Dragon DRA60479 German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Reinhardt, 8./Panzer Regiment 2, 2.SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich', Kursk, 1943 (1:72 Scale)
"The gun and armor of the Tiger were superb, making it in many ways the most formidable tank in service. Even so, it was poor in maneuver, it was slow, and its turret was a slow traverser in action. It was a tank which was, at its best, immobile in ambush, when its killing power was very frightening."
- Douglas Orgill, "German Armor"
The German Waffenamt issued an order to design the VK4501(H) (as the PzKpfw VI Ausf. E was then known) in May 1941, just one month prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa. Interestingly, Henschel und Sohn of Kassel was charged with building the heavily armored chassis while Krupp, by far the largest munitionwerks in Germany, was given the task of developing the turret. The PzKpfw VI Ausfuhrung E (type E) was one of the first German tanks to feature a torsion bar with eight interleaved wheels, which was designed to support the weight of the mammoth 57-ton tank. The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.
Dragon Armor has announced a new 1/72 scale Tiger I Early-Production model. The model depicts a vehicle from 8./Pz.Rgt.2 of the elite Das Reich Panzer-Division fighting in the massive Battle of Kursk in July 1943. The realistic-looking Tiger I is painted in a three-color camouflage scheme, with the divisions insignia located on the front of the hull. Whats interesting about the vehicles markings is the Chinese character 福. For those literate in the intricacies of written Chinese, they'll recognize that its the word blessing. However, the characters written upside down, which provides the meaning of blessings arrived. Its a mystery why Chinese characters should appear on a German tank, but it certainly makes an interesting conversation point. Apart from the markings, this lucky Tiger I is extremely well detailed and robustly constructed. Sold Out!
Length: 4-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: July 2011
Historical Account: "Das Reich" - 2.SS Panzer Division Das Reich was formed in October 1939 from the Deutschland, Germania, and Der Fuhrer regiments. It took part in the 1940 campaign in the west and, after spending some time guarding the border with Vichy France, was transferred to The Netherlands. Das Reich participated in the Balkans campaign where a small detachment, led by SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Klingenberg, forced the surrender of Belgrade without a fight.
Das Reich was involved in the invasion of Russia and fought until August when it was finally withdrawn for rest and refit. It returned to the front the following month, which enabled it to take part in the failed offensive against Moscow in December. In March 1942, the bulk of the division was transferred to France, where it was upgraded to a panzergrenadier division. It was sent back to the Eastern front in January 1943, helping to recapture the city of Kharkov and participate in the battle for Kursk. Afterwards, it was transferred to France for a second time, where it was upgraded to a full panzer division. The Division was sent to Normandy in June 1944 when the Allies invaded, earning a reputation for unbridled ruthlessness at Oradour sur Glane. In late 1944 and 1945, Das Reich fought in the Ardennes, Hungary, and Austria, before finally surrendering to the US Army in mid-1945.