AFV AFV001 German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - "Black 312", schwere Panzerabteilung 505, Poland, 1944 (1:43 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 1:43 scale diecast replica of a German PzKpfw VI Tiger Ausfuhrung E heavy tank that was attached to schwere Panzerabteilung 505, then deployed to Poland during 1944.
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Release Date: June 2021
Historical Account: "Last of a Breed" - A German heavy tank battalion (German "schwere Panzerabteilung, "s PzAbt") was a battalion-sized unit of the German Army during World War II, equipped with Tiger I, and later Tiger II heavy tanks. Originally intended to fight on the offensive during breakthrough operations, the German late-war realities required it to be used in a defensive posture by providing heavy fire support and counter-attacking enemy armored breakthroughs, often organized into ad hoc Kampfgruppen.
The German heavy tank battalions destroyed a total of 9,850 enemy tanks for the loss of only 1,715 of their own, a kill/loss ratio of 5.74. The 1,715 German losses also include non-combat tank write-offs.
Schwere Panzerabteilung 505 was formed in January 1943. Thereafter, it was assigned to 9.Armee which fought at Kursk that summer. After Kursk it was later attached to Heeresgruppe Mitte which was tasked with fighting a delaying action at Smolensk. In September, the unit was refitted with Tiger II (Koningstiger) tanks then tasked with defending East Prussia alongside the 24.Panzer and 25.Panzer Divisions. It was eventually destroyed by overwhelming odds in yet another Soviet assault.