Forces of Valor FOV801062C German Early Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - "100", schwere Panzerabteilung 505, Kursk, Russia, July 1943 [Bonus Maybach HL 210 TRM P45 Engine] (1:32 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.
The Tiger differed from earlier German tanks principally in its design philosophy. Its predecessors balanced mobility, armor and firepower and were sometimes outgunned by their opponents.
While heavy, this tank was not slower than the best of its opponents. However, at over 50 tonnes dead weight, the suspension, gearboxes, and other such items had clearly reached their design limits and breakdowns were frequent if regular maintenance was not undertaken.
Although the general design and layout were broadly similar to the previous medium tank, the Panzer IV, the Tiger weighed more than twice as much. This was due to its substantially thicker armor, the larger main gun, greater volume of fuel and ammunition storage, larger engine, and a more solidly built transmission and suspension.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of an early production German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E heavy tank that was attached to schwere Panzerabteilung 505, then deployed to Kursk, Russia, during August 1943. Comes with bonus Maybach HL 210 TRM P45 engine.
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Historical Account: "Knights on White Satin" - Schwere Panzerabteilung 505 was the last independent battalion created with the old organization of 20 Tigers and 25 PzKpfw. III. Formed in February 1943, the 505th received several Tigers and the rest in March with 25 Pzkpfw IIIs. The unit was loaded on rail cars on April 29th-30th, 1943 and sent to Heeres Gruppe Mitte on the Eastern Front, where it was ordered to upgrade to the new organization, and received 11 Tigers that were shipped from the ordnance depot between June 8th and 10th, 1943. It took part in Operation Citadel as part of Feldmarschall Model's 9.Armee.
At the start of the Kursk offensive on July 5th, 1943, the unit had 31 Tigers and was joined on July 9th, 1943, by 3.Kompanie which was formed in April and received its Tigers in June. The 505th lost only four Tigers during the Kursk offensive but lost a further six by the end of July 1943.
After the Kursk offensive, schwere Panzerabteilung 505 was moved to the Smolensk area. During the fall of 1944, schwere Panzerabteilung 505 was equipped with new version Tiger Is, which had cast cupolas, zimmerit, and the new steel-rimmed wheels developed for the Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.B. The 505th was ordered out of the Eastern Front on July 7th, 1944, to rest and refit at the troop grounds at Ohrduf. By early September 1944, schwere Panzerabteilung 505 had been equipped with new Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.B. Schwere Panzerabteilung 505 was used with 24. and 25.Panzer Divisions, initially against the Narev bridgeheads in the 1944 Russian offensive into East Prussia. The battalion fought in East Prussia until the end of the conflict.
As well as defending against Operation Bagration, the abteilung destroyed everything set against them, racking up over 900 tank kills by late 1944.