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Tiger I – The tank was given its nickname Tiger by Ferdinand Porsche…

Tiger I…

 

Tiger Ausf. E
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J14953, Sizilien, Panzer VI (Tiger I).jpg
Tiger I in Sicily in 1943
Type Heavy tank
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–1945
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Henschel & Son
Designed 1942
Manufacturer Henschel
Unit cost 250,800 RM
Produced 1942–1944
Number built 1,347
Specifications
Weight 56.9 tonnes or 62.72 tons
Length 6.29 m (20 ft 8 in)8.45 m (27 ft 9 in) (gun forward)
Width 3.55 m (11 ft 8 in)
Height 3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Crew 5

Armour 25–120 mm (0.98–4.7 in)[3][4]
Primary
armament
1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
92 rounds
Secondary
armament
2× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
4,800 rounds
Engine Maybach HL230 P45 (V-12 petrol)
700 PS (690.4 hp, 514.8 kW)
Power/weight 12.3 PS/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
Operational
range
110–195 km (68–120 mi)
Speed 38 km/h (24 mph)

 

The Tiger I was a German heavy tank used in World War II, produced from late 1942 as an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of Operation Barbarossa, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I design gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, which had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both aircraft and tanks. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. They were usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable.

SH_45

While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, expensive and time-consuming to produce. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to mechanical breakdowns and in 1944, production was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.

The tank was given its nickname Tiger by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (‘Panzer VI version H’, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), but the tank was redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943. It also had the ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.

Today only a handful of Tiger Is survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The most notable specimen is perhaps the Bovington Tank Museum’s Tiger 131, currently the only one restored to running order.

Design…

The Tiger differed from earlier German tanks principally in its design philosophy. Its predecessors balanced mobility, protection, and firepower, and were sometimes out gunned by their opponents.

The Tiger I represented a new approach that emphasised firepower and armour at the expense of mobility. Design studies for a new heavy tank had been started in 1937, without any production planning. Renewed impetus for the Tiger was provided by the quality of the Soviet T-34 encountered in 1941. Although the general design and layout were broadly similar to the previous medium tank the Panzer IV, the Tiger weighed more than twice as much. This was due to its substantially thicker armour, the larger main gun, and the consequently greater volume of fuel and ammunition storage, larger engine, and more solidly-built transmission and suspension.

[edit] Armour

 

The Tiger I’s armour reached up to 120 mm on the mantlet. This tank is assigned to the Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 operating in northern France in 1944.

The Tiger I had frontal hull armour 100 mm (3.9 in) thick and frontal turret armour of 120 mm (4.7 in), as opposed to the 80 mm (3.1 in) frontal hull and 50 mm (2 in) frontal turret armour of contemporary models of the Panzer IV.It also had 60 mm (2.4 in) thick hull side plates and 80 mm armour on the side superstructure and rear, turret sides and rear was 80 mm. The top and bottom armour was 25 mm (1 in) thick; from March 1944 the turret roof was thickened to 40 mm (1.6 in). Armour plates were mostly flat, with interlocking construction. The armour joints were of high quality, being stepped and welded rather than riveted.

Gun…

 

Turmzielfernrohr TZF 9c gun sight

The gun breech and firing mechanism were derived from the famous German „88” dual purpose flak gun. The 88 mm Kwk 36 L/56 gun was the variant chosen for the Tiger and was, along with the Tiger II’s 88 mm Kwk 43 L/71, one of the most effective and feared tank guns of World War II. The Tiger’s gun had a very flat trajectory and extremely accurate Zeiss Turmzielfernrohr TZF 9b sights (later replaced by the monocular TZF 9c). In British wartime firing trials, five successive hits were scored on a 16 by 18 in (410 by 460 mm) target at a range of 1,200 yards (1,100 m). Tigers were reported to have knocked out enemy tanks at ranges greater than 1 mile (1,600 m), although most World War II engagements were fought at much shorter ranges.

Ammunition used

  • PzGr.39 (Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Cap)
  • PzGr.40 (Armour Piercing Composite Rigid)
  • Hl. Gr.39 (High Explosive Anti-Tank)
  • Sch Sprgr. Patr. L/4.5 (Incendiary Shrapnel)

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