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Panzer Vi Tiger Tank [Tiger Ii Tank]

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The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B was a German heavy tank of the Second World War. Although heavily armed and armoured it was blighted by mechanical failures in action. It was also known as Sonderkraftfahrzeug 182 (Sd. Kfz. 182), or informally Tiger II or KÐ"¶nigstiger (Bengal Tiger, often erroneously translated as King Tiger) in German and by the British as Royal Tiger.

Development

The Tiger II, or KÐ"¶nigstiger (Bengal Tiger), was more derived from the Panther than the Tiger, in spite of its name. The design followed the same concept as the Tiger I, but was intended to be even more formidable. The Tiger II chassis supplied the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless tank destroyer. The Tiger II weighed 68,5 to 69,8 tons, was protected by 150 to 180 mm of frontal armor, and was armed with the 88 mm KwK 43 L/71 gun.

The very heavy armor and powerful, long-range gun gave the Tiger II the advantage against virtually all opposing tanks. This was especially true on the Western Front, where the British and US forces had almost no heavy tanks with which to oppose it. In a defensive position it was difficult to destroy. Offensively it performed with less success, and its performance was a great disappointment to Hitler when it first saw action.

The Tiger II was developed late in the war and made in relatively small numbers (about 560 total). Like all German tanks, it had a gasoline engine. However, this same engine powered the much lighter Panther and Tiger I tanks. The Tiger II was under-powered, like many heavy tanks of WW2, and consumed a lot of fuel.

The US "Super Pershing" T-26 was developed in response to the Tiger I and Tiger II. The Tiger II was widely photographed due to its large size and propaganda value.

Turret design

The Porsche design for the Tiger II, of which sixty were produced. The turret is the Krupp design for the Porsche Tiger II. This tank is part of the 503rd Heavy Tank Battalion in Normandy.There were two very similar designs for the tank, one from Henschel and one from Porsche. However, the turrets were both made and designed by Krupp for each design. Porsche had thought they would win the contract and ordered 60 turrets to be produced but production stopped after 50 had been built because Henschel won the tank contract. Among the reasons given for this were that the Porsche design turret used too much copper, but another reason is that it had a distinctive curved turret face. There was a shot trap located right under the mantelet, and if a shell hit there, it could jam the turret or if the round was powerful enough, it could blow off the entire turret. Porsche specified a drivetrain whereby the engine generated electrical power and final drive was by electric motors rather than mechanical transmission. Although none of the Porsche versions were produced, 50 turrets were fitted to the standard hull and saw action. The Porsche version of the tanks can be identified by the curved turret face, and a somewhat narrower turret with a bulge on the left side to accommodate the commander's cupola.

Mechanical problems

With the Third Reich hard pressed, the Tiger IIs were sent directly from the factories into combat. As a result of the abandonment of post-production testing and preliminary trials, the tanks had numerous technical issues. Notably, the steering control would often break down under the stress of the vehicle's weight. In addition, not only were the engines prone to overheating and failure, but they were also considered to be extremely fuel inefficient. This can be attributed to the fact that it used the 700hp Maybach engine of the far smaller Panther tank. The engine had to constantly run at full power just to get the tank moving. Henschel & Son's chief designer Erwin Adlers explained the "The breakdowns can be attributed to the fact that the Tiger II had to go straight into series production without the benefit of test results." The engine and drivetrain was overburdened by the weight and would have required more testing to weed out problems, a common problem among heavy tanks that pushed the limits of powerplants and transmissions.

Overall, the Tiger II was a formidable tank in spite of its problems. The Tiger II's 88 mm armament could destroy most Allied AFVs at a range far outside the effective range of the enemy AFV's armament.

Production

1500 were ordered. Total production amounted to about 485-9, if prototypes are counted. Full production ran from about mid-1944 to the end of the war.

1943: 3

1944: 377

1945: 107

Each tank was given an individual turret number.

Other specification

Gearbox: Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B (8 forward and 4 reverse)

Radio: FuG 5, Befehlswagen version: FuG 8 (Sd. Kfz. 267), FuG 7 (Sd. Kfz. 268)

Ammunition: 88 mm - 80 rounds (Porsche turret), 86 rounds (Henschel turret), 7.92mm - up to 5,850 rounds

Gun Sight: Turmzielfernrohr

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