Saturday, April 16, 2011

German King Tiger II

| Saturday, April 16, 2011 | 0 comments

The German King Tiger Tank was introduced in early 1944 and was the most powerful heavy tank during world war 2. With its powerful 88mm gun and an almost impenetrable front armor, it was one of the most feared weapons of world war 2. Up to the end of the war, the allies had not introduce any effective means to counter the threat.

The design followed the same concept as the Tiger I, but was intended to be even more formidable. The Tiger II combined the thick armor of the Tiger I with the sloped armor used on the Panther medium tank. The tank weighed almost seventy metric tons, was protected by 100 to 180 mm (3.9 to 7.1 in) of armor to the front, and was armed with the long barrelled 8.8 cm Kampfwagenkanone 43 L/71 gun. The chassis was also the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless tank destroyer.

German heavy tank development began as early as 1937 with the German Armaments Ministry issuing a specification for a new heavy tank to Daimler-Benz, Henschel, MAN and Porsche. The project however was ignored as the Panzer III and IV had so far proved effective tanks and served well  in combat. It was not until spring 1941 that the project was revived after Hitler was impressed with heavy allied tanks, such as the French Char B1 and British Matilda 1 during the campaign in the west.

At a meeting with Hitler on 26th May, 1941, the planning for the development of a new heavy tank begun. During that meeting, Hitler ordered for the creation of heavy Panzers which were to have an increased effectiveness to penetrate enemy tanks; possess heavier armor than was previously achieved; and attain a maximum speed of at least 40km/h. These key decisions led to the development of a new heavy tank, the Tiger 1 tank and ultimately the King Tiger. However, no clearly defined objectives or action plans were laid out for the succession of the Tiger 1 tank until January 1943 when the order was given for a new design which was to replace the existing Tiger 1.

The Tiger II was issued to heavy tank battalions of the Army (Schwere Heeres Panzer Abteilung - abbreviated s.H.Pz.Abt) and the Waffen-SS (s.SS.Pz.Abt). It was first used in combat with s.H.Pz.Abt. 503 during the Normandy campaign on 11 July 1944; on the Eastern Front the first unit to be outfitted with Tiger IIs was s.H.Pz.Abt. 501 which by 1 September 1944 listed 25 Tiger IIs operational.

Type : Heavy tank
Place of origin : Nazi Germany
Weight : 68.5 tonnes (67.4 LT; 75.5 ST) (early turret), 69.8 tonnes (68.7 LT; 76.9 ST) (production turret)
Length : 6.4 metres (21 ft 0 in), 10.286 metres (33 ft 9 in) with gun forward
Width : 3.755 metres (12 ft 4 in)
Height : 3.09 metres (10 ft 2 in)
Crew : 5 (commander, gunner, loader, radio operator, driver)
Armor : 25–180 mm (1–7 in)
Primary armament : 1× 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71, "Porsche" turret: 80 rounds, Production turret: 86 rounds
Secondary armament : 2× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34, 5,850 rounds
Engine : V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 gasoline, 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
Power/weight : 10 PS/tonne (8.97 hp/ton)
Transmission : Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B (8 forward and 4 reverse)
Suspension : torsion-bar
Ground clearance : 500 mm (1 ft 8 in)
Fuel capacity :860 litres (190 imp gal)
Operational range : Road: 170 km (110 mi), Cross country: 120 km (75 mi)
Speed : Maximum, road: 41.5 km/h (25.8 mph), Sustained, road: 38 km/h (24 mph), Cross country: 15 to 20 km/h (9.3 to 12 mph)


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