king tiger

German heavy tank Tiger II Königstiger (Bengal Tiger).

The official German army designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. Already in autumn of 1942 Heereswaffenamt (Army Ordnance Office) recommended to Henschel factory to work out a new type of a heavy tank which was to replace recently produced Tiger I tanks in the future.

It was assumed that a new type of a tank would have an armour shaped similarly like in a Soviet tank T-34.

A 8,8 cm Kwk 43 L/71 gun of caliber of 88 mm was expected to be used as basic weaponry constructed in 1941 in Krupp plants in Essen.

In January 1943 it was recommended to unify a heavy tank with a medium Panther tank whose production was about to be started by MAN factory soon.

At the end of 1942 Nibelunenwerke AG in Saint Valentin in Austria were also included in the program of heavy tanks development.

Professor Ferdninand Porsche introduced a project of VK 4502 (P) tank which was development of the previous construction of Nibelungen plants that is a heavy tank VK 4501 (P).

Similarly in the case of VK 4501 (P) a drive were two engines of total power of 670 hp that move electric power generators which deliver electric power to two electric motors.

A competitive project developed by Henschel was based, to a large degree, on tested technological solutions used earlier during Pz Kpfw VI Tiger tank building.

A tank armour was strengthened, front armour was of 150 mm thick, side armour of 80 mm and front armour of a tower as much as of 180 mm.

In its appearcance the tank was much different from edgy and “boxy” Tiger I ausf E. The construction of Tiger II tank was in many aspects similar to the Panther tank construction.

It was driven by the same motor as late serial representatives of the Panther tank but it had much less useful power/weight ratio and as a result it was slower and less maneuverable.