Saturday, August 25, 2012

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II ( King Tiger / Royal Tiger)

Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf B "Tiger II"

Tiger II with Henschel tower

Main Features

5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, radio operator)
10,28 m
3,75 m
3,09 m
69,7 t
Unit price
321,500 Reichsmarks
Armor and armament

25–185 mm
Main armament
8.8-cm KwK 43 L/71
Secondary armament
2 × 7.92 mm MG 34

Ottomotor Maybach HL 230 P 30
700 PS (515 kW)
Torsion bar
Top speed
38 km / h
Power / weight
10 hp / t
170 km

The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf B "Tiger II" (Sd Kfz. 182), and "King Tiger" called, was a heavy tank of the Wehrmacht . The designation "King Tiger" was an unofficial German name, which was supported by the Western Allied tank crew, not entirely accurate, translated into "King Tiger" or "Royal Tiger".


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Development
    • 1.2 serial production
    • 1.3 use
  • 2 Draft Analysis
    • 2.1 Comparison opponents
    • 2.2 Weaknesses of the Tiger II
  • 3 Technology
    • 3.1 Munition
    • 3.2 Specifications
  • 4 Received copies
  • 5 See also



Based on experience with the T-34 in the fall of 1941, the German Army Ordnance Department was only willing to accept designs for tanks, which were bigger and better in every way than any of the former Allied developments. After a tender specification of the Army Ordnance Department in August 1942, both the Porsche KG in Stuttgart and Henschel & Sohn in Kassel with the preparations. In the construction of the new situation was drawn to the theater of war into account, and therefore the emphasis on good defensive skills, which gave better weapons and stronger protection takes precedence over high speed. The Army Ordnance Department finally decided on the design Henschel VK 4503 (H), since the planned Porsche tanks VK 4502 (P) had a too complicated electric drive. The Tiger II was appointed in January 1943, officially, the prototype only be delivered in October of the same year. The reason for the delay of the trial of German engineers, parts, production and maintenance of the new tank and the Tiger II was already planned Panther II to standardize as much as possible.

Series Production

Between December 1943 and March 1945 a total of 485 or 489 Panzerkampfwagen Tiger II were at Henschel and Wegmann in Kassel produced (factory documents speak of 487 pieces). A monthly output of 140 units was planned, but these figures were never nearly reached, the highest production rate was 94 units in August 1944. For a time, the Tiger II was built in parallel with the Henschel Tiger I, from August 1944, however, production was completely converted to the new model.
Both the tower and the Henschel design of the rejected draft Porsch were of Krupp developed. The narrow tower of the Henschel design was at the beginning of production but not yet ready for production, so that recourse to the Porsche towers had already finished, and the first fifty copies of the Tiger II received this tower. All other were constructed for the Henschel narrow tower, also called the production tower. The Henschel tower was compared with the Porsche turret simpler and thus cheaper to manufacture. There was also at that not a risk that - like the Porsche Tower - from the diaphragm ricocheting bullets pierced the thin roof armor driver.The only derivative of the Tiger II, the Jagdpanzer "was hunting tigers ".


The Panzerkampfwagen Tiger II was mainly delivered to the heavy armored divisions that were already equipped with the Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I. The first equipped with tigers II association was, however, the Panzer Lehr Division . She had the Panzer Lehr Regiment five Tiger II in the assumed tank company ( radio steering ) 316 These were used to combat the Allied landings in Normandy used. On 27 June 1944, with 33 and 12 tigers tigers I II refurbished Heavy Panzer Battalion 503 was transferred to the Western Front, where they from 11 July 1944 was used. From June to July 1944, the Heavy Tank Division 501 continuously drained for refurbishment of the Eastern Front, and 45 tigers II on 6 August 1944 the Army Group North Ukraineassumed. End of July, both the 3 / Heavy Panzer Battalion 503 and the 1 / Heavy SS-Panzer Battalion 101 were pulled out of the western front, equipped with 14 tigers II and placed back in early August. On 7 July, in the defense of the Soviet offensive was Operation Bagration shrunk to 15 Tiger I Heavy Tank Division 505 deducted from Molodetschno from the Eastern Front and the military training camp Ohrdruf postponed. There, she was equipped with 45 tigers and II on 9 September again on the Eastern Front in Nasielsk put to use. The Heavy tank battalion 506 was in Paderborn equipped with 45 tigers II and then against the Allies at Arnhem used. The coming of the Western Front, Heavy tank battalion 503 was mid-September on the training ground Sennelager fully equipped with tigers II. At the same time there is also the SS Heavy Panzer Battalion 101 was complete with tigers II and returned to the Western Front laid. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, 86 Tiger II were used, two of which were shot down by the British and given up three of their crews. 1945 was the heavy tank battalions 507 and 509, as well as the heavy SS Panzer Divisions 502 renamed ( 102) and 503 (renamed 103) comes complete with tigers II. On 31 March 1945 was the last 13 divided by Henschel produced Tiger II on the 3rd / Heavy Panzer Battalion 510 and 511. Then a few Tiger II of the Home Army were used in so-called alarm units.

Design Analysis

Opponents comparison

The Tiger II was the culmination of the development of tanks in the German Reich during the Second World War, with the shape of the Panther oriented. Compared to the Tiger I grew both the dimensions and the armor thickness and therefore the weight. The result was a head-on difficult vulnerable vehicle, however, was because of its large mass of 68 t is relatively slow. Lack of better alternatives had the same engine as the Panther and Tiger are used. The 8.8-cm KwK 43 L/71 tank gun was one of the best of its time and gave the "King Tiger" a tremendous firepower. All the enemy tanks were destroyed frontally at distances of 1000 to 3000 m, there are a few reports of firing T-34 at a combat range of about 4000 meters. In terms of armor and armament equivalent but about 20 tons lighter and thus more mobile, only the Soviet Union would be JS-3 was, however, on the European battlefield was no longer used. Of the weapons, but not the armor, were the M26 Pershing and IS-2 Model 1944, approximately equivalent. The table below shows the distance at which the tank shell 39/43 could penetrate the armor of different enemy types. However, it must be remembered that it is theoretical values, as the lack of fire from tank duels usually took place in the shorter distance.
Distance from which a King Tiger tank could theoretically destroy the following

Target Tank
T 34-85
JS 2

Gun shield
2600 m
3500+ m
3500+ m
2800 m
1800 m

Front tower
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
2300 m

Tub forward
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500 m
2600 m
2600 m

Tower side
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3400 m

Tub side
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m

Tower behind
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
1800 m

Pan back
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
3500+ m
2500 m

The intensified and especially low sloped armor of the Tiger II had to muddle through with the best enemy tank guns only from relatively close range, broke and splintered but because of reduced material quality often. The Tiger II in frontal attack could tank destroyer SU-100 and ISU-122 as well as the heavy tank IS-2 can be dangerous if they were close enough (from 600 to 500 meters distance penetrate the frontal armor of the tank, however, already from 1500 to 1000 meters penetration distance of the frontal armor of the tower). Clearly at risk was the Tiger II , when the enemy could shoot through outmaneuver or ambushes on the side armor.

Weaknesses of the Tiger II

  • Inferior Armor: Due to lack of molybdenum in the German war economy was replaced this in the alloy of the steel armor of the Tiger II by vanadium, thereby increasing the toughness of the steel decreased significantly. When results came despite nominally therefore more heavily armored than the Tiger I often breaks in the armor and dangerous secondary fragmentation inside.
  • High weight: Many bridges were impassable for him why. Also often the mountains of defective vehicles was impossible.
  • Extremely high fuel economy: The end of the war was generating more limiting factor, because the tanks stopped with empty tanks and had to be abandoned. The radius was used in comparison to rival heavy tanks too small.
  • Low speed: In modern war movement, he could not follow quickly advancing associations or (at the end of the war more often) not withdraw in time.
  • Lack of mobility of the tower: When the tank was inclined, it was often not possible to rotate the tower because its engine was too weak.

  • Tiger II with ammunition in the German Tank Museum Munster
  • Insufficient engine and cooling and a weak for the weight to transmission and chassis: This led frequently to the engine, chassis and transmission damage under the terms of the declining economy often could not be fixed.



The Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II were 80 (Porsche turret) and 78 (Henschel turret) projectiles for the main armament is carried. Normally 50% of tank shells and 50% explosive shells were included. The machine guns are shot 4800 (32 Gurtsäcke with 150 rounds) were in the tank.
Ammunition and penetrating power of the KwK 43 L/71

Nomenclature of ammunition
Tank shell 39/43
Tank shell 40/43
Bullet weight
10,2 kg
7,3 kg
Muzzle Velocity
1000 m/s
1130 m/s
Penetrating power of the KwK at 30 ° incidence

100 meters
202 mm
237 mm
500 meters
185 mm
217 mm
1000 meters
165 mm
197 mm
1500 meters
148 mm
170 mm
2000 meters
132 mm
152 mm


Tiger II with Henschel turret and Zimmeritpaint, Budapest 1944

Technical data of the Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II

0 Main Features

Combat weight
69.7 t (t with Porsche turret 68.5)
Weight pan
27,7 t
Weight Henschel tower
13.5 t (unarmed 8 t)
Ground Pressure
0,78 kg/cm2
LOA with gun / no gun
10,28 m / 7,38 m
Canon front overhang
2,90 m
Width (with road chains)
3,75 m
3,09 m
Ground clearance
50 cm
Chain width of combat chain
80 cm (chain Weight: 2.8 to 3.5 t)
Chain width of Verladekette
66 cm (chain weight: 1.5 t)
0 armament

Main armament
8.8-cm KwK 43 L/71
Pipe weight
1,6 t
Tube length with muzzle brake
6.60 m (without: 6.28 m)
Elevation field
-8 ° to +15 °
Maximum firing range
9350 m at 15 ° increase
Target funds
TZF 9b 1 (Porsche TZF 9d)
Secondary armament
1 × 7.92 mm machine gun in a 34 Bug

1 × 7,92 mm MG-34 koaxial im turm

1 × AA-MG on the turret roof
0 Performance

Maybach HL 230 P 45
23 l
Bore / Stroke
130/145 mm
High Performance
700 hp (515 kW) at 3000 rpm
Weight-related performance
10 hp / t
Maximum road
38 km / h
Maximum terrain
17 km / h
Fuel storage
860 l
Reach road / terrain
170 km / 120 km
semiautomatic Vorwählgetriebe Maybach Olvar
with eight forward and four reverse gears
Two radii Superposition steering gear
smallest turning circle
2,08 m
Torsion bars
Climbing ability
85 cm
up to 35 °
160 cm
Grave excess capacity
250 cm
0 Panzerung

Tub / driver front 40 ° inclination
150 mm
Wannenbug 40 °
100 mm
When Page 90 °
80 mm
When Rear 60 °
80 mm
When ceiling
40 mm
When soil
40 mm
Tower bezel
80 mm
Turmfront 80 °
185 mm
Tower side 69 °
80 mm
Turret rear 70 °
80 mm
Tower top 12 °
44 mm

Preserved specimens

Because of technical problems or lack of fuel had many Tiger II abandoned or rendered useless by their own crews, so they could not be used by the enemy. Thus some stayed Tiger II maintained in good condition.

Tiger II tanks of the museum Musee des Blindes in Saumur

Tiger II in Swiss military museum in Full

  • Musee des Blindes , Saumur / Loire , France: After the war, some Tiger II served to about 1952 in the French army. Maybach engineers have developed in France a new version of the engine, now with 1000 hp. Thus, the tank was indeed motorized better, it remained a very heavy vehicle that spent vast amounts of fuel. A drivable copy can be seen in the museum.
  • Swiss Military Museum , Full , Switzerland: Tiger II (chassis number 280215) of the Heavy Panzer Battalion 506th The tank was in Switzerland passed by France after the war. This is completely restored since the fall of 2007 in an accessible area for visitors to the museum and made ​​ready to drive again.
  • Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox , United States: Tiger II (chassis number 280243) with turret number 332 built in September 1944, on 24 December 1944 the Heavy SS Panzer Division seized 501
  • German Tank Museum , Munster , Germany: Tiger II (chassis number 280 101) 501 with tower number 121 of the Heavy SS Panzer Division
  • December 44 Museum, La Gleize, Belgium: Tiger II (chassis number 280273) with tower number 213 built in October 1944, on 24 December 1944 the Heavy SS Panzer Division 501 captured.
  • Kubinka Tank Museum , Kubinka , Russia: Tiger II 502 with tower number 002 of the heavy armored division
  • Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham, England: Tiger II (chassis number 280 093) 501 with tower number 104 of the Heavy SS Panzer Division
  • Bovington Tank Museum , Dorset , England: Prototype Porsche-Turm mit

Tiger II with Porsche turret

See also

  • Jagdpanzer Jagdtiger
  • Panzer VIII Maus