01709 385 624

Tiger Tank

Tiger Tank: A tank much feared by allied troops

When you discuss tanks of the Second World War, the first one most people think of is the Tiger tank. And the arrival of an actual Tiger on the battlefield could cause some panic, because the fear was it was almost impervious to most allied anti-tank weapons.

Tiger tank

Tiger tank I

Tiger Tank

Tiger tank on the battlefield

Tiger spotted in Leningrad

The Tiger I was first seen at Leningrad in 1942 and coming in at 54 tons, with armour impervious to most allied anti-tank weapons it had a powerful 88mm gun that could take out opposing tanks at great distances, long before they were in a position to reply with any great effect.

Later models had anti-mine paint known as Zimmerit and in 1944 a Tiger II was developed with even more powerful armour and firepower, but was even heavier. It was a tank much feared by Allied troops; whether they were tank crews or infantry.

In Normandy there was almost a ‘Tiger fear’ when every tank encountered was thought to be a Tiger I.

The arrival of an actual Tiger on the battlefield could cause some panic, because the fear was it was almost impregnable.

German heavy Tiger Tank

German heavy Tiger tank

An iconic tank

In reality the Germans had very few Tiger tanks. Many had been lost in the battles on the Eastern Front. None were available for D-Day and when they did arrive in Normandy, they were in the minority – the Panzer IV was the most common tank; much more of a match for Allied gunners.

In addition it was massively over engineered; it guzzled fuel and it had engine and mechanical failures. It was not easy to fix the engine, and by 1944 Russian anti-tank guns could knock it out and in both American and British forces Sherman tanks were up-gunned to take it on, but more importantly new anti-tank gun ammunition was capable of penetrating its armour.

The British artillery also developed tactics to break up Tiger assaults. But both the Tiger I and Tiger II remained in the vanguard of German armour battles right up to the collapse of the Third Reich at Berlin in 1945.

The Tiger I and Tiger II remained in the vanguard of German armour battles right up to the collapse of the Third Reich at Berlin in 1945.

Yet despite the fact that it is such an iconic tank, only six remain: one at Bovington Tank Museum, one in the US, two in France, and two in Russia. In addition there is one restored and made up from parts of various Tiger tanks in Germany, with another similar one to follow soon.

Tanks featured on our tours

On Leger Battlefield tours we visit three of these surviving Tiger tanks on different battlefield tours:

History of War - Heroes, Battles and Weapons

Follow in the footsteps of heroes, fighting on the front line. Learn about the incredible sacrifice and bravery on the battlefields or take an in depth look at the weapons and machinery used throughout history. No matter what your interest, we’ll have a tour to suit you.