An Expensive Hobby: Tiger Maintenance Manuals

Recently, two manuals for the Tiger I and II turned up at an auction. I have never had much interest in auctions, but this time a special item caught my interest. It was said a copy of D 656/41 dated 2 September 1944 for the Tiger II was up for auction. To my knowledge, such a regulation has never been published. On closer inspection, it turns out that this is just an incorrectly archived copy of D 656/43 from 1 September 1944, and therefore not particularly special.

military classic auction
Auction photo Source: Military Classic Auction

Both manuals were valued at between 800 and 1000 euro. That’s quite some money, but what if I told you the target prices were passed almost immediately when bidding began? The winning bids for the manuals were as high as €8680 and €3844 for D 656/30 and 656/43 respectively. Looking at these prices, owning one seems reserved to the die-hard collectors. So, is it completely out of reach for the individual on a small budget to get a hold of one of these manuals?

By no means! Actually, you will be able to find many digital scans of manuals online, which are often quite affordable. For a selection of manuals, there are also physical reproductions available. These are somewhat pricier, but now you’ll have a physical booklet to thumb through whenever you feel like.

If all else fails, there’s also always the route to the archives. All you have to is to pay a visit to your local archivist, and check if the documents of choice are available. Unfortunately, the archive will not allow you to take a copy home, but at least you can admire (and possibly photograph) the contents ;). Below is a selection of photos of pages from D 656/30 b und c Instandsetzungsanleitung für Panzerwarte of 1 August 1944, for which I certainly did did not have to pay anywhere near € 8600.