German Panzers – Königstiger Gallery II


Front
Front

Front
Front

Left
Left

Left
Left

Turret - Hatch
Turret - Hatch

Turret - Hatch
Turret - Hatch

This is a Henschel turreted Tiger II and was knocked out and captured in the Normandy area. Photographs of this Tiger II knocked out in a French cabbage field appear in the following publications:

  • Aero Publishers Inc., Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I and II "Konigstiger" by Walter J. Spielberger & Uwe Feist, page 59,
  • Osprey Vanguard No.20, The Tiger Tanks by Bryan Perret & David E. Smith, page 37,
  • Arms and Armour Press, The Tiger Tanks by Peter Gudgin, page 137.

All these publications use the same three photographs. The first is taken from the right hand side of "104" with the turret facing forward. The hit that "killed" the tank can beseen on the lower hull almost exactly half way along the body and immediately below the turret. Having inspected "104" closely I can vouch for the splash marks on the body and lower hull. The second photograph is taken from immediately infront with the turret traversed to the right hand side. The third photograph is taken again from the right hand side but from the front right quarter. Again the hit to the body is apparent. These photographs tend to over turn the theory that only Porsche turreted Tiger II‘s were in Normandy, France. When taken into account with the photograph in After The Battle "Panzers in Normandy" by Eric Lefevre (page 41) proves that at least 2 Henschel turreted Tiger II were in Normandy. The Tiger on page 41 has AT LEAST 3 non penetrating hits to the front lower glacis plate. Again "104" has no such damage to the front glacis.

 

British after combat reports narrowed the "killing tank" down to one of two vehicles from different units. Both British units were in different locations. Both Tank Gunners claiming the kill were still alive in 1995/96 so both were invited seperately to inspect the Tiger II. One gunner said that he knocked the Tiger II out with a killing shot to the LEFT front body behind the drive sprocket. He then pointed to a circle in the body of the Tiger II saying that was where he hit. Unfortunately for him that was where a metalurgy sample had been taken, there were no splash marks on the body, a truly unique hit! It was later found that that unit had engaged Panzer IV‘s which at the time and date of the engagement were not in the locale. The second gunner claiming the kill was invited to inspect and immeditely pointed to the right hand side of the body work. So after nearly 50 years the mystery of who the kill belonged to was finally solved.

PzKpfw VI Tiger II Ausf. B with Krupp's (production) turret.
PzKpfw VI Tiger II Ausf. B with Krupp's (production) turret.

"104" was captured in Normandy and shipped back to FVPE at Chertsey. It appears it was stripped out for automotive inspection but the war ended before trials could be completed. The gutted body eventually found its way to Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham. It has carried a variety of colour schemes, including at one point British Army Deep Bronze Gloss Green! One of the Warrant Officers during his tour in charge of the military vehicle wing decided to trace the history of the vehicle, which he did by the chasis number. This led to identifying the unit and even the vehicle commander!

It was decided to attempt to get the vehicle back into working order. Unfortunately all the internal automotive parts (engine, transmission, gear box and turret traverse) had been sold as scrap by Chertsey only six months before!It was therefore decided to repaint the tank as accurately as possible (104 of 1st SS Panzer Corps). The Zimmerit had fallen off years before and was replaced with Body repair putty. The Tank is quite unique as it is the only Tiger II in the world with complete turret stowage racks.


All photographs were provided and are property of Ian Foulkes.
From the Collection of RMCS Shrivenham, England.

 


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