Forces of Valor 80401 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:32 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.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a German PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. B heavy tank which saw action defending Germany during late 1944.
Length: 12.5 inches
Width: 4.63 inches
Height: 3.75 inches
Release Date: February 2007
Original Issue Price: $44.99
Historical Account: "The Rhineland" - The drive to the Siegfried Line was one of the final Allied phases in World War II of the Western European Campaign. This phase spans from the end of the Operation Overlord (August 25th, 1944) up to the start of the Ardennes Offensive (December 16th, 1944), and roughly corresponds to the first part of the official US European Theater of Operations Rhineland Campaign.
Following the Allied success in both Northwest Europe and Southern France, the Allied forces from both were united under the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower and his headquarters SHAEF.
The layout of this front was to have the 21st situated to the north of the Ardennes, the 12th to the south, and the 6th (formerly Dragoon Force) protecting the 12th's southern flank.
While Generals Montgomery, Bradley and Patton all favoured relatively direct thrusts into Germany (with Montgomery and Bradley each offering to be the spearhead of such an assault), Eisenhower disagreed. Instead he favoured a "broad-front" strategy which would allow the Allies to regroup and shift their forces as needed, and to protect vital supply operations in the rear.
The rapid advance through France had caused a considerable logistical strain, made worse by the lack of any major port asides from the relatively distant Cherbourg in western France. As the campaign progressed, all the belligerents, Allied as well as German, felt the effects of the lack of suitable replacements for front-line troops.
Furthermore, there were two major defensive obstacles facing the Allies. The first was the natural barriers made by the rivers of Western France. The second was the Siegfried Line itself, which fell under the command, along with all Wehrmacht forces in the west, of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt.