Dragon DRA60551 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank with Henschel Turret - Unidentified Unit, Berlin, 1945 (1:72 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.
Dragon Armor has launched a fantastic 1/72 scale model of a Tiger II fighting in the Battle of Berlin. The model is a Henschel Production version with the appropriate turret. The late-war ambush camouflage scheme features red-brown and sand-yellow colors, and it is accurately painted in miniature. In keeping with its late-war use, this model King Tiger is devoid of any tactical markings. This model King Tiger, backed into a corner in the final act of war in Europe, is a masterpiece of detail and painting.
Length: 5-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: July 2012
Historical Account: "Death Throes" - By April 1st, 1945, the rampaging Red Army had reached the outskirts of Berlin. Knowing full well that Berlin would be heavily defended, Russian commanders decided to delay their attack by two weeks in order to build up their strength before making a final attack. Meanwhile, the Western Allies had planned to drop paratroops near Berlin to take the capital, but decided against it. Eisenhower saw no need to suffer heavy casualties taking a city that would fall within the Soviet sphere of influence once the war was over. Adolf Hitler, who never thought Berliners supported him the way he imagined, decided to remain in the city.
Some think he stayed to punish the city for its lack of support in the early days of Nazism; more likely there was nowhere else for him to go once the Allies had begun closing in.
The offensive began with a tremendous barrage of artillery, which included 'Stalin's Organs' - ground-launched rockets known for their hideous shrieking noise. On April 16th, the First and Second Belorussian Fronts, in conjunction with the First Ukrainian Front, attacked, striking from the north, west and south. By April 24th, the three army groups had completely encircled the city and began infiltrating the city proper. The next day, the Fifth Guards Tank Army linked up with the US First Army at Torgau, Germany on the River Elbe. On April 20th, Hitler ordered the Twelfth Army facing the Americans and the Ninth Army to break into Berlin to relieve the siege. Neither force was able to penetrate the Soviet defenses so the Berliners were on their own.
Although Berlin's fate was sealed, the resistance continued. Fighting was heavy, with house-to-house battles oftentimes devolving into savage hand-to-hand combat. By battle's end, the Soviets had lost 305,000 dead; Germans casualties amounted to 325,000, including many civilians. On April 30th, Adolf Hitler married his mistress Eva Braun, took cyanide, then shot himself, refusing to be taken alive by the Allied powers. Berlin surrendered three days later on May 2nd and with it came the end of the Third Reich.