Forces of Valor 80078 German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Suspension - Otto Carius, '201', 2.Kompanie, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 512, Germany, 1945 (1:32 Scale)
"We must do everything we can to promote anti-tank defense, and work just as hard to guarantee successful counter-attacks through the instrument of powerful tank forces of our own."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944. Two Jagdtigers were built with the Porsche-designed longitudinal torsion-bar suspension. During field testing, this arrangement proved entirely unsatisfactory, which further delayed production of the tank destroyer. The initial series was set at 150 vehicles, but an order issued in October 1944 stipulated that when these had been completed, production capacity was to be switched over to the Panther. This mandate was reversed in January 1945, and assembly of the Jagdtiger was to be resumed as fast as possible. By March 1945, only 77 examples were produced, all assigned to either Panzerjagerabteilung 653 or schwere Panzerabteilung 512.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer IV Jagdtiger heavy tank destroyer which was commanded by Ottos Carius, who was attached to 2.Kompanie, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 512, then deployed to Germany during early 1945.
Length: 12.5 inches
Width: 4.63 inches
Height: 3.75 inches
Release Date: April 2013
Historical Account: "End of the Road" - Tiger ace, Otto Carius, commanded the second of three companies of Jagdtigers in Panzerjagerabteilung 512. His memoir Tigers in the Mud provides a rare combat history of the ten Jagdtigers under his command. He states that Jagdtigers were not utilized to their full potential due to several factors: Among them that Allied air supremacy made it difficult to move, the massive gun needed to be re-calibrated from jarring after traveling off-road for even short distances (Note: This particular problem was attributed more to the 8 wheel Porsche type suspension which proved unfit for off-road terrain, causing excessive vibrations which over a short period could throw the gun out of calibration. More modern 9 wheel Henschel type suspension system from the King Tiger was thought to have less of this particular problem: which type Carius commanded is unknown), it was slow, and transmissions and differentials broke down easily because the whole 72 tonne vehicle needed to rotate to traverse the gun. The massive gun had to be locked down, otherwise mounting brackets would have worn too much for accurate firing. Also a crew member had to exit the vehicle in combat and unlock the gun before firing. However, he also recorded that a 128 mm projectile went through all the walls of a house and destroyed an American tank behind it.
Insufficient crew training and poor morale was the biggest problem for Jagdtiger crews under Carius' command. At the Ruhr pocket, two Jagdtiger commanders failed to attack an American armored column about 1.5 km (1 mile) away in daylight for fear of attracting an air attack, even though Jagdtigers were well camouflaged. Both vehicles broke down while hurriedly withdrawing through fear of air attack which did not come, and one was then destroyed by the crew. To prevent such disaster at Siegen, Carius himself dug in on high ground. An approaching American armored column avoided the prepared ambush because German civilians warned them of it. Later, one of his vehicles fell into a bomb crater at night and was disabled, and another was lost to Panzerfaust attack by friendly Volkssturm troops who had never seen a Jagdtiger before.
Near Unna, one Jagdtiger climbed a hill to attack five American tanks six-hundred meters away and below; two withdrew and the other three opened fire. The Jagdtiger took several hits, but American projectiles could not penetrate the 250 mm (9.8 in) frontal armor. However, the inexperienced German commander lost his nerve and turned around instead of backing down, exposed the thinner side armor, which was eventually penetrated and all six crew members were lost. Carius wrote that it was useless when crews were not trained or experienced enough to have the thick frontal armor facing the enemy at all times.
When unable to escape the Ruhr pocket, Carius ordered the guns of the remaining Jagdtigers destroyed and surrendered to American forces. The ten Jagdtigers of 2nd Company, Panzerjagerabteilung 512 destroyed one American tank for one Jagdtiger lost to combat, one lost to friendly fire, and eight others lost to breakdown or destroyed by their crews to prevent capture.