Research

Whats in a name Tiger II header

What’s in a name? From Tiger II to Königstiger

As is customary with German tanks, the successor to the Tiger I received many names. Initially, the new tank was named VK 45.03 (H), or Tiger III. Because the VK 45.02 (H), the original Tiger II, was cancelled, the Tiger III was later renamed back to Tiger II. In technical contexts, the same tank was usually referred to by yet another name, Tiger Ausführung B.

Apart from the above designations, the Tiger II also received a variety of nicknames during the war, the most famous being “King Tiger”. The age-old question is whether this name was derived from the German Königstiger or vice versa. In a video on Bernhard Kast’s Military History Visualized channel it is investigated whether the nickname Königstiger was used at all by the Germans. Kast concludes that, the nickname was not officially recorded, but did eventually appear in German propaganda material.

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IMG 4630

Minenräumgerät “Dreschflegel”

In the course of the Second World War, mines proved to be one of the most effective weapons to thwart an enemy tank offensive from the outset. It was often the case that thousands of mines were laid as part of defensive lines, to consolidate key points and slow down the enemy.

Clearing mines by hand was a dangerous and time-consuming task. While some basic tools existed for the job, an effective mechanical mine-clearer would mean a huge advantage. Both the Allies and Axis powers developed various mechanical mine clearing systems of varying quality and usefulness. Even though the Wehrmacht was forced into the defensive time and time again, development of mine clearing systems carried on until the bitter end – in a time they were expected to chiefly lay mines and not necessarily clear them.

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IMGP6688

Tiger II V2 Extra: Off the Beaten Track

It often happens to me that an initially small article grows into a colossus. Likewise, my article on Tiger II V2 got slightly out of hand. This part of the article is now published separately as complete background on the Tiger II tracks for the tech-savvy.

Tiger II V2 was a test vehicle, and it is therefore not surprising that many test drives were made with it. The results of these test drives would eventually trigger all kinds of changes and developments. Significant changes to the tracks were also initiated in this way. In this article, I devote further attention to the design evolution of the Tiger II’s tracks.

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STT 9110 Jagdtiger

Haustenbeck’s Heritage: Jagdtiger 305 004’s Journey

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Haustenbeck's Heritage

A rare beast on any account, this particular Jagdtiger is unique in being the only surviving specimen featuring Porsche’s alternative suspension design. How did this vehicle make its way from a small town in Austria to Henschel’s proving ground in Senne to finally arrive at its final destination: the Bovington Tank Museum in the UK? In this part of the Haustenbeck’s Heritage series we follow Jagdtiger Fahrgestellnummer 305 004 on its journey to and from Haustenbeck, where it was initially found by the Allies.

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Hillersleben Hill Climbing Competition

Rüstungstagung in Hillersleben

In this article I’d like to discuss a relatively unknown armaments conference, held at the Hillersleben artillery range on June 6 and 7, 1943. This Rüstungstagung was presided by Reichsminister Albert Speer and attended by leaders from the armaments industry, high-ranking Nazi officials as well as senior officers. Unlike during the regular Vorführungen neuer Waffen, Hitler was not present. The programme consisted of meetings and demonstrations of the latest and greatest German as well as captured equipment.

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Panther KT and JT before Kranhalle scaled

Haustenbeck’s Heritage: Taking Inventory

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Haustenbeck's Heritage

In this second part of the “Haustenbeck’s Heritage” series, we will take a look at which vehicles were still present on the site after the war. All vehicles are described one by one in the sections below. Some of these vehicles were eventually taken back to England for further inspection. I will write more about their journey in the last section.

For an introduction of Henschel’s proving ground Panzerversuchsstation 96 at Haustenbeck please read my earlier article in this series “Rise and Fall”.

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BU 8016 Four German heavy tanks at the Henschel tank testing ground at Haustenbeck near Paderborn Germany June 1945.

Haustenbeck’s Heritage: Rise and Fall

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Haustenbeck's Heritage

The name “Haustenbeck” will ring a bell with many a tank fanatic. Not only were the heavy Tiger tanks tested here by Henschel, but this was also the place where the super-heavy E-100 and Grille 17 prototypes were found. Henschel’s test site near Haustenbeck was one of a kind and deemed invaluable by the Allies after its capture. Therefore activities on the site continued after the war under Allied supervision. Many of the vehicles were sent to the UK for further evaluation. But what actually happened in Haustenbeck, why exactly did Henschel settle here? And how did the E-100 and Grille 17 end up in Haustenbeck at all?

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Reme Panther

The Panther: a British view

Among the great collection of AFVs at the Tank Museum in Bovington, United Kingdom there is a vehicle that is often described as one of the best tanks of the Second World War. This tank is better known as the Panzerkampfwagen ‘Panther’ . Germany produced over 6000 Panthers during the war. The majority of these were assembled at one of the assembly firms Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (M·A·N), Maschinenfabrik Niedersachen-Hannover (M.N.H.) or Daimler-Benz . The Panther in The Tank Museum, however, wasn’t produced during the war. Instead it was produced post-war under British supervision. In this post I’ll dive into the history of British evaluation of the Panther and look at how and why the British produced their own Panthers.

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