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.
This particular 1:56 scale early production Tiger I tank bears the tactical number "S04" on its turret side and was commanded by Michael Wittmann of sSSPzAbt. 101, then deployed to Russia in the winter of 1943/'44. Sold Out!
Length: 6 inches
Width: 2.5 inches
Release Date: March 2007
Historical Account: "Comes the Destroyer" - On January 13th, 1944, the following radio broadcast was made by the Ministry of Propaganda to the German people. "From July of 1943 to the beginning of January 1944, Michael Wittmann's tank destroyed 56 enemy armored fighting vehicles, including many T-34s and super-heavy self-propelled guns. On January 8th and 9th, he and his platoon halted and destroyed several breakthrough attempts being made by a Soviet tank brigade, and in that battle, he destroyed a further ten vehicles. On January 13th, nineteen T-34s and three super-heavy self-propelled guns were also destroyed. His total now stands at 88 tanks and self-propelled guns."
One week later, Wittmann was promoted to the rank of SS-Obersturmfuhrer, then on January 30th, he received the following telegram from der Fuhrer: "In thankful appreciation of your heroic actions in the battle for the future of our people, I award you, as the 380th soldier of the German Wehrmacht, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Adolf Hitler."
Several days later, Wittmann received the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross at the Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze ("Wolves Lair") located in Rastenburg, East Prussia.