Hobby Master HG0106 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank - schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 501, Battle of the Bulge, Ardennes, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenamt, 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 Waffenamt 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 1:48 scale King Tiger heavy tank was attached to sSSPzAbt. 501 during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
Length: 8 inches
Width: 3 inches
Release Date: September 2006
Historical Account: "Autumn Mist" - During the Ardennes counteroffensive of late 1944, Kampfgruppe Peiper, commanded by SS-Obersturmbannführer Joachim Pieper, consisted of some 5000 troops including 1st Battalion, SS Panzer Regiment 1, Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 501 armed with King Tiger tanks, a battalion of SS panzer grenadiers, a battalion of SS armored artillery, a company of armored engineers, and some anti-aircraft troops from a Luftwaffe regiment.
Ahead of Peiper's advance, a unit of paratroopers had been dropped to clear the roads. The terrain suited the defenders as it was ideal for ambushes, with it’s narrow roads and gullies, wooded terrain and winding roads. As they advanced he discovered that the roads had not been cleared of mines by the paratroopers and he had to clear the way himself destroying two half-tracks in the process. The road was eventually cleared and they advanced to the village of Lanzerath where they discovered the paratroopers resting, awaiting daylight before making their next push. The village seemed deserted and sentries had not been posted. Peiper was furious and demanded that the paratroop colonel release one of his battalions to him to press on the assault. By the early morning of December 17th, Peiper reached the village of Bucholz which had been abandoned by the Americans. A little later they encountered resistance at Honsfeld by American fighter-bombers and ground troops. The Luftwaffe flak troops drove off the fighter-bombers but Peiper could not afford to waste time eliminating all the American defenders and left the paratroopers with a few tanks in support to seize the town. Peiper’s objective was the American fuel dump at Buellingen, which he captured before the Americans could destroy the fuel stocks and was able to re-fuel his tanks which had become low on fuel due to the numerous delays and congested roads.