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Panzer PzKpfw Mk VI (Tiger II)


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                                                                                    Panzer Mk  VI (Tiger II) History

The Tiger had hardly entered service before consideration was being given to its successor. Again, Porsche and Henschel were given development contracts, and the Porsche submission was at first considered to be the most likely contender as it drew heavily on experience gained from the first Tiger development programme.

But the Porsche design again depended on a petrol-electric drive which would depend on the availability of large amounts of copper for the motors and other electrical components. By 1943 copper was in very short supply in Germany so the Porsche design was dropped in favour of the Henschel submission, the VK 4503(H).

By the time that this decision had been made, Porsche turrets were already in production, and about 50 had been made. These turrets were therefore used on the first Henschel-designed chassis. The Henschel design became known as the Tiger II, or Konigstiger, and to the Allies it was known as the King or Royal Tiger. It was designed to use as many Panther components as possible, and by the end of the war 484 had been built, with the first production models appearing during early 1944.

PzKpfw VI Tiger II Ausf B Only one model of the Tiger II was built, the Ausf B. It was the heaviest tank to see operational service during World War 2, and also one of the most powerful. Its main armament was the 8.8 cm KwK 43, developed from the 8.8 cm Pak 43 anti-tank gun. At its thickest point, the Tiger II armour was 185 mm thick (on the gun mantlet), and the gun and armour went a long way towards the Tiger Us prodigious weight of 69.7 tons. As the Tiger !l used the same engine as the Panther tank it can be seen that it was seriously underpowered, and so performance was severely restricted. Also the Tiger II was rushed into action while still undeveloped and suffered from a long string of mechanical breakdowns and troubles. The first 50 tanks were fitted with the Porsche turret, but the rest had the Henschel tur-
ret which was not only simpler to make but also afforded more protection.

In action, the Tiger II was a formidable opponent which could outshoot and outrange nearly all Allied tanks with the possible exception of the Russian Joseph Stalin series, but its huge weight and size made it ponderous and difficult to conceal. In a swift armoured battle it would have been almost useless but by 1944 Germany was fighting a defensive war and the Tiger II was perfect for that role.

Jagdtiger B The most heavily armed of all the German AFVs to see service was the mighty Jagdtiger which mounted a massive 12.8 cm L/55 gun in a superstructure built on to a Tiger II chassis. It was heavily armoured (the front mantlet was 250 mm thick) and almost invulnerable to all opponents, but suffered from the same lack of mobility as the Tiger II. Only 48 had been built, some with a revised Porsche suspension, by the time the war ended.


Technical Specification

Mk VI (Tiger II) Variations & Plans


Late Tiger Tiger II with Henschel Turret    
Specifications Ausf E (Porsche Turret)    



Weight 69.7 Tons


Max Road Speed 38 kph / 23.6 mph    
Road range  110 km / 68.3  miles    
Cross Country Range  85 km / 52.8  miles    
Length Overall 10260  mm / 403.9 inches    
Width   3.75 mm / 147.6  inches    
Height  3.09 mm / 121.6 inches    
Track Width 800 mm / 31.5 inches    
Wheel base 2790 mm / 109.8 inches    
Armament 1 1 x 8.8 cm KwK 43    
Armament 2 3 x 7.92 mm machine guns    
Ammunition Carried 1 84 x 8.8 mm shells    
Ammunition Carried 2 5850 x 7.92 mg shells    
Bow Armour 100 mm / 3.93 inches    
Side Armour 80 mm / 3.15 inches    
Roof & Floor Armour 40 mm / 1.57 inches    
Turret Armour 185 mm / 7.28 inches    
Crew 5