Starting, Unloading & Driving The Only Operational Tiger II

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The common name of Nazi Germany’s heavy tank is “Tiger II” but it is also known under the informal name Königstiger, which often is translated as Royal Tiger, or somewhat incorrectly as King Tiger by the Allied soldiers.

The Tiger II was built to succeed the Tiger I and it combined the latter’s thick armor with the sloping armor that was used on the Panzer Mk. V Panther. The tank weighed almost 70 tons and was protected by 100 to 180 mm of armor at the front of the tank. It was armed with the long barreled 8.8 cm (88mm) KwK 43 L/71 gun. The chassis was also the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless tank destroyer.

Only 492 Tiger II tanks were ever completed, the development started very late in the war and the Henchel factory was severely bombed by the Allies causing the loss of 657 tanks which were still in production.

The Heavy Tank battalions of the Waffen-SS and the Army used the Tiger II, the Allies were the first to encounter these tanks in Normandy one month after invading on D-Day, June 6th 1944. In the East, they made their debut in September of 1944.

The Saumur Tank museum currently has the only running King Tiger tanks in the world.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.