Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My first Kit: German King Tiger- My Story and History. II

My first Kit: Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Henschel Turret) Dragon - Nr. 6208.

Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger(Henschel Turret) Dragon - Nr. 6208

German King Tiger Tank
Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B (Sdkfz 182)

Other designation: King Tiger, Tiger II, Royal Tiger, Konigstiger
Type: Heavy tank
Manufacturer: Henschel, Krupp
Chassis Nos: VK4503 (H)
Production: 485 units including various variants from December 1943 to March 1945
5 (three in turret)
Weight (tons):
68.5 (Porsche turret)
69.8 (Henschel turret)
Height (meters):
Length (meters):
7.62 (excluding gun barrel)
10.28 (including gun barrel)
Width (meters):
3.66 (without skirting)
3.76 (with skirting)
V12 Maybach HL 230 P30 (700hp)
Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B (8 forward and 4 reverse)
Speed (km/h):
35 - 38 (road)
17 (cross country)
Range (km):
110 (road)
80 (cross country)
FuG 5
88mm KwK 43 (71 calibers)
1 hull MG 7.92mm
1 coaxial MG 7.92mm
1 commander's hatch MG 7.92mm
88mm - 80 rounds (Porsche turret), 86 rounds (Henschel turret)
7.92mm - 5850 rounds
TZF 9b later changed to TZF 9d

The King Tiger tank was one of the most feared weapons of World War 2. German heavy tank development began as early as 1937 but the project was ignored as the Panzer III and IV had so far proved effective tanks and served well in combat. Impressed with heavy Allied tanks (French Char B1 and British Matilda 1), Adolf Hitler revived the project in the spring of 1941. He ordered the creation of heavy Panzers to increase effectiveness to penetrate enemy tanks with heavier armor and a maximum speed of at least 40km/h. These led to the development of a new heavy tank- the Tiger 1 tank and ultimately the King Tiger. No clearly defined objectives or action plans were laid out for the succession of the Tiger 1 tank until January 1943 when the order was given for a new design which was to replace the existing Tiger 1.

Though the designation implies that the Tiger II is a succession of the Tiger 1, it is in effect a completely different tank. The first design consideration for the new tank was the selection of a more effective main gun- an 88mm anti tank gun but the main gun on the Tiger II was far more powerful than that on the Tiger 1. For the development of the chassis, two firms were contracted to come up with the designs namely Henschel and Sohn of Kassel and Porsche of Stuttgart. Both firms Henschel and Porsche were responsible for only the chassis and automotive designs. Turret design was awarded to another firm Krupp of Essen.

The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B (Sdkfz 182) itself was used in the battlefield in the latter part of WWII. Its development was started in Jan. 1943, with the earliest model equipped with a body from the Henschel firm and an armored turret of up to 100mm in thickness designed by Dr. Porsche. Officially designated the Panzerkampfwagen VI-B Tiger II, only fifty Porsche turrets for this version were produced prior to the official adoption of the Henschel turret for mass production. It was however the Porsche turret equipped King Tiger, which left its mark on history by facing off with the Allied Forces in the Normandy Invasion."

Porsche King Tiger Tanks during firing trials.

Henschel King Tiger Tank #502. 

Up to the end of the war, the allies had not introduced any effective means to match and counter the threat. The only Allied nation at that time to really field a heavy tank during most of the war was Russia with its KV tanks. The US put its faith in the Sherman medium tank, though the Pershing did arrive late in the conflict. Along with the British, more faith was put into numbers, reliability and up-gunning existing chassis than in really striving for a heavy tank.

While the heavier firepower and armor of these German tanks were a distinct advantage, these large tanks broke down rather frequently, were unable to use many road and bridges due to their weight, consumed a prodigious amount of petrol, and really were not built in the large numbers that would really make any difference. More of these large tanks were lost because they broke down and couldn't be removed for repair than were actually lost to enemy action.


Scale Modeling: My Pre-Build Ritual.


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