In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenant, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield. To achieve this, the thickness of the frontal armor was increased to 150mm, while the side armor remained constant at 80mm. A wooden mock-up showing the immense size of the vehicle was displayed on October 20th, 1943 and immediately became the center of attention to all that saw it. Production of the vehicle began soon thereafter in November 1943 although the first 50 vehicles sported the Porsche turret with its curved front plate.
On December 6th, the Waffenant deemed that the shot-trap formed by the turret be eliminated. This was achieved by Henschel re-designing the turret and gun mantlet, in such a manner as to decrease the frontal area while at the same time incorporating a bell-shaped mantlet. By March 1945, 489 Royal Tigers (a.k.a.
Konigstigers or "King Tigers") had been produced. Apart from five vehicles issued to the Feldherrnhalle division, all of the Tiger II heavy tanks were assigned to independent schwere Panzer detachments due to the tank's staggering size and weight, as well as its relatively slow rate of maneuver.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a German King Tiger is outfitted with a Porsche turret and was attached to 1.sPzKp. (Fkl) Pz. Lehr-Rgt. 130, which saw action at Kaisersteinbruch, Germany in late 1944.
Length: 5-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: May 2004
Historical Account: "Trained for War" - The Panzer Lehr Division was formed at Potsdam in November 1943, comprised principally of demonstration units from the various Panzer schools. It was transfered to France in February 1944, then to Hungary in April, where it absorbed Infanterie-Lehr Regiment 901. The division returned to France shortly thereafter where it opposed the Allied landings in June. Panzer Lehr suffered heavy losses at Caen during a massive carpet bombing attack and additional losses as it withdrew across France. It was sent to the Saar for refitting and later saw action in the Ardennes during Operation "Wacht am Rhein". After the winter counteroffensive, the division was trapped in the Ruhr pocket in early 1945 and forced to surrender to the US Army in April.