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.
Pictured here is a 1:30 scale replica of Michael Wittmann's Tiger I Ausf. E heavy tank, which saw action at Villers Bocage, France, during the summer of 1944. Sold Out!
Length: 10.25 inches
Width: 4.5 inches
Release Date: August 2008
Historical Account: "Mars Triumphant" - On June 13th, 1944, 2 Kompanie of SS Panzerabteilung 101, led by Tiger ace Michael Wittmann, took up positions on a hill overlooking the town of Villers Bocage. Wittmann's orders were to stop the advance guard of the British 7th Armored Division (the famous 'Desert Rats') from advancing through the village, which would throw open the road to the city of Caen. At about 8:00 AM, Wittmann's company attacked a column of British armor travelling along a sunken road near the town. Wittmann himself waited until the British column came within 100 meters of his position before opening fire. Within minutes, his tank destroyed the column's leading and trailing vehicles, thereby blocking the escape route for the rest of the column.
From the cover of a small wood, Wittmann's Tiger tank systematically eliminated the rest of the British column, destroying some 25 Cromwell and Firefly tanks, and laying waste to another 28 vehicles (among them some 14 half-tracks and 14 Bren gun carriers) of the 4th County of London Yeomanry Regiment ("Sharpshooters"), 22nd Armored Brigade. Meanwhile, the other 3 Tigers and PzKpfw IV of Panzerabteilung 101, which were firing in support, destroyed eight more British tanks as they attempted to move into the town proper. In the ensuing street battle, Wittmann's Tiger had its track blown off by a British 6-pounder, forcing the crew to bail out and take cover. Two other Tigers were eventually destroyed by infantry-crewed PIAT anti-tank guns. Despite these losses, however, Wittmann's command succeeded at their task, denying the all-important town from falling into British hands.