PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf E



Henschel , Wegmann
Chassis Nos : 250001-251357
1,350 produced from July 1942 to August 1944


5 Inside the Tiger click here for more info


55000 KG (121,250 lb)

Ground pressure

0.735 kg/cm

Power to weight ratio

12.3 metric hp/ton

Power plant

One Maybach HL 230 P 45 12-cylinder petrol engine developing 700 hp (522 kW)

Fuel capacity

569 liters (approx 125 gallons)


Maybach Olvar Typ OG 40 12 16
8 forward . 4 reverse


Length (including armament) 8.24 m (27 ft)
Length (hull) 6.20m (20 ft 4 in)
Width 3.73m (12 ft 3 in)
Height 2.86m (9 ft 3.25 in)
Combat track width 71.5cm (28.1 in)
Travelling track width 51.5cm (20.3 in


Maximum road speed 45 km/h(28 mph)
Normal maximum speed 38 km/h(24 mph)
Maximum cross-country speed 18 km/h(11 mph)
Maximum road range to be 195 km(121 miles)but under conditions rarely more then 100 km (62 miles)
Fording 1.2 m(3 ft 11 in)gradient 60 per cent
Vertical obstacle 0.79 m(2 ft 7 in)
Trench 1.80 m(5 ft 11 in)

Main armament

One KwK 36 L/56 88-mm cannon with 92 rounds
Traverse : 360º (hydraulic)
Elevation : -9º to +10º
Sight : TZF9b , later the TZF9c

Secondary armament

One 7.92-mm MG 34 mounted coaxially
One MG 34 flexibly mounted in the hull front
6 X Nbw (90mm smoke generators 3 on each side of the turret)


armour-piercing tungsten core
high-explosive and hollow-charge(HEAT)

Muzzle velocity

600 m/sec(HE)
773 m/sec(AP)
930 m/sec(AP/tungsten core)

Effective range

3000 m with armour piercing and 5000 m with HE rounds
Killing from a Distance click here for more info

Armour penetration

171 mm at close range and 110 mm at 2000 m using AP tungsten-core rounds

Armour (mm/angle) Front Side Rear Top/Bottom
Turret 100 / 8º 80 / 0º 80 / 0º 25 / 81º -90º
Superstructure 100 / 8º 80 / 0º . 25 / 90º
Hull 100 / 24º 60 / 0º 80 / 8º 25 / 90º

Fighting PowerThe combination of unparalleled protection and superior fire power meant that in the right circumstances and with experienced crews,it was almost unbeatable,and could have an effect on the battlefield out of all proportion to its numbers.The Tiger concept dated back to 1937 and a specification for a new heavy tank issued by the German Armaments Ministry to Daimler-Benz,Henschel,MAN and Porsche.At that stage it was envisaged as a heavy tank which could break through defenses like the French Maginot line.Work on the project was shelved when the PzKpfw III and IV proved satisfactory in Europe,but in May 1941 a new requirement was issued for a 45-tonne tank armed with a modified 8.8-cm Flak gun.

The Fuhrer Steps inHitler had been impressed by the heavy armour of the British Matilda I and French Char BI bis in 1940 and with the invasion of Russia imminent saw a need for a heavy tank,with the heaviest armour possible.The Fuhrer's intervention meant that the new design got much heavier.Prototypes of the PzKpfw VI were to be ready for demonstration at Rastenburg in East Prussia on the Fuhrer's birthday 20 April in a year's time.Henschel and Porsche each submitted a vehicle,the latter being powered by a complex diesel-electric drive.The Henschel design was judged more practical and economical to build,though the 90 Porsche chassis were converted into tank destroyers.They were known as Elefants or Ferdinands.The Tiger's operational career lasted less then three years.The first tanks to see action were deployed in small numbers with sPzAbt 502 on the Leningrad front in August 1942.It was an inauspicious beginning:several were lost as they advanced in single file over marshes, unable to maneuver when engaged from the flank by Soviet artillery.Later that year Tigers were shipped to the Afrika Korps going into action in Tunisia in December.It quickly became a bogeyman to British and American troops, the thick front armour making it almost invulnerable to Allied tank at ranges of two kilometers or more.As the tide turned against the Axis in North Africa 17 Tigers of sPzAbt 504 were retained in Sicily where they were attached to the Hermann Goering Panzer Division.They attacked the American beachhead when the Allies landed in July 1943 but were driven off by heavy naval gunfire from destroyers operating close inshore.Sixteen out of the 17 tanks were lost over the next few days, most being destroyed by their crews to prevent capture.

Action in ItalyTigers were heavily involved in the fighting in Italy, the reconstituted 504th losing three quarters of its tanks in the fighting after the battle of Monte Cassino in July 1944.The 508th Abteilung was sent to Italy at about the same time, tasked with destroying the Allied Bridgehead at Anzio.However they were unloaded nearly 200 km from the battle, and the approach march through twisty mountainous Italian terrain cost the unit nearly 30 Tigers due to mechanical failure.The survivors mounted an attack alongside PzKpfw V Panthers and the heavy Tiger-based assault guns known as Ferdinands, but were driven back by naval gunfire.The bulk of Germany's Tigers were deployed for the Eastern Front, but until 1944 there were rarely more then 150 tanks available and of those less then 50 per cent were serviceable at any one time.During the battle of Kursk 147 Tigers were assembled and by almost superhuman effort over 120 were actually ready to fight.They acquitted themselves well in battle only 18 been lost.Combat reports from the summer of 1943 indicated that Tiger units destroyed at least 20 enemy tanks, 15 anti-tank guns and four artillery pieces for every one of their own that was lost.

Lack of RangeThe big tank's complexity, unreliability and low endurance meant that it was at a disadvantage over the vast expanses of Russia.Even so in a situation which played to the type's strengths it was almost unbeatable.And it could fight at very long range:in July 1944 a tank commanded by the CO of sPzAbt 506 destroyed a Soviet T-34 at a range of nearly four kilometres.Individual Tiger commanders ran up huge scores : Michael Wittmann of the SS was the most successful ace of the war, he and his crew destroying more then 100 enemy tanks in the east alone.He was closely followed by Wehrmacht experts like Oberleutnant Otto Carius.The Tiger's great strength was in the protection it offered its crew and the immense striking power of its gun.The thick slab-sided armour lacked the good ballistic shape found on contemporary designs like the Panther and the Soviet T-34, but with a thickness which ranged from 63 to 102 mm on the hull and 82 to 100 mm on the turret of the Ausf H,(increased to 110 mm on the Ausf E) it hardly needed to.

Tigers In The East Front Aug 42 - Aug 44

Eighty-EightMain armament was the 8.8-cm KwK 36 LI56 adapted from the anti-tank version ot the superb 88mm Flak gun.It was the most powerful anti-tank gun then in use by any army, capable of penetrating 112 mm of armour at 1400 meters.The Tiger carried 92 rounds of Main gun.Ammunition in stowage bins, lockers in the turret floor and anywhere else that was handy.Self-defence against infantry was provided by 2 MG 34 7.92-mm machine guns one mounted co-axially with the main gun and one in a flexible mount in the front of the hull.In spite of its immense power, the Tiger had several bad flaws.The turret traverse was slow which meant that a fast moving(and brave)enemy tank crew might be able to maneuver for a flank or rear shot.Tigers were slow and the big tank's limited range meant that in a mobile battle it was at a considerable disadvantage.Tigers were complex vehicles needing experience crews and maintenance personnel to keep operational under field conditions.All to often bogged-down or broken-down Tiger's had to be destroyed the tank's massive weight making it an impossible load for standard Wehrmacht recovery vehicles.

Wide TrackThe Tiger needed a track with a width of 72.5 cm to spread the load.This was too wide for conventional railway flat cars and so for transport the outer road wheels had to be removed and a narrower 52-cm track fitted.It took considerable effort to refit the outer wheels and wide tracks for combat.Ride comfort was good-the interleaving road wheels helped to spread the massive weight evenly and a torsion bar suspension gave a smooth ride over rough tarrain.However if an inner road wheel was damaged by a mine field repairs were a major problem.In the East mud freezing between the wheels overnight could immobilize the tank.By the summer of 1944 Tiger strength was reaching its peak with over 300 in service in the East (with around 250 being operational) and a further 98 deployed in France and 76 in Italy.However the massive battles of that summer against overwhelming enemy strength saw heavy Tiger losses (more then 240 in three months on the Eastern Front alone).Production ot the Tiger tank was never high.Initially 12 vehicles were completed per month but by November 1942 this had increased to 25.It went through various modifications during its two-year production run:early models had smoke projectors and pistol ports in the turret side but these were removed in later vehicles.Those that were destined for Africa and Russia were fitted with air filters against dust and sand.Eventually 1,355 Tigers were compleated.The last operational Tiger were used to defend the center of Berlin in April 1945.There were few Tiger variants:around 80 were completed as Befehlswagen with extra radios giving commanders improved control of their units.Some recovery versions were improvised out of necessity-the standard Wehrmacht recovery vehicle was the SdKfz 9 18-ton half track but two or even three might be needed to handle a Tiger.The field solution to recovering a damaged or bogged-down Tiger I was to use two more Tigers to tow it clear.