Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
"New German Heavy Tank" from Intelligence Bulletin, June 1943
In Tunisia the German Army sent into combat, apparently for the first time, its new heavy tank, the
Pz. Kw. 6, which it calls the "Tiger" (see fig. 3). The new tank's most notable features are its
The "Tiger" tank, which is larger and more powerful than the Pz. Kw. 4,1 is about 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 9 1/2 feet high. The barrel of the 88-mm gun overhangs the nose by almost 7 feet. The tank weighs 56 tons in action (or, with certain alterations, as much as 62 tons), and is reported to have a maximum speed of about 20 miles per hour. It normally has a crew of five.
The armament of the Pz. Kw. 6 consists of the 88-mm tank gun (Kw. K. 36), which fires fixed
ammunition similar to, or identical with, ammunition for the usual
The turret rotates through 360 degrees, and the mounting for the gun and coaxial machine gun appears to be of the customary German type.
The suspension system, which is unusually interesting, is illustrated in figure 4. The track is made of metal. To the far right in figure 4 is the front-drive sprocket and to the far left the rear idler. There are no return rollers, since the track rides on top of the Christie-type wheels, which are rubber rimmed. It will be noted that there are eight axles, each with three wheels to a side, or each with one single and one double wheel to a side. There are thus 24 wheels -- 8 single wheels and 8 double wheels on each side of the tank. The system of overlapping is similar to the suspension system used on German half-tracks.
The tank is provided with two tracks, a wide one (2 feet, 4.5 inches) and a narrow one (just under 2 feet). The wide track is the one used in battle, the narrow being for administrative marches and where maneuverability and economy of operation take precedence over ground pressure. The dotted line in figure 4 indicates the outer edge of the narrow track. When the narrow track is used, the eight wheels outside the dotted line can be removed.
The armor plating of the Pz. Kw. 6 has the following thicknesses and angles:
The angular (as opposed to rounded) arrangement of most of the armor is a bad design feature; reliance seems to be placed on the quality and thickness of the armor, with no effort having been made to present difficult angles of impact. In addition, none of the armor is face-hardened. The familiar German practice of increasing a tank's frontal armor at the expense of the side armor is also apparent in the case of the Pz. Kw. 6.
Undoubtedly the Germans developed the "Tiger" tank to meet the need for a fully armored vehicle
equipped with a heavy weapon capable of dealing with a variety of targets, including hostile tanks.
Although the "Tiger" can perform these duties, its weight and size make it a logistical headache. It
is entirely probable that the Germans, realizing this disadvantage, are continuing to develop tanks
1 To date there is no
record of a