During the Second World War, Germany’s Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Heavy Tank would prove a formidable foe and an iconic German tank. The Tiger tank was used by Germany, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Japanese made efforts to procure the vehicle and it’s designs for their military.
The German Tiger tank would mark a significant improvement for German Heavy Armour over predecessors. Prior to the Tiger German Armour included vehicles such as the Panzer III and Panzer IV; which provided the backbone of Panzer Corp during the Invasion of Russia. The Panzer IV, a Medium tank originally was intended to act in a supporting role for the Panzer III, itself a Medium tank. The Panzer IV was not a true Heavy Tank and was in a poor position to handle superior Soviet examples such as the KV-1.
There were numerous projects in the area of Heavy tank design that preceded the Tiger I; this would include the following vehicle or vehicle projects:
- Neubaufahrzeug, 1933 – this included a small production run. This vehicle weighed 23.41 tonnes.
- Durchbuchswagen I, 1937 – intended to be between 30 and 33 tonnes
- VK 30.01 (H) – intended to be 33 tonne
- VK 36.01 (H) – intended to be 40 tonne
On 26 May 1941, the task of creating a 45 tonne heavy tank design was put to Henschel and Ferdinand Porsche; they were requested to have designs ready by June 1942. The Porsche project continued in an revised capacity, their work on the VK 30.01 (P) Leopard tank, becoming the VK 45.01 (P). The Henschel projects resulted in the VK 45.01 (H) H1 and the VK 45.01 (H) H2.
Porsche and Henschel both showed prototypes to Hitler, both equipped with a Krupp designed turret. Hitler accepted the Henschel design for production.
There were a number of components for the Porsche VK 45.01 (P) that had already been produced; these were put to good use as the chassis for the Ferdinand Tank Destroyer as well as Bergepanzer Tank Recovery units. Further a VK 45.01 (P) was utilized as a command vehicle. The VK 45.01 (P) tank was known as the Tiger P.
Production began in August of 1942 and ceased in August of 1944 with a total of 1355 vehicles produced.
|Main Armament:||8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56|
|Secondary Armament:||2x 7.92 mm MG 34|
|Speed:||45.4 km/h on-road (ostensibly)|
- “Tiger I.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. 27 July 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I>
- “Tiger Vol3.” world war photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2016.<http://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/germany/tanks-2-3/tiger-tank/>
- “Panzer IV.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 22 July 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV>
- “Neubaufahrzeug.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 May 2016. Web. 27 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neubaufahrzeug>
- “VK 4501 (P).” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 11 June 2016. Web. 28 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VK_4501_(P)>