Dragon DRA61002 Limited Edition German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Heavy Tank - schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, Tactical Identification No. "100" (1:35 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 1:35 scale early version Tiger I is painted in feldgrau (field grey) and was attached to sPzAbt. 502. Composed of both diecast metal and plastic, this superb replica features opening hatches, rotating turret, moveable guns and static tracks. Comes with plastic display base and numbered certificate of authenticity. Sold Out!
Length: 10 inches
Width: 4 inches
Height: 4 inches
Release Date: July 2006
Original Issue Price: $119.99
Historical Account: "Under the Guise of Neptune" - On July 23rd, 1942, Hitler had ordered the first company of Tigers to be formed quickly and sent to the front at Leningrad. The first unit to receive Henschel-Tigers was the 1. Kompanie of schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, with four arriving on August 19th and 20th. These Tigers, accompanied by four PzKpfw III Ausf N, motored to the front and went into combat on August 29th, 1942. Two of the four Tigers were still operational at the end of the day and the other two were recovered and repaired.
On September 21st, 1942, the Tigers and PzKpfw IIIs were sent into action again, with the loss of one Tiger and two PzKpfw IIIs. This action resulted in the first Tiger that was permanently lost. Having become hopelessly mired, the Tiger was subsequently filled with explosives and destroyed on November 25th, 1942.
The rest of the company arrived at the front on November 25th with five Tigers, nine PzKpfw IIIs (50mm KwK L/60), and five PzKpfw III Ausf N. Seven more Tigers arrived at the front in February 1943 to replace losses. Ordered to upgrade to the new organization, the 1.Kompanie received seven more Tigers in June 1943, to fill their complement of 14 Tigers.
Having been outfitted in December with nine Tigers and ten PzKpfw III Ausf N, the 2.Kompanie was attached to sPzAbt 503 and on February 10th, 1943, the 2.Kompanie of the 502nd was renamed 3.Kompanie/sPzAbt 503 and became a permanent part of the 503rd. On April 1st, 1943, a new 2.Kompanie and a 3.Kompanie were formed for the 502nd and to fill these two companies and the Stab (headquarters), 31 Tigers were shipped from the ordnance depot between May 19th-26th, 1943. The 1.Kompanie was joined by the Stab at the front, 1. and 2.Kompanien in early July 1943, bringing the unit strength to 45 Tigers. They received 32 replacements in January, and a further 20 in February 1944, bringing the total strength of the sPzAbt 502 up to 71 Tigers on February 29th, 1944, although only 24 were operational.
The 502nd was renamed as schwere Panzer Abteilung 511 on January 5th, 1945. The last 13 Tiger IIs produced by Henschel were picked up directly from the factory on March 31st, 1945, by the crews of the 3.Kompanie/Tiger Abt. 510 and 3.Kompanie/Tiger Abt. 511. On March 31st, they reported that each company possessed eight Tiger IIs. Of these 12 were brand new productions from Henschel along with three older Tiger IIs from the Waffenamt at Sennelager and one older Tiger II from the Waffenamt at Northeim. On April 1st, 1945, they engaged in combat with seven Tigers per company in Kassel, reporting that three further Tiger IIs had been lost due to bomb damage. The battalion continued the struggle on the Eastern Front until the end of the War. (courtesy: Tiger Battalions)