A tank feared by many of its opponents, the World War II Tiger I, or Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, was first developed in response to the Soviet Armor first encountered by the Germans at the onset of Operation Barbarossa. This tank, a German heavy tank, was the first to mount the 88 mm gun, a gun already known for its effectiveness not only with ground targets, but air targets as well. The main focus of the tank’s design was not only fire power, but heavy duty armor.
The Tiger I first saw battle on September 23, 1942 in an attack on Lenningrad. And though they were a surprise to the Russians, the Tiger I was not without its problems. The manufacturing of one tank required 300,000 man hours and required expensive and labor intensive materials. Plagued with mechanical breakdowns, the Tiger I also required costly preventative maintenance. This problem resulted in the crew’s need to either abandon the tank and sometimes to even destroy them. Despite the problems, the tank was still known for being fearsome in combat.
Just over 1,300 Tiger I tanks were manufactured from August 1942 through August 1944. When production of the Tiger II (King Tiger Tank) began, the Tiger I production was phased out. Currently, only a few of the World War II Tiger tanks are known to exist. The Bovington Tank Museum’s Tiger 131, is presently the only model known to be renovated and operational.
Information and Specifications on the Tiger I Tank
- Categorized as a Heavy Tank
- Originated in Nazi Germany
- Service History: World War II (1942 thru 1945)
- Manufactured by Henschel
- Over 1,300 built
- Crew of 5
- Main armament for the Tiger I: 1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
- Total rounds: 92 with some designs as high as 120.
- Secondary armament: 2× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
- Total Rounds: 4,800
- Tiger I Range of Operation was between 68 and 121 miles.
- Speed for this tank: 24 miles per hour
The Tiger I Tank played a vital role in WWII.