The legendary Tiger tank first appeared before Leningrad in agosto of 1942, ed one company of 12 veicoli arrived in Tunisia in late novembre of the same year. The Tiger was a direct response to Soviet KV carri armati pesanti e carro armato medio T-34s which had caused the Wehrmacht so much grief in 1941. The Tiger is generally considered the most sophisticated tank design of the war, but the vehicle was much less cost-effective than the T-34 o Panther tank.
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:16 TAMIYA 56010
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:16 TAMIYA 56011
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:35 ACADEMY 1348
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:35 TAMIYA 35216
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (Feifel Air Filters), 1:35 TAMIYA 35056
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:72 Hasegawa MT8
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (panzergrau), 1:72 CDC 3220
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (dark yellow), 1:72 CDC 3221
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (2-colour camo), 1:72 CDC 3222
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:76 Airfix 01308
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:76 Heller 79888
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:76 Airfix (Soft Plastic)
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:76 Fujimi 76013
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (Feifel Air Filters), 1:76 Milicast G94
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (Feifel Air Filters), 1:87 ROCO 700
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:87 WTD 1
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», , 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GE070
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I» (Feifel Luftfilter), 15 mm Forged in Battle P-61
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:285 GHQ G6
- Panzer VI Ausf. E «Tiger I», 1:300 Heroics&Ros G018
The Tiger legend can be traced back to Tunisia in late 1942 ed early 1943. A total of 30 carri armati Tiger fought there, e they seriously outclassed carri armati medi US e britannici operating in Tunesia. The due companies of 501. schwere Panzerabteilung ed one company of 504. schwere Panzerabteilung were used as a mobile fire brigade, welcome support for the hard-pressed Afrikakorps. It was found that the cannone anticarro 6-pdr britannico could penetrate the Tiger’s side armour at ranges under 500 m, but actually doing so required a well camouflaged firing position ed a courageous crew. The legend might have been short-lived – The Tigers were burning at Kursk in luglio of 1943 already - had it not been for a number of popular myths which have kept the legend alive over the years.
Probably the most common misconception is that the Tiger I carried the "88" o "Acht-Acht". In fact, the "88", made famous by Rommel in Francia ed again in Africa, was the German cannone contraerei da 88 mm L.71 FlaK 35/36. The Tiger I only carried the 8.8 cm L.56 KwK 36, which had a much lower performance. Originally designed to attack high-altitude bombers, "Acht-Acht" FlaK guns were often used in the anti-tank role. Flak 35/36 deployed at the Battle of Kasserine Pass destroyed vast quantities of closely bunched carri armati americani at ranges between 3 e 6 miles. The maximum anti-tank firing range is reported to have been 9 miles. The following table compares armour penetration values of the "88" con the shorter 8.8 cm L.56 of the Tiger I, e the 7.5 cm L.70 KwK 42 of the Panther tank:
Armour Penetration: «88» vs. Tiger I und Panther
8,8 cm L.71 FlaK 36
8,8 cm L.56 KwK 36
7,5 cm L.70 KwK 42
|Pz.Gr. 39 (A.P.)||225 mm||146 mm||170 mm|
|Pz.Gr. 40 (A.P.C.R.)||311 mm||224 mm||239 mm|
|Pz.Gr. 44 (A.P.D.S.)||355 mm||280 mm||298 mm|
|As can be seen, the armour penetration of the real «88» is 27-54% better than that of the shorter 8.8 cm KwK 36 of the Tiger I. Even the smaller 7.5 cm KwK 42 of the Panther outperforms the KwK 36, und it requires approximately 15% less shell storage than the bigger shells of the Tiger I. Shell storage is an important consideration for a Fahrzeug expected to fight prolonged actions.|
Unfortunately for the Tiger, it was a top-down design: The customer wanted a heavily armoured vehicle con a big gun, the other design considerations would fall into place as the project unfolded. The famous "88" would not fit into the Tiger I, ed even the much shorter e noticeably less powerful L.56 version needed a big torretta to house it. In fact, the breech block nearly reached the rear torretta wall. The big e heavy torretta required a large hull to A full 360° rotation of the Tiger’s 11-ton turret reportedly took 30-35 seconds, using the hydrostatic drive, or several minutes if cranked by hand. The T-34 and M4 Sherman could do the same in 10 and 15 seconds, respectively.
If the size of the gun dictates the dimensions of the vehicle, one way to minimize bulk, e maximize internal space is to use vertical armour plate. The Tiger I is 22% shorter e 20% lighter than the Tiger II which introduced sloped armour. Sloped armour is lighter, compared to vertical armour con the same penetration characteristics, but it does require a larger vehicle, thereby offsetting some of the weight-saving. Vehicles con vertical armour plate rely primarily on armour thickness to survive hits, whereas sloped armour causes many potentially penetrating hits to bounce off harmlessly. The table below shows armour penetration probabilities of a cannone anticarro 17-pdr L.58 inglese firing at 45 e 60 mm of sloped armour, compared to 80 mm of angled armour, 38 e 100 mm of vertical armour at 500 metri range.
17-pdr L.58 anti-tank penetration data at 500 meters range
|Target Armour||Vertical Plate
% Point Deduct.
|Inclination Factor||% Point Deduction||Penetration
|38 mm Hull Side
|45 mm Hull Front
|75%||- 8||sloped||- 34||33%|
|60 mm Hull Front
|67%||- 8||sloped||- 34||25%|
|80 mm Turret Side
|100 mm Hull Front
|As expected, the basic probability of a shot penetrating 100 mm of vertical armour is much less than the probability of penetrating 45 mm of vertical armour. However, if the 45 mm plate is sloped, the probability of shots bouncing off – an estimated 34 percentage points – significantly improves the survivability of the armour plate. The final result is that 45 mm of sloped plate provides better protection against armour piercing projectiles than 100 mm of vertical plate. The calculations are based on range test data included in Panzergranate simulation rules.
Apparently, the decision to equip the Tiger I with 100 mm of vertical armour was a mistake. The Fahrzeug would have been better protected by 45 mm of sloped armour. T-34 und Panther tanks sported 60 mm und 80 mm of sloped armour respectively, they weighed much less than the Tiger, the Panther even had the more powerful gun.
If a legend developed around the Tiger, it had to originate in the North African e Western European theatres of operation, where M3 Grant e M4 Sherman crews must have felt very vulnerable in their flimsy hulls. Like the Tiger, the Sherman tank sported vertical armour plate on its hull side, but it was even thinner e very easy to penetrate. At the tactical level, if Grants e Shermans turned to face opposing Tigers, they made themselves immediately vulnerable to flank shots from cannoni anticarro da 5 cm L.60 PaK 38, 75 mm L.46 PaK 40, e 8.8 cm L.71 FlaK 35/36 firing at very long range.
Big e Overweight
The Tiger I was a roomy vehicle, it had approximately 220% the mass of the T-34, making it a large target, more difficult to conceal. The production version of the Tiger I turned out 11 tons heavier than the prototype, it weighed twice as much as the T-34. The enormous weight caused many problems which significantly reduced the combat value of the Tiger I.
Breakdown e Recovery
The great weight required a very sophisticated running gear con eight torsion bars e 24 staggered road wheels per side. If one of the inner road wheels was damaged, up to 13 road wheels had to be removed to get to it. In the combat zone, repairs of this kind would prove very hazardous to the crew, but there was little choice. Recovery from the combat zone was difficult, because the only armoured vehicle capable of towing a Tiger was another Tiger. Because of its delicate drive train, the Tiger did not take kindly to such work, e the towing veicoli would frequently break down as well. On soft ground, turning o reverse driving was known to cause the track to ride up on the drive sprocket, jamming it. The tracks would have to be cut o blown apart to fix the jam, but it was generally considered safer to pull the vehicle back con the help of another Tiger.
Minimal Cruising Range
The Tiger was seriously underpowered. The compact Maybach HL 210, e later HL 230 engine provided 478 KW e 515 KW respectively, but that was not nearly enough for a vehicle weighing 56 tons. The road speed of 45 km/h may be considered acceptable, but fuel economy was very bad. It is important to remember that l’armata tedesca had suffered serious fuel shortages nella prima guerra mondiale, ed again tra la seconda guerra mondiale. In 1942, the army which had invented the Blitzkrieg adopted a tank which was thoroughly unsuitable for mobile warfare. The Tiger I carried 534 liters of diesel fuel, ed it had a range of only 60-100 km, depending on terrain conditions. By comparison, the T-34 had tre times the range, using just 480 liters of diesel fuel. Refueling the Tiger in the combat zone would prove difficult, especially when allied fighters dominated the skies e hunted down the supply columns. Many Tigers were abandoned when they ran out of fuel.
Carri armati Tiger I introduced a number of logistical problem the Wehrmacht had not known previously, e which minimized the operational usefulness of the vehicle. Fuel supply has already been mentioned, but the Tiger itself proved difficult to move from one objective to another. Carri armati Tiger required so much maintenance to keep them running, they could not normally be expected to reach deployment areas under their own power. Rail transport was essential. The loading e unloading of veicoli corazzati from rail cars is a difficult process, but the Tiger required even more work. Each vehicle had a set of transport tracks which were fitted for rail transport. Sixteen road wheels had to be removed to fit the transport track, e the normal tracks had to be put on again before the unloaded Tigers advanced toward their objective. If railheads were lost o if the line was cut, operational mobility of the carro pesante companies was significantly reduced. Carri armati Tiger did travel long distances under their own power, out of necessity, e many veicoli broke down e were abandoned in the process.
Limited range e low mechanical reliability reduced the Tiger’s operational flexibility to a point where the weapon system became difficult to re-deploy once it had been committed to battle. The decision to re-deploy would have to be balanced against the need to hold the ground e recover immobilized e defective Tigers. It became unthinkable that a carro pesante formation would strike out on its own like Rommel did when his division performed a daring breakthrough in Francia nel 1940. Even a limited penetration like the 1944 offensive in the Ardennes quickly bogged down, because it involved Tigers e Panthers con limited operational mobility.
Rommel had transported his own fuel supply in 1940, e he conveniently pulled up at local gas stations to replenish his carri armati leggeri. By 1944, operational success o failure hinged on the capture of large enemy fuel dumps which might allow carro pesante formations to continue their mission. As it happened in the Ardennes, many Tiger e Panther crews eventually abandoned their run dry veicoli e walked home.
- Sonderkraftfahrzeug 181, Tiger I Ausführung E
- Motore: Maybach HL 210, V12-cylinder, 21353 cc, 478 KW @ 3000 rpm
- Velocità: 45.5 km/h
- Capacità di Combustibile: 534 liters
- Fuel Consumption:
- 535 liters per 100 km sulle strade (T-34 used 160 liters per 100 km)
- 935 liters per 100 km fuori strada
- Autonomia: 100 km sulle strade, 60 km fuori strada
- Lower Hull Front - 100 mm of angled armour
- Gun Mantlet, torretta e Hull Front - 100 mm of vertical armour
- Torretta e Hull Sides - 80 mm of vertical armour
- Floor e Roof – 26 mm of armour
- Lunghezza: 8434 mm
- Larghezza: 3705 mm
- Altezza: 3000 mm
- Peso: 56900 kg
- Produzione: agosto 1942 – gennaio 1944
Of the 1350 Tiger I Ausf. E built, approximately 800 were early types.
- Armata tedesca, agosto 1942 – maggio 1945
- Sturmpanzer VI mit 38 cm Mörser RW61 - Sturmtiger
- Berge-Tiger Recovery Vehicle
Like the carro Char B1 francese ed il carro pesante KV sovietico, the Tiger presented a serious problem tactically, but it could be singled out, stopped e destroyed once it had been identified by the enemy. Allied air supremacy worked against the Tiger, e so did the tank destroyers which provided immediate back-up for fanteria ed armoured formations facing Tigers in their sector of the front. Paradoxically, the army which defeated the Char B1 e the Maginot Line, eventually mimicked these same faulty strategies. The Battle of Kursk in luglio of 1943 was a Soviet victory, ed it is considered the turningpoint in the east. Tank losses at Kursk included well over 400 Soviet ed over 300 veicoli tedeschi, more than 10% of which were Tigers. In the west, the typical rate of exchange was tre Shermans for every Tiger tank knocked out. A tactical simulation pitting the Tiger against cinque Shermans is included in Panzergranate rules, developed by Andrew Mark Reid.
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