PzKpfw. VI-B Tiger II

I'll have the bacon cheesburger please

Too much of a good thing

The Panzer VI-II, mistakenly called "King Tiger", is quite the supermassive vehicle, as per German engineering preference. You see, the Tiger One had been around for a while and it, being an ├╝berpanzer, wasn't winning the war. Therefore something even bigger was needed!

The same insane type of specifcations were laid down, Henschel, Krupp and Porsche (again) went to work. The result was spectacular and very heavy indeed. A pretty tank, not at all as huge as some pictures suggest - go stand next to one and see - but rather very dense. Intended as a kind of long range sniper tank for the east front, the hedgerows and bocages of the Normandy landscape did not do it favours.

Because of its massive armour, the Maybach petrol engine and drive train were far too fragile and underpowered. It had, however, a massive gun - the biggest tank gun of WW2. Even though this is the epitomy of German Panzer-ness, I feel they were wasting their time on this monster. One of these machines cost the same as several Panzer IV's and those would certainly have been more useful.

PzKpfw VI-B "Porsche"

PzKpfw VI-II Porsche
  • near Caen, France
  • 10 juli 1944
  • 1. Zug, sPzAbt 503

sPzAbt 503's 1. Zug received the first operational batch of K├Ânigstiger. They were deployed during the battle of Caen and completely destroyed by British Lancaster bombers. This one, named "Anneliese", survived that. For thanks, they were sent east where Annelise was painted white and her crew froze their butts off.

PzKpfw VI-B "Krupp"

PzKpfw VIII Krupp
  • La Gleize, Belgie
  • December 16th, 1944 (and still there!)
  • "213", 2e Co sSSPzAbt 101 "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler"

Kampfgruppe Peiper was the tip of the German spear during the Ardennes offensive. At La Gleize, the Americans slugged it out with Tiger II "213" and somehow managed to shoot the cannon in half. The tank was to be scrapped but a resident of La Gleize bought the wreck for a bottle of cognac. It's still there, a big cat on a small village square.

PzKpfw VI-B "Krupp"

PzKpfw VIII Krupp
  • Jahnsfelde, near Berlin, Germany
  • April 18th, 1945
  • "22", 2e Zug, 2e Co, sSSPzAbt 503, 11e SS "Nordland", AG "Vistula"

The end was nigh, and (nearly) everyone knew it. The Russians were on the Oder, which is uncomfortably close if you live in Berlin. Because the Russians wouldn't be very friendly post-war, the remaining Nazi forces fought to the death. And I say Nazi because by that time, everyone else had already surrendered.

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