PMA P0332 German Mid Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger Ausf. E Heavy Tank - '111', schwere Panzerabteilung 501, Orsha, Russia, 1944 [Bonus Maybach HL 230 TRM P45 Engine] (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 German Tiger Ausf. E heavy tank was attached to schwere Panzerabteilung 501, then deployed to Orsha, Russia, during 1944. Comes with bonus Maybach HL 230 TRM P45 engine.
Now in stock!
Release Date: April 2020
Historical Account: "Fighting Withdrawal" - For the men of schwere Panzerabteilung 501, 1944 rapidly devolved into an exhausting year. Originally commanded by Major Erich Lowe, the unit had been reformed in late 1942 from remnants of the old battalion, including several wounded tank crewmen who had been evacuated to Europe for recuperation before the unit's demise in Tunisia. Rebuilt and re-staffed, by November 12th it comprised some 45 Tiger I tanks (three companies of 14 tanks, plus three tanks for battalion command). Between December 5th-12th, the battalion was transferred to the Vitebsk region in what is modern-day Belarus. On December 20th, the 501st attacked an enemy tank formation near Losovka, inflicting 21 enemy tanks destroyed and some 28 guns put out of action, all for the loss of two of its own tanks and all three company commanders wounded. Because infantry support was unable to follow up its success, the 501st was forced to withdraw. Three days later, Major Lowe, the battalion commander, went missing after he was forced to change tanks when his own was knocked out. In the next five days, the battalion destroyed 81 enemy tanks. By the end of December, 16 Tigers were operational out of 39 available, two having fallen into Soviet hands.
Major von Legat took command in January 1944 and the battalion carried out missions in the Orsha region. On January 13th, a Tiger was destroyed by an artillery shell plunging through its turret roof. On February 13th, failed attacks led to the loss of a further nine Tigers. By March 1st, only 17 Tigers were available for action out of 29 due to a lack of spare parts.
On March 12th, the battalion joined the 256.Infanterie division in a counterattack north of Nipinzy; by the next day, the enemy forces were surrounded and destroyed. By April 1st, spare parts had been delivered and 27 tanks were again operational.
In June, nine tanks were transferred to schwere Panzerabteilung 509, leaving 20 operational. On June 23rd, Operation Bagration was launched by the Red Army. Fighting at Orsha resulted in the battalion having to be dispersed, leading to several days of independent tank battles, some against IS-2s. Under the weight of a withdrawing Tiger, the Orsha bridge collapsed, and several others ran out of fuel. The rest retreated towards the Berezina River, where only six could be ferried across, the rest being blown up by their crews on July 1st.
By July 2nd-4th, ad-hoc defenses of dispersed Tigers fell back towards the Minsk area; despite the arrival of five replacement vehicles, which boosted operational forces to seven, two were lost, and another broke down. The next day, several Tigers ran out of fuel while withdrawing near Maladzyechna; another bogged down, and all three immobilized Tigers were blown up. Operational tank strength dropped to zero and the year was only half over.