenkraftwagen.

Tanks in the German Army military tanks used by Germany from World War I to the modern day

This article on military tanks deals with the history of tanks serving in the German Army from World War I, the interwar period, and the Panzers of the German Wehrmacht during World War II, the Cold War and modern times.

Tiger I German heavy tank, WWII

The Tiger I, a German heavy tank of World War II, operated from 1942 in Africa and Europe, usually in independent heavy tank battalions. It was designated Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf H during development but was changed to Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf E during production. The Tiger I gave the German Army its first armoured fighting vehicle that mounted the 8.8 cm KwK 36 gun. 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. After August 1944, production of the Tiger I was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.

The Panzerkampfwagen II (Pz.Kpfw.II) light tank, produced in Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s had a wide array of variants, both as development of the light tank and for specialised tasks.

References

Informational notes

  1. Panzerkampfwagen – abbr: Pz. or Pz.Kfw. (English: "armoured fighting vehicle")
    Ausführung – abbr: Ausf. (English: variant).
    The full titles Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B and Panzerbefehlswagen Tiger Ausf. B (for the command version) were used in training and maintenance manuals and in organisation and equipment tables. (Jentz and Doyle 1997)
    Also sometimes referred to as "Pz. VI Ausf B", not to be confused with "Pz. VI Ausf E”, which was the Tiger I.
  2. Kampfwagenkanone – abbr: KwK (English: "fighting vehicle cannon")

Citations

  1. "Panzer VI Ausf.B Königstiger (1944)". www.tanks-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  2. 1 2 Jentz 1996, p. 288.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Jentz and Doyle 1997, pp. 162–165.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Jentz, Thomas; Doyle, Hilary (1993). Kingtiger Heavy Tank 1942–45. Osprey Publishing. p. 23. ISBN   185532282X.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 28 (figure D)
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 33.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 16.
  8. Buckley 2004, p. 119.
  9. Tank Spotter's Guide, Bovington 2011 p. 63
  10. 1 2 Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 12, 15.
  11. 1 2 Schneider 1990, p. 18.
  12. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 37.
  13. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 40.
  14. 1 2 Jentz & Doyle 1993, p. 3.
  15. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 10–12.
  16. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 8–10.
  17. 1 2 3 Tank Chats#47 King Tiger, The Tank Museum, 2 March 2018, retrieved 24 January 2019
  18. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 17
  19. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 13–16.
  20. 1 2 3 Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 23–24
  21. 1 2 Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 11–12.
  22. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 13.
  23. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 16–17.
  24. Manchester 1968, p. 498.
  25. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 17.
  26. "Panzer VI Ausf.B Königstiger (1944)". www.tanks-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  27. Parada, George. "Grille series". Achtung Panzer!. Archived from the original on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  28. 1 2 Jentz, Thomas; Doyle, Hilary (1997). Germany's Tiger Tanks: VK45.02 to TIGER II Design, Production & Modifications . Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. pp.  144–154. ISBN   0764302248.
  29. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 19.
  30. 1 2 3 Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 36.
  31. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 37–42.
  32. 1 2 Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 34
  33. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 11
  34. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 35.
  35. Jentz and Doyle 1993, p. 18.
  36. Jentz and Doyle 1993, pp. 33–34.
  37. Schneider 2000, p. 133.
  38. Zaloga 1994, p. 14.
  39. Schneider 2000, p. 46.
  40. Sledgehammers: Strengths and Flaws of Tiger Tank Battalions in World War II. Christopher W. Wilbeck. Aberjona, 2004. p.135
  41. Számvéber, 2000. p. 147.
  42. Schneider 2005, pp. 214–216.
  43. Green, Michael. "German Tanks of World War II". May 14, 2000. Page 73.
  44. Beevor, Antony (2015). Ardennes 1944: Hitler's last gamble. New York: Viking. p. 172. ISBN   978-0-670-02531-2.
  45. Schneider 2005, pp. 214–216.
  46. Schneider 2000, p. 47.
  47. Schneider 2000, pp. 89–91.
  48. Schneider 2005, p. 217.
  49. Schneider 2005, pp. 300–303.
  50. https://worldoftanks.ru/ru/news/history/lisuv_battle_1945/
  51. https://www.onlinetv.ru//video/2106/
  52. Schneider 2005, pp. 304, 324.
  53. Pallud 2006, p. 152
  54. 1 2 Zheltov, Igor. TankoMaster Special Issues 02, 2002: Isoif Stalin. Tekhnika molodezhi. p. 33.
  55. 1 2 "Was the Tiger really King?: Testing the King Tiger at Kubinka". The Russian Battlefield. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 2009-10-20. source: Tankomaster #6 1999.
  56. Jentz and Doyle, 1993 , pp 34–36
  57. Jarymowycz 2001, p. 274.
  58. Jarymowycz 2001, p. 258.
  59. Der riesige deutsche „Königstiger“ war ein Irrweg Von Sven Felix Kellerhoff. Veröffentlicht am 07.07.2014
  60. Bird, Lorrin Rexford; Livingston, Robert D. (2001). WWII Ballistics - Armour and Gunnery. Overmatch Press. p. 90.
  61. "Surviving WW2 King Tiger II Ausf. B Heavy Tank - Restored Preserved Panzers".
  62. Jentz and Doyle 1997, p.108.
  63. Schneider 2005, p. 212.
  64. Parada, George. "Tiger II Gallery 2". Achtung Panzer!. Archived from the original on 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  65. "Gallery of parts". Wheatcroft Collection. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  66. "Memorial Vexin 44". vexinhistoirevivante.com (in French). Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  67. "Tiger II". Schweizerisches Militärmuseum Full. Retrieved 2009-10-20.

Bibliography