Tiger II or ‘Konigstiger’ (King Tiger) was first used during the Normandy campaign in 1944 and was the most powerful tank on the battlefield at that time.
Known variously as the Tiger Ausf. B, Tiger II, King Tiger or Königstiger (the British also referred to it as the ‘Royal Tiger’), 489 Tiger IIs, were produced at the Henschel assembly plant, between January 1944 and March 1945. However, despite lacking in numbers, and being prone to mechanical and mobility issues based on its size and weight, the Tiger IIs combination of devastating firepower and thick sloped armour plate, made it a formidable adversary for Allied forces on the rare occasions it was encountered on the battlefield.
The Tank Museum’s Tiger II (Production)
The Museum’s Tiger II was built in July 1944 by Henschel and given Fahrgestell Nummer (chassis number) 280093.
It was abandoned on the 29th or 30th August, most likely at Aux Marais, a community on the outskirts of Beauvais around 15 miles further North-East. It has also long been believed that this tank was fired on, possibly after it was abandoned, by the Sherman commanded by Sergeant Roberts of 4 Troop, A Squadron, 23rd Hussars.
It came to The Tank Museum from the Royal Military College at Shrivenham in 2006.
The Tank Museum’s Tiger II (Pre-Production)
This Tiger II was the second prototype of three built by Henschel, with the Chassis Number V2 (Versuchs-Fahrgestell No. V2 (Trial Chassis V2)), and completed in January 1944. It was not issued to a combat unit, remaining with Henschel were it was used for various trials. It was later captured by the British at the Henschel testing area in Haustenbeck, Germany at the end of the War. It is still fitted with a modified exhaust pipe that Henschel were using to test exhaust pressure.
The turret rear was designed to be removable to allow the removal and refitting of the 8.8 cm KwK 43 gun. On our example the rear wall was removed and lost at some time Post-War and it has been replaced with a wooden panel. Also lost, presumably at the same time, was the commander’s cupola.
After its capture the vehicle had its original tracks replaced with a set of Kgs 73/800/152 single link cross-country tracks removed from a second Tiger Ausf. B (Chassis Number 280009 or 280012) that was also on site at Haustenbeck. These tracks had only been introduced in March 1945.