Dragon DRA60119 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - "Wittmann's Final Ride," Michael Wittmann, '007', schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 101, Cintheaux, France, Summer 1944 (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.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a Tiger I Ausf. E heavy tank is painted in a summer camouflage pattern and was the last tank used by legendary Tiger ace Michael Wittmann before succumbing to enemy fire at Cintheaux, France on August 8th, 1944. Only 500 pieces were produced. Comes packed in an attractive display tin. Sold Out!
Length: 4-1/2 inches
Width: 2-1/4 inches
Release Date: September 2004
Original Issue Price: $69.99
Historical Account: "The Final Ride" - After being promoted to the rank of SS-Haupsturmfuhrer, legendary panzer ace Michael Wittmann was offered but refused a position as an instructor at an armored training school, instead returning to Normandy and his men on July 6th, 1944. His unit, sSSPzAbt. 101, took part in the Battle for Caen, which raged from July 3rd to the 10th. In August, Wittmann and his crew received a new Tiger Ausf. E tank, which was assigned the command identification number 007. Thereafter, Wittmann, along with the rest of sSSPzAbt. 101, was transferred to a region just outside Cintheaux, France. At the time, strong German forces attempted to recapture the crucial city of Caen, which had become completely destroyed by weeks of incessant fighting. On August 8th, 1944, a new battle raged near Cintheaux, which would later become Wittmann's final engagement.
According to SS-Hauptscharfuhrer Hoflinger commanding Tiger #213, whose tank was positioned in the same field as Wittmann's tank but towards the rear and to the right of Wittmann's mount, at 12:55 AM he saw Wittmann's tank explode as it sat near the road to Caen-Cintheaux, at Gaumesnil, apparently struck by a long-range tank round fired by a Sherman Firefly from the Northampton Yeomanry. Afterwards, Wittmann and his crew were laid to rest beside what was left of their burned out Tiger, sadly without any graveyard markings. The War's most famous tank ace had paid the ultimate price in blood and iron, a fate awaiting many more tankers in the months to come.