German Tiger Tank

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Photo Gallery of the Tiger Tank


The German Tiger Tank was possibly the most famous tank of World War 2. Officially designated Panzerkampfwagen VI Sdkfz 181, it was introduced in August 1942 and was at that time the most powerful and heavily armored tank in the world. The success of the Tiger was so profound, that no allied tank dared to engage it in open combat. This psychological fear soon became to be known as "Tigerphobia". To prevent further damage to allied morale, General Montgomery banned all reports mentioning of the Tiger's prowness in battle.

Despite it's overall excellent design, there were mechanical and logistical problems for a tank of its size. Improvements were made as suggested by experienced tankers through the course of the war, most notably was the replacement of the turret commander's cupola, addition of an anti-aircraft machine gun ring and replacement of the rubber rimmed road wheels to steel wheels. The headlamps were also changed from two (one on each side) to a single lamp in the center. These and other modifications became to be known as early, mid and late production versions.



Tank image Photo Gallery
German

Early model An early production model, spring 1943 in Kursk. Note the rather tall commander's cupola and the top opening hatches which were characteristics of the early production tanks. Spare track links were carried in the front of the tank's hull.

Photo courtesy of Hetsar (private collector).

Thumbnail photo Another frontal shot of an early production model. Smoke dischargers are also visible on the turret sides. The commander's cupola used bulletproof glass which severely limited visibility from within the fighting compartment.

Thumbnail photo A unit being transported on rails. These war monsters needed two sets of tracks; one for transporation and one for combat. The combat tracks are rolled up in front during rail transportation and had to be outfitted again during unloading.

Thumbnail picture This is a mid production tank #319. The commander's cupola has been shortened with the bulletproof glass now replaced with seven periscopes. The hatch now swivels to the side. The rubber rimmed wheels are still retained in the mid production, but the outer wheels are often removed. Smoke dischargers were also discontinued in the mid production series.

Thumbnail picture Unit number 111 crossing a bridge in Tunisia, December 1943. The bridge was named after Major Loewe, the panzer commander of PzAbt.501 who was later killed in action.

Thumbnail picture A battalion of Tigers being transported by rail. This is the early version model. Their combat tracks can be seen rolled up in front.

Late production A late production series. The rubber rimmed road wheels were replaced with steel wheels. The gun sight was also changed to a TZF9c monocular. Spare tracks were also carried on the turret sides from the mid-production onwards.

Thumbnail pic Lenigrad, 1943. A member of sPzAbt 502 advances on a road through a russian village. Pictured behind a Schwimwagen, this particular unit still uses the TZF9b binocular gun sight, clearly visible with the two holes on the left of the gun mantlet.

Thumbnail pic Tank number 131 of sPzAbt 101, Normandy, July 1944. A field applied camouflage of dark green and red brown over a base dark yellow was a common cammouflage pattern. In winter, some tanks carried a flat white wash brushed over the base color.

Colored Tiger Tank Same photo as above, but with digital color rendering. The original photo is black and white.

Thumbnail pics In this photo, German engineers change a Tiger's tracks from transport tracks to combat tracks. This was a tedious task frowned by the engineers. The tracks alone weighed 2.5 tons. You can see the wheels dismantled and lying on the ground.

Normandy, 1944 Normandy, late 1944. Zimmerit coating, an anti-magnetic mine paste was applied to the vertical surfaces of the hull and turret to prevent magnetic mines from sticking to the hull. This practice was later discontinued when there were reports that it ignited fires when hit by a shell.

Thumbnail pics World War 2 leading tanker ace, SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) Michael Wittman briefing his tank commanders, Normandy 1944. Decorated with the prestigious Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, Michael Wittman destroyed 138 allied tanks and 132 anti-tank guns during his career.

101st SS Schwere-Panzer Abteilung A unit of the 101st SS Schwere-Panzer Abteilung (Heavy Panzer battalion), which Michael Wittman was part of. The 101st saw action in Russia and Normandy.

Dark green/red brown camouflage An excellent shot of the typical dark green/red brown camouflage which was very common in Normandy. In the background is a SdKfz rocket launcher, in support of the battallion. If I remember correctly, this was taken shortly before Operation Zitadelle.

Tiger 1 with feifel air cleaners Feifel air cleaners located on the back of the hull above the engine compartment were fitted for units operating in tropical environments like in Africa. These air filters were not fitted for units destined for European destinations.

Bergetiger A variation of the Tiger 1, the Bergetiger was converted as a recovery vehicle used to tow distressed tanks from the battlefield. It is equipped with a crane instead of a gun.

Tunisia, North Africa Tunisia, North Africa. This picture shows the first unit, an early production model captured by allied forces. To their dismay, the allies discovered that it was an excellent gun platform, superior to any allied tank currently fielded. It now resides in Aberdeen Proving grounds museum.

Das Reich Tiger Das Reich Tiger defending Kharkov from the impending Russian onslaught, February 1943.

Tiger 224 & 223 in Normandy Tiger 223 and 224 marches on a road during the Normandy assault. This is a late Tiger with the zimmerit coating, steel wheels and the typical green/brown Normandy camouflage.

Vimoutiers Tiger This famed monument known as the Vimoutiers Tiger, sits facing west, close to the town of Vimoutiers, France. It was blown up by their own crew after they had ran out of fuel, shortly after the allied advance in Normandy.

Bovington Tank museum This was taken in Bovington museum. Disabled by a round from a Sherman, the shell hit exactly in the ridge below the gun mantlet and the upper hull, thereby jamming the turret. The crew bailed out and it was subsequently captured. The dent right under the gun mantlet is still visible and can be seen when zoomed in.


See footage of the Tiger Tank in action in the World War 2 Footage Section.


Tiger tank image Resources

Recommended books in association with Amazon.com :-
 
Recommended links :-

  • Tiger I information center - Pictures, history and technical data on all variations of the famous German Tiger I tank of World War II.

  • Tanks in World War 2 - Reference site with pictures for WW II Tank information.

  • Achtung Panzer - You can find more detailed information and photos here. Excellent reference site.







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