TIGER I gallery 2

The tank commander sat at the rear of the turret and had a cupola with 5 armoured glass vision slots. It also had a traverse indicator similar to that of the gunner to always know the position of the gun. The cupola had a swinging arm to mount a standard scissors type artillery periscope and an element to mount a rangefinder.
The hull had a 100mm front, 60mm side and 80mm rear armour plate. The bottom and roof were 25mm thick. Both the side and rear armour was sufficient to protect the Tiger from Allied 75mm and 76mm rounds,(except the British 17pdr), at normal combat ranges. Finally the “Vorpanzer”, which served to protect the tracks and the traction wheel, was not installed on the series Tigers, only on the pre-series Versuchsfahrzeug V1 tank (on the image).
The main armament was a powerful and accurate 88mm KwK36 L/56 gun. This gun normally used three different types of ammunition, the “PzGr.39” (APCBC), the “PzGr.40” (APCR) and the “Sprgr.L/45” (HE), although it also had the “Gr.39 HL” (HEAT) round. It was intended that 50% of the ammunition carried was Sprgr. L/45 and the other 50% belonged to PzGr.39 rounds, but occasionally PzGr.40 round against heavier vehicles replace the Sprgr L/45 due to its higher penetrating power. The Gr. 39 HL rounds were sometimes taken in place of the Sprgr.L/45 and was effective against light armour and unprotected targets.
The KwK36 L/56 gun achieved 100% hits against targets 500 meters away and with any type of ammunition, both in practice and in combat. At 1 km distance with the PzGr.39 round it achieved 93% of successes in combat, being 80% with the PzGr.40 round. Even at 2 km distance this gun achieved 50% of success with the PzGr.39 round in combat situation.
The penetration capacity was also very high. The PzGr.39 round weighed 10.2kg, had a muzzle velocity of 773 m/s and penetrated 99mm of armoured plate at 1 km distance. The PzGr.40 round weighed 7.3kg, and with a muzzle velocity of 930 m/s penetrated 138mm at 1 km. These 2 previous shells were capable of penetrating 83 and 110mm of steel respectively at 2 km distance. The 7.65kg Gr.39 HL round with a 600m/s muzzle velocity could pierce 90mm of armour at any distance.
In practice, the previous data showed that a Tiger could penetrate the front of the turret of an M-4A2/A4 Sherman at 1.8 km distance, while the Sherman A2 (75mm gun) could only penetrate the side of the Tiger‘s hull at 900 meters and the Sherman A4 (76mm gun) could penetrate the front of the Tiger approaching the almost suicidal distance of 700 meters.
The more widespread British tanks had the same problem as their American colleagues. The Tiger could penetrate the front of the Churchill‘s turret at 1.7km away and those of the Cromwell tank at 2km. The Churchill and Cromwell, both armed with 75mm guns, could only penetrate the side of the Tiger‘s hull at 900 meters.
In the case of Soviet tanks, the Tiger could penetrate the front of the T-34/85 turret at 1.4km but to penetrate the front of the IS-122 turret it had to get as close as 100 meters. The T-34/85 could penetrate the Tiger turret from 500 meters and the IS-122 could do so from 1.5km. In this case, the Soviets could meet the Tigers on more advantageous terms than the Americans or the British.
The armament was completed with two 7.92mm MG-34 machine guns, one coaxial with the gun and the other installed in the front of the hull, handled by the radio operator. A 9mm MP-40 submachine gun was also carried for crew self-defense which could be fired from inside through several pistol ports. From August 1943 to June 1944 the manufactured Tigers carried three 90mm NbK-39 smoke dischargers on each side of the turret.
From December 1942 until October 1943 Tigers were equipped with various individual anti-personnel “S” mine dischargers to defend against infantry attacks. These were installed in various areas around the superstructure and fired a round bomb/grenade filled with 360 steel balls that exploded in all directions at a height of 1 to 1.5 meters. These dischargers could be disassembled and carried inside if they were not needed. In some of the later production Tiger this weapon was replaced by a “Nahverteidigungswaffe” (close-in defense weapon), which was an anti-personnel mine thrower that was used from inside the tank and could be fired anywhere.
The first 495 Tiger tanks manufactured had special equipment to be able to ford waterways up to 4 meters deep. The system consisted of a snorkel tube that supplied air to the engine and seals that made the engine compartment watertight. Since August 1943, this equipment was changed for a simpler one that allowed crossing water courses up to 1.30 meters deep.
Tiger E tank only had a variant, was a command version designated as “Panzerkampfwagen VI H (88 mm) (SdKfz 182) (als PzBefWg)“, later changed to “PzBefWg Tiger (SdKfz 267 und 268) Ausf. E“. In order to install the radio equipment, the carried 88mm ammunition had to be reduced from 92 to 66 rounds and that of the machine gun from 4,800 to 3,500 rounds. In addition, the turret periscope, the vision block on the right side of the turret and the coaxial machine gun were removed.
The command tanks were differentiated since the SdKfz 267 had two transmitters, a FuG-8 and a FuG-5 and the SdKfz 268 had two other transmitters but in this case a FuG-7 and a FuG-5. The FuG-8 had a medium wave receiver while the FuG-5 and FuG-7 had an ultra-short wave receiver. A total of 89 Tiger E tanks of both command models have been built since February 1943.
Like any vehicle manufactured in series, over time attempts are made to improve it or repair possible faults detected with use. In the case of the Tiger tank, modifications of various importance were included throughout its production, but new variants of the Tiger E were not constituted as did the British (Mark 1, 2 … etc) or the Americans (A1, A2 .. .etc).
In September 1942 a removable fender was installed on each side of the hull to protect the ends of the gauge track. A 15mm steel cable and a toolbox were also installed for adjusting the tracks. In November 1942 Feifel air filters were installed in the Tiger tanks that were to be deployed in “tropical climates” such as Tunisia, Italy and the South of the USSR.
In January 1943, a deflector and cover were installed over the exhaust pipes and mufflers to prevent the flames and glow from showing at night. In September 1943 the pistol-port at the rear of the turret was replaced by an escape hatch, the armour was increased on the sides of the mantlet and in the opening of the gun sight.
From March 1943, a fixed periscope for the loader was installed on the roof of the turret and replacement links for the tracks were placed on the sides of the turret. In May 1943 the new Maybach HL 230 P45 engine was installed with 2 air filters and new fans for the cooling system.
In July 1943 the turret was greatly modified and among many novelties a new cupola for the tank commander was installed. The position of the turret extractor fan was also advanced and a fireproof cloth was placed inside the turret, (in front of the commander), to protect him from the flames of the gun breech.
In September 1943, the Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine cement was applied to all vertical surfaces within the reach of a person. In December 1943, six “V” shaped cleats were added to each link of the track to improve driving on ice.
In January 1944 a 20-ton jack was installed to replace the usual 15-ton jack and the pistol-port on the left rear of the turret was removed. In February 1944 the original roadwheels were replaced by steel ones with internal rubber padding. They were the same as the Tiger II tank (Kingtiger), and its number is reduced from 3 to 2 on each axle. A coolant heater is also installed next to the engine to improve starting in extreme temperatures.
In March 1944 the roof of the turret was reinforced and its thickness increased from 25 to 40mm. This improves defense against large caliber artillery splinters and shrapnel. In October 1944 the ammunition was increased in 16 rounds that were placed in groups of 4 on the sides of the interior of the hull attached to the existing ammunition containers.
That Tiger was a very special weapon is demonstrated by the fact that its crews were carefully selected from among the most outstanding operational units and among the most outstanding pupils of the “Panzerschulen” (tank training schools). After their election they were sent to the Henschel firm where they could see how the tanks were finished while the details were explained to them for a good maintenance in the battlefield.
The new crews were given a 92-page comic-type manual called “Tigerfibel” detailing the technical characteristics of the tank as well as maintenance work for proper operational performance. In addition to Germany, some crews were trained in France where some training areas for unit-type maneuvers were established.
The Tigers were always framed in independent units that were used by the command for specific actions. These actions could range from being used as a spearhead in attacks or counterattacks or plugging gaps generated by the enemy if necessary. From the beginning, in no case was it foreseen that Tigers would form “standard” units like the rest of the tanks.
The first Tiger tanks sent to the units since 1942 were framed in mixed Schwere Panzerkompanies consisting of ten Panzer IIIs and nine Tigers. The Pz.IIIs used to be positioned on the flanks to protect the Tigers from the fire of the anti-tank guns. In addition, these lighter tanks carried out valuable liaison, reconnaissance and escort missions, for which the Tiger was not so suitable. On this date, each Schwere Panzer Abteilung (sPzAbt) should have had 20 Tigers and 26 Pz.IIIs, but due to the vicissitudes of combat, these numbers could hardly ever be met.

Entradas relacionadas