Even as the Tiger IE was proving itself on the battlefields of the Eastern front the German high command had already begun requesting an even more powerful heavy tank. Henschel and Porsche were asked to provide designs.
The two different designs had many differences in the hull, transmission and suspension. Porsche maintained it focus on electric transmission as they had with their Tiger I prototype (which eventually became the hull of the Ferdinand/Elefant). Their design was rejected in favour of the Henschel prototype.
The Tiger went into production in early 1944 and a total of 487 (of 1500 ordered) were made before the end of the war.
The first use of the Tiger II in combat was in Normandy on 18 July 1944 with schwere Panzerabteilung 503. It was first used on the Eastern Front on 12 August 1944 with schwere Panzerabteilung 501 against the Baranov bridgehead across the Vistula River in Poland.
It later fought in the Ardennes Offensive, the Soviet offensive into Poland and East Prussia in January 1945, the German offensives in Hungary in 1945, the Seelow Heights in April 1945 and in Berlin at the very end of the war. It was issued to every heavy tank battalion except the 510.
The Tiger II's 8.8cm armament could destroy most Allied armoured fighting vehicles at a range far outside the effective range of the enemy's vehicle armament. When running well the Tiger II was remarkably agile for such a heavy tank.
Under good circumstances its low ground pressure meant it was as manoeuvrable as the much lighter Panzer IV. Its excellent suspension provided a smooth ride and made it an excellent gun platform.
The German Königstiger contains:
- 1 x Tiger tank body
- 1 x Porsche turret
- 1 x Henschel turret
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