Tiger I

Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-299-1805-16, Nordfrankreich, Panzer VI (Tiger I).2.jpg
Tiger I in northern France, March 1944
TypeHeavy tank
Place of originGermany
Service history
In service1942–45
WarsWorld War II
Production history
DesignerErwin Aders
Henschel & Son
Unit cost250,800 RM[1][a]
No. built1,347[b]
Specifications (RfRuK VK 4501H Ausf.E, Blatt: G-330)
Weight54 tonnes (60 short tons)[3]
57 tonnes (63 short tons) (Ausf. E)[4]
Length6.316 m (20 ft 8.7 in)
8.45 m (27 ft 9 in) gun forward
Width3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Height3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Crew5 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, assistant driver)

Armour25–120 mm (0.98–4.72 in)[5][6]
8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
92 AP and HE rounds
7.92 mm MG 34
4,500 rounds
4,800 rounds (Ausf. E)[7]
EngineMaybach HL230 P45 V-12
700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
Power/weight13 PS (9.5 kW) / tonne
SuspensionTorsion bar
Ground clearance0.47 m (1 ft 7 in)
Fuel capacity540 L (140 US gal) including reserve
Road: 195 km (121 mi)[4]
Cross country: 110 km (68 mi)[4]
SpeedMaximum, road: 45.4 km/h (28.2 mph)[8]
Sustained, road: 40 km/h (25 mph)[4]
Cross country: 20–25 km/h (12–16 mph)[4]

The Tiger I About this soundlisten  is a German heavy tank of World War II deployed from 1942 in Africa and Europe, usually in independent heavy tank battalions. Its final designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E often shortened to Tiger. The Tiger I gave the Wehrmacht its first armoured fighting vehicle that mounted the 8.8 cm KwK 36 gun (not to be confused with the 8.8 cm Flak 36). 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944.[9] After August 1944, production of the Tiger I was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.

While the Tiger I has been called an outstanding design for its time,[10] it was over-engineered,[11] using expensive materials and labour-intensive production methods. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and breakdowns, and was limited in range by its high fuel consumption. It was expensive to maintain, but generally mechanically reliable.[12] It was difficult to transport, and vulnerable to immobilisation when mud, ice, and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved Schachtellaufwerk-pattern road wheels, often jamming them solid. This was a problem on the Eastern Front in the muddy rasputitsa season and during periods of extreme cold.[citation needed]

The tank was given its nickname "Tiger" by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (‘‘Panzer VI version H’’, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H) where 'H' denoted Henschel as the designer/manufacturer. It was classified with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 182. The tank was later re-designated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943, with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.

Today, only seven Tiger I tanks survive in museums and private collections worldwide. The Tiger 131 at the UK's Tank Museum, which was captured during the North Africa Campaign, is currently the only one restored to running order.

Design history

Earlier designs

Henschel & Sohn began development of a large tank design in January 1937 when the Waffenamt requested Henschel to develop a Durchbruchwagen ("breakthrough vehicle") in the 30–33 tonne range.[13] Only one prototype hull was ever built and it was never fitted with a turret. The Durchbruchwagen I's general shape and suspension resembled the Panzer III, while the turret resembled the early Panzer IV C turret with the short-barrelled 7.5 cm L/24 cannon.

Before Durchbruchwagen I was completed, a request was issued for a heavier 30-tonne class vehicle with thicker armour; this was the Durchbruchwagen II, which would have had 50 mm (2 in) of frontal armour and mounted a Panzer IV turret with a short-barrelled 7.5 cm L/24 gun. Overall weight would have been 36 tonnes. Only one hull was built and no turret was fitted. Further development of the Durchbruchwagen was dropped in 1938 in favour of the larger and better-armoured VK 30.01 (H) and VK 36.01 (H) designs.[c] Both the Durchbruchwagen I and II prototype hulls were used as test vehicles until 1941.

Another attempt

The VK 30.01 (H) medium tank and the VK 36.01 (H) heavy tank designs pioneered the use of the complex Schachtellaufwerk track suspension system of torsion bar-sprung, overlapped and interleaved main road wheels for tank use. This concept was already common on German half-tracks such as the Sd.Kfz. 7. The VK 30.01 (H) was intended to mount a low-velocity 7.5 cm L/24 infantry support gun, a 7.5 cm L/40 dual purpose anti-tank gun, or a 10.5 cm L/28 field gun in a Krupp turret. Overall weight was to be 33 tonnes. The armour was designed to be 50 mm on frontal surfaces and 30 mm on the side surfaces. Four prototype hulls were completed for testing. Two of these were later modified to build the "Sturer Emil" (12.8 cm Selbstfahrlafette L/61) self-propelled anti-tank gun.

The VK 36.01 (H) was intended to weigh 40 tonnes, with 100 mm (4 in) of armour on front surfaces, 80 mm on turret sides and 60 mm on the hull sides. The VK 36.01 (H) was intended to carry a 7.5 cm L/24, or a 7.5 cm L/43, or a 7.5 cm L/70, or a 12.8 cm L/28 cannon in a Krupp turret that looked similar to an enlarged Panzer IV Ausf. C turret. The hull for one prototype was built, followed later by five more. The six turrets built were never fitted and were used as part of the Atlantic Wall. The VK 36.01 (H) project was discontinued in early 1942 in favour of the VK 45.01 project.

Further improvements

Combat experience against the French Somua S35 cavalry tank and Char B1 heavy tank, and the British Matilda II infantry tanks during the Battle of France in June 1940 showed that the German Army needed better armed and armoured tanks.[14]

On 26 May 1941, Henschel and Ferdinand Porsche were asked to submit designs for a 45-tonne heavy tank, to be ready by June 1942.[15] Porsche worked on an updated version of their VK 30.01 (P) Leopard tank prototype while Henschel worked on an improved VK 36.01 (H) tank. Henschel built two prototypes: a VK 45.01 (H) H1 with an 8.8 cm L/56 cannon, and a VK 45.01 (H) H2 with a 7.5 cm L/70 cannon.

Final designs

On 22 June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. The Germans were shocked to encounter Soviet T-34 medium and KV-1 heavy tanks, and,[16] according to Henschel designer Erwin Aders: "There was great consternation when it was discovered that the Soviet tanks were superior to anything available to the Heer."[17].

An immediate weight increase to 45 tonnes and an increase in gun calibre to 8.8 cm was ordered. The due date for the new prototypes was set for 20 April 1942, Adolf Hitler's 53rd birthday. Unlike the Panther tank, the designs did not incorporate sloped armour, an innovation taken from the T-34.

Model reconstruction of VK 4501 (P) Porsche prototype

Porsche and Henschel submitted prototype designs, each making use of the Krupp-designed turret. They were demonstrated at Rastenburg in front of Hitler. The Henschel design was accepted, mainly because the Porsche VK 4501 (P) prototype design used a troubled gasoline-electric hybrid power unit which needed large quantities of copper for manufacture of its electrical drivetrain components, a strategic war material of which Germany had limited supplies with acceptable electrical properties for such uses.[18] Production of the Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. H began in August 1942. Expecting an order for his tank, Porsche built 100 chassis. After the contract was awarded to Henschel, they were used for a new turretless, casemate-style tank destroyer; 91 hulls were converted into the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) in early 1943.

The Tiger was still at the prototype stage when it was first hurried into service, and therefore changes both large and small were made throughout the production run. A redesigned turret with a lower cupola was the most significant change. To cut costs, the submersion capability and an external air-filtration system were dropped.

Other Languages
العربية: دبابة النمر 1
azərbaycanca: Tiger (tank)
български: Тигър I
bosanski: Panzer VI
čeština: Tiger I
eesti: Tiger I
Ελληνικά: Tiger I
español: Panzer VI Tiger
Esperanto: Pz. VI Tiger
فارسی: تایگر ۱
հայերեն: Վագր (տանկ)
hrvatski: Tiger I
Bahasa Indonesia: Tiger I
íslenska: Tiger I
עברית: טיגר
latviešu: Tiger I
Lëtzebuergesch: Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger
မြန်မာဘာသာ: Tiger I
Nederlands: Tiger I
日本語: ティーガーI
norsk: Panzer VI
occitan: Tiger I
română: Tiger I
русский: Тигр (танк)
slovenščina: Panzer VI Tiger I
српски / srpski: Панцер VI Тигар
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Tigar (tenk)
suomi: Tiger
svenska: Tiger I
தமிழ்: டைகர் 1
українська: Panzer VI Tiger
Tiếng Việt: Xe tăng Tiger I
中文: 虎I戰車