Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armor encountered in the initial months of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I design gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, in its initial armored fighting vehicle-dedicated version, which in its Flak version had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both air and ground targets. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable.
- Type – Heavy Panzer
- Service History – 1942–45.
- Production History –
- Designer – Erwin Aders – Henschel & Son.
- Designed –1938–41.
- Manufacturer – Henschel.
- Unit Cost – 250,800 RM.
- Production – 1942–44.
- Number Built – 1,347.
- Specifications (RfRuK VK 4501H Ausf.E, Blatt: G-330) –
- Mass – 54 tonnes – 60 short tons.
- Combat Weight (Ausf. E) – 57 tonnes – 63 short tons.
- Length – 6.316 m – 20 ft 8.7 in.
- Length with Gun Forward – 8.45 m – 27 ft 9 in.
- Width – 3.56 m – 11 ft 8 in.
- Height – 3.0 m – 9 ft 10 in.
- Crew – 5 – Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver, & Assistant Driver.
- Armor – 25–120 mm – 0.98–4.72 in.
- Main Armament –
- 1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56.
- 92 AP and HE rounds.
- Secondary Armament –
- 2× 7.92 mm MG 34.
- 4,500 rounds.
- 4,800 rounds – Ausf. E.
- 2× 7.92 mm MG 34.
- Engine Maybach HL230 P45 V-12 –
- 700 PS – 690 hp, 515 kW.
- Power/Weight – 13 PS (9.5 kW) / tonne.
- Suspension – Torsion Bar.
- Ground Clearance – 0.47 m – 1 ft 7 in.
- Operational Range –
- Road: 195 km -121 mi.
- Cross Country: 110 km – 68 mi.
- Speed Maximum, road: 45.4 km/h – 28.2 mph.
- Sustained, road: 40 km/h – 25 mph.
- Cross Country: 20–25 km/h -12–16 mph.
- Wars – World War II.
While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, used expensive and labor-intensive materials and production methods, and was time-consuming to produce. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and immobilizations, and limited in range by its huge fuel consumption. It was, however, generally mechanically reliable but expensive to maintain. It was also complicated to transport, and vulnerable to immobilization when mud, ice, and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved road wheels in winter weather conditions, often jamming them solid. In 1944, production was phased out in favor of the Tiger II.
The tank was given its nickname Tiger listen by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (Panzer VI version H, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), but the tank was redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943. It also had the ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.
Today, only a handful of Tigers survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The Bovington Tank Museum’s Tiger 131 is currently the only one restored to running order.
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