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Tiger I

Panzerkampfwagen VI

// Informations about the tank Tiger I (Panzerkampfwagen VI).

Wir Werden Sieger - durch unsren Tiger, «We will be victorious, thanks to our Tigers». This statement exemplifies the confidence that the German soldiers put on their famous war weapon. The fear aroused in the Allies was such that every young American soldier (green GI) considered that all Germans were Panzer Tigers. This tank was the first German armed vehicle that has far surpassed any of the Allied ones, including the powerful T-34. 

The stories that were derived from encounters of the Allied forces with this so feared weapon were converted into tales of fear and blood. The incredible ShwereAbtilung (Heavy Battalions) included the best tankers in the whole history, and the most memorable of them is Michael Wittman. 

The project to build a tank superior to all the existing vehicles at the time, carried out by the German army, was started in 1937 and was in charge of Dr. Porsche and Henschel, both with a great career as designers. However, none of the designers had designed a heavy tank. The Krupp factory was chosen to construct the turret of the two designers to then be performed tests. Henschel produced two prototypes: the VK4501 (H)H1 and the VK450 (H)H 2. The H1 model was armed with a gun of 88 mm KwK 35 L/56 originally designed as a anti-aircraft weapon, and the H2 model had a 75 mm KwK 42 L/70. It was decided to continue with the model H1, and the prototype was ready in April. 

On April 17, 1942, both were ready as well as both designs that were presented to Adolf Hitler on April 20. In July, they were tested on a tankers school in Berka, Germany. During testing, the model VK 4501 (H) from Henschel was a great success, having been approved to be manufactered in the Henschel plants in Kassel. 

The first Tigers were sent to NortGruppe in the Leningrad area in August 1942 as part of Battalion 502. Battalion 501 was sent in December 1942, to Tunisia. These Tigers have imposed their strength in fighting in the desert. 


North Africa was the site for the first time, the American units faced the German forces of the Tigers, and their performance was reduced and their impact on events in North Africa was virtually nil. The massive Allied air power showed its effects and the war in North Africa was won by the Allies.

 


 
Specifications
Weight 55 tons.
Crew commander, gunner, pusher, driver and radio operator
Engine Maybach HL 230 P45 gasoline
Speed 38 km / h (road) and 20 km / h (off road)
Range 100 Km (road)
Length 3.73 m
Height 2.85 m
Main Armament Cannon KwK 36 of 88 mm/L56
Secondary Armament MG 34 machine guns of 7.92 mm 
(1 coaxial, 1 1 in the hull and turret, flak optional)
Ammunition 92 projectiles of 88 mm and 7.92 mm 5.000
Shielded Hull 100 mm (front), 82 mm (sides and aft) and 25 mm (ceiling and floor)
Shield of the Tower 100 mm (front), 82 mm (sides and aft) and 25 mm (ceiling)


Most of the tanks was destroyed by the correspondent crew, except one that was captured by the British during the withdrawal of DAK (Deutsche Afrika Korps).


The Tigers were used by the SS and the Wehrmacht throughout the war, and fought until the desperate fighting in Berlin in 1945. On both fronts, both the Tommys as the Soviets learned to fear the powerful 88 mm gun Flak 36 L/56 which was dangerous for any other Allied vehicle. Its thick armor made him invulnerable to most of the Allied tanks, except the mighty Russian tanks. The only real disadvantage of the Tigers was their need for ongoing maintenance. During the war this type of German tank destroyed a large number of enemy vehicles and built the great myth of the Tigers.


Due to the large income of Tigers, the Germans built a large number of variations. From July 1942 until August 1944 Henschel built 1360 Tigers. The month of highest production was in April 1944, with 105 Tigers built. The main reason why they built a small number of tanks of this type throughout the war was the laborious and expensive to manufacture. In late 1944, the tank was replaced by Tiger II. The manufacture of the Tigers was never enough to cover the needs. 

If the number of Tiger tanks built by the Germans (1360) is compared with the number of T-34 tanks built by the Russians (50,000), it's easy to conclude that if the amount of Tigers have been much higher it is likely that the fate of Third Reich would possibly be different.




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