Heavy tank armed with 88 mm gun
German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery
The origins of this legendary tank can be traced back to 1937. The heavy tank project slowly sauntered through several development stages until it finally got the momentum in 1941 - with the German invasion to the Soviet union. Henschel and Porsche prepared their own competitive designs of the new vehicle referred to as VK4501 (H) and VK4501 (P). Henschel`s VK4501 (H) was a clear winner of the comparative trials and was therefore chosen for serial production.
Serial production of the new tank started in August 1942 and continued until August 1944 with total production score of 1355. The official designation of the machine was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E. It had a mass of 56 tons and was powered by a Maybach HL210 P45 gasoline engine. Several modification were introduced during the production period like new sights, new commander cupola, new road wheels etc. The most important change was the new engine which was introduced during 1943. Later Tigers used Maybach HL230 P45 engine with swept volume of incredible 23 liters and maximum output of 694 hp.
Tiger was armed with an excellent 88 mm KwK 36 L/56 gun which allowed it to destroy practically any contemporary opponent from safe distance. However Tiger tank was a very expensive and complicated piece of machinery. It required constant maintenance and had huge demands on logistics (fuel, railway transport etc.).