Tag Archive for 'PzKpfw VI'

Pz. Kpfw. “Tiger” (8.8 cm Kw. K. 36 L/56) (Sd. Kfz. 181): Heavy Tank “Tiger”

Pz. Kpfw. "Tiger" (8.8 cm Kw. K. 36 L/56) (Sd. Kfz. 181): Heavy Tank "Tiger"

The Pz. Kpfw. VI was introduced into service by Germany in the latter part of 1942.

Its construction incorporates a notable departure from past German practice in that the superstructure is welded to the main hull instead of being bolted. The use of heavy armor called for flat plates wherever possible, resulting in a simple box-like contour. Another interesting development in construction involves plate interlocking, secured by welding, in addition to the normal step jointing. This has no doubt been made necessary by the use of thicker armor, which ranges from 102 mm in the front nose plate to 92 mm in the cast steel gun mantlet, and 80 mm in the side superstructure.

The hull is divided into four compartments. The floor of the fighting compartment is suspended from and rotates with the turret. The turret is centrally mounted between the hull side plates. A circular fixed cupola, with an inside diameter of 20 inches, is mounted in the turret roof.

The suspension consists of front sprocket, rear idler, and eight triple, rubber-tired bogie wheels 31 1/2 inches in diameter sprung on torsion bars. The wheel assemblies straddle each other in such a manner that the outer rims of four of the wheels on each side may be removed to accommodate the narrow (20 1/2 inch) transportation track. For combat a wider (28 1/2 inch) track is utilized.

The mechanical layout follows orthodox German practice. The Maybach, V-12, 642 hp. engine is mounted centrally at the rear.

The armament consists of an electrically fired 8.8 cm Kw.K. 36 with coaxial 7.92 mm MG 34 in the turret, a ball-mounted MG 34 in the vertical plate, a 9 mm machine gun stowed, six smoke generators, and three mine throwers mounted on the superstructure roof. The existence of a Model “P” has also been reported.


Weight (in battle order)         63 tons
Length (excl. gun) 20 ft., 8 1/2 ins.
Width 12 ft., 3 ins.
Height 9 ft., 4 3/4 ins.
Ground clearance 17 ins.
Tread centers 9 ft., 3 1/2 ins.
Ground contact 12 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 28 1/2 ins.—20 1/2 ins.
Pitch of track 5 1/8 ins.
Track links 96
Fording depth 96 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 87 miles
     Cross-country 53 miles
     Roads 25 miles
     Cross-country 15 miles
     Front plate 102 mm at 70° to horiz.
     Sides 80 mm at 80° to horiz.
Armament 8.8 cm Kw.K 36
2 MG 34’s
M.V. 2624 f/s
Wt. of projectile 21 lb.
Ammunition 8.8 cm 92 rds.
MG’s—5100 rds.
Engine Maybach HL 210, V-12, 642 hp.
Transmission Preselector, hydraulic—8 speeds forward, 4 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, hydraulic
Crew 5

German: p. 38

Pz. Kpfw. VI (B) “Tiger” für 8.8 cm Kw. K. 43 L/71 (Sd. Kfz. 182): Heavy Tank (“King Tiger” or “Royal Tiger”)

Pz. Kpfw. VI (B) Tiger für 8.8 cm Kw. K. 43 L/71 (Sd. Kfz. 182): Heavy Tank (King Tiger or Royal Tiger)

This heavy tank designed for defensive warfare or for penetrating strong lines of defense made its combat appearance in 1944. It is distinguished by heavy frontal armor and by the employment of the heaviest German gun to be used in a turret with 360° traverse—the 8.8 cm Kw. K. 43 (L/71). This gun has a muzzle velocity of 3,280 f/s, and firing an A.P.C.B.C. projectile weighing 22.4 pounds against 30° homogenous plate has a reported penetration of 6.3 inches at 1,000 yards.

The hull and superstructure are of single-skin welded construction with interlocked joints. The hull front is formed of a single sloping plate 150 mm thick, and a lower nose plate 100 mm thick. Each of these plates is set at an angle of 50° from the vertical, resembling in design the Panther rather than the earlier Tiger. The pannier side plates, 80 mm thick, are set at a 25° angle and also resemble those of the Panther. The turret is located sufficiently back of the angle of deflection to be clear of direct hits on the front plate. The rounded front is 180 mm thick.

At the rear of the vehicle is a Maybach 60°, V-12, gasoline engine of 600 horsepower. The transmission, steering, and final drive are similar to those of the Tiger E. The suspension is made up of nine torsion bars on each side to carry the tank on steel tired road wheels. Five of these overlap the four internal ones. Every alternate track link has two ground contact bars.

This tank mounts the 8.8 cm Kw. K. 43 (L/71), two M.G. 34’s, an antiaircraft machine gun, and a smoke projector. A commander’s version of this tank was also manufactured.

The transport trailer for this tank is described on page 62.2.


Weight       75 tons
Length 23 ft., 10 ins.
Width (overall) 12 ft., 7 ins.
Height 10 ft., 2 ins.
Ground clearance 1 ft., 5 ins.
Tread centers 9 ft., 4 ins.
Ground contact
Width of track 32.5 ins.
Pitch of track 5.9 ins.
Track links 90
Fording depth 69 ins.
Theoretical radius of action
   Roads 106
   Roads 23.6 m.p.h.
   Cross-country 10 m.p.h.
   Front glacis plate 150 mm
   Sides 80 mm
Armament (1) 8.8 cm Kw. K. 43; (2) 7.92 mm M.G.’s; (1) A.A. M.G.; (1) smoke projector
Ammunition (Rds.)—88 mm 80
Engine Maybach HL 230
Transmission 8 forward speeds; 4 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, hydraulically operated
Crew 5

German: p. 38.2 (August 1, 1945)