Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Ausf. B
Sd. Kfz. 18612.8cm PaK44 auf Panzerjäger Tiger
Jagdtiger’s (Hunting Tiger) development started in February of 1943 and on October 20th of 1943, wooden mock-up was presented to Adolf Hitler. Jagdtiger’s role was to support infantry and combat armoured vehicles at long ranges. Two prototypes, one with Porsche suspension (made up of 8 roadwheels) and one with Henschel suspension (made up of 9 roadwheels) were completed in February of 1944.Its first designation was Jagdpanzer VI, but later on it was named Jagdtiger and received number Sd.Kfz.186.Production was planned to start in December of 1943 but started in July of 1944 but PzKpfw V Panther‘s production received priority and Jagdtiger’s production was slow. In January of 1945, Jagdtiger’s production received priority but the overall situation did not allow the full-scale production.
The Jagdtiger was based on the Tiger II‘s lengthened chassis (by 260mm) and components. It was armed with 128mm Pak 44 L/55 gun (taken from the Maus) and one, later two MG34/42 machine guns for local and later air defence. The gun had limited traverse of 10 degrees to the left and to the right. Its gun was the most powerful and the largest anti-tank weapon used in action during WWII and it could easily destroy any Allied tank from the range beyond the reach of most Allied guns. The maximum range of the gun was 22410 meters.Jagdtiger was operated by the crew of six. The space inside allowed only 38 to 40 heavy two-piece (projectile and the cartridge) rounds of armor piercing and high explosive ammunition to be stored, which were handled by two loaders. Gun was mounted in a centrally mounted fixed heavy armored box-like superstructure. The sides of the superstructure were one-piece sloping plates with the sides of the hull.
Jagdtiger resembled King Tiger with the difference of having a superstructure instead of the turret and had much higher profile what made it a large target for the enemy.Jagdtigers were mounted with two different types of running gear, Henschel’s gear (74 models) and Porsche’s gear (11 models produced from February to September of 1944). Porsche’s gear was simpler along with being half times cheaper and less time consuming to produce than that of Henschel. Henschel’s gear roadwheels (800mm in diameter) were slightly larger than those used in Porsche’s gear (700mm in diameter).
Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Ausf. B with Henschel’s running gear.
Picture provided by Jon Cuneo, New Hampshire.
Jagdtiger suffered from the same problems as Koenigstiger, because of its great weight and high fuel consumption (5 liters per 1km of road) that made it extremely slow. Jagdtiger’s breakdown problem was never solved and many were abandoned or blown up by their crews to prevent them from being captured intact by the Allies.
In November of 1944, Krupp proposed to arm Jagdtigers with longer 128mm Pak L/66 gun. The superstructure was be extended over the engine deckto allow for the recoil of the gun. The project was never realized.It was also intended to arm Jagdtiger with 88mm KwK 43 L/71 gun instead of 128mm Pak 44 L/55 gun.In April of 1945, four were armed with 88mm Pak 43 L/71 gun and were designated as Panzerjäger Tiger mit 88mm Pak 43/3 (Sf)Sd.Kfz.185, while those armed with 128mm Pak 44 L/55 were designated Sd.Kfz.186.
Jagdtigers best tactical use was as a well camouflaged static defense pillbox allowing it to use its armament to its full potential.
Adolf Hitler himself wanted Jagdtiger(s) to be rebuilt into flamethrower tank(s), but his wish was not fulfilled.
Jagdtiger - Rear
Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Ausf. B
Engine deck and rear superstructure wall detail.
Maybach HL 230 P 30 engine visible in its compartment.
Bovington Tank Museum, England.
Overall, from July of 1944 to April of 1945, only 85 Jagtigers were manufactured (out of 150 ordered) with known chassisnumbers 305001 to 305077 or to 305088.Jagdtigers were produced by Nibelungenwerke at St. Valentin and were tested at Dollersheim in Austria.
July – December 1944
January – April 1945
The number of Jagdtigers produced was adequate to equip two units, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653 and schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 512. sPzJagAbt 512 was formed in the Summer of 1944 and was composed of two companies (1st company was commanded by Albert Ernst and became Kampfgruppe Ernst, 2nd company by Otto Carius) and was commanded by Major Scherf.Elements of sPzJagAbt 512 took part in the Operation "Fruhlingerswachen" in Hungary (part of VI SS Panzer Army), and then in the defence of the Fatherland on both Western and Eastern Front. sPzJagAbt 653 was formed in the Spring of 1945 and probably was not more than an understrenght company.It probably took part in Ardennes offensive and then was employed on the Western Front (Rhein and Karlsruhe area).It appears that 4 to 6 Jagdtigers were used by the schwere SS Panzer Abteilung (101) 501 in April/May of 1945.
"When the assault guns were calibrated in Sennelager, we experienced our first failure. Despite its 82 tons, our Hunting Tiger didn’t want to act like we wanted it to. Only its armor was satisfactory, its maneuverability left a lot to be desired. In addition, it was an assault gun. There was no traversing turret, just an enclosed armored housing. Any large traversing of the main gun had to be done by moving the entire vehicle. Because of that, transmission and steering differentials soon broke down. That such a monstrosity had to be constructed in the final phase of the war made no sense at all." – Otto Carius, "Tiger im Schlamm".
Jagdtiger (chassis number 305004) with Porsche’s running gear.
(British Army Tank Museum).
In the Summer of 1945, US Army tested captured Jagdtiger, which was able to penetrate frontal armor plate of M26 General Pershing at 2100 meters.Only few Jagdtigers survived the war and today surviving examples are on the display at Bovington Tank Museum in England, at Museum of Armored Forces in Kubinka (near Moscow) in Russia and at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in USA.
Jagdtiger with Henschel’s running gear.
Maybach HL 230 P 30 / 12-cylinder / 700hp
7.26m (w/o the gun)
10.65m (with the gun)
3.65m (w/o aprons)
3.75m (with aprons)
128mm Pak 44(80) L/55 & 2 x 7.92mm MG34/42
(1 x MG34 – hull)
(1 x MG42 – engine deck)
128mm – 38-40 rounds
7.92mm – 2925/3300 rounds
Front Superstructure: 250/15
Front Upper Hull: 150/50
Front Lower Hull: 100/50
Side Superstructure: 80/25
Side Lower Hull: 80/0
Rear Superstructure: 80/5
Rear Lower Hull: 80/30
Superstructure Top / Bottom: 40/85
Upper Hull Top / Bottom: 40/90
Lower Hull Top / Bottom: 40-25/90
Penetration of Armor Plate at 30 degrees from Vertical.
Pzgr.39 (APCBC) – Armor Piercing Composite Ballistic Cap