King of the Bulge II – Engine Deck and Turret

In this next part in the ‘King of the Bulge’ series, we will take a closer look at the engine deck as well as the turret. There certainly are a few interesting details to find here for the more observant viewer. Read more about the history of this Tiger in the previous article.

Table of Contents

Engine Deck

Even though a lot of components are missing from the tank, it is more than an empty shell. I was surprised to parts of the cooling assembly still in place. The static guide fins, normally obscured by the radiator fan blades, are visible through the fan cover. Although the protective wire mesh over these covers is gone, the ring of this cover remains welded in place. Sheet metal panels have been welded over openings created by the missing air intake gratings on the right hand side. The number021B 48906-1 cast into the cooling fan cowling refers to the drawing number for this component. Next to the radiator a badly mangled fuel tank is visible.

The thin armour plates just behind the air intake grating on either cooling bay features a small hole for a fuel vent line. The number of vent lines was increased from one to four as the number of interconnections between the fuel tanks was decreased in October 1944. The last image shows one of the brackets designed to hold the vent line as it extended over the hull side.

There is virtually zero tolerance between the carburettor intake cover and turret underside as the engine hatch is not properly closed. The sheet metal grenade guard underneath the turret is no longer mounted allowing a perfect look underneath the turret bustle.

Turret

The code280232 bwn is stamped on the roof armour plate. This identifies the number and manufacturer of the armoured turret body. The three-letter code ‘bwn’ refers to Friedrich Krupp AG, Essen. The remainder of this post will cover the various aspects of the Serien Turm in more detail.

Rear Hatch

The Hinterer Turmluckendeckel (rear hatch) is often described as an escape hatch, but was mostly there to facilitate loading ammunition and the removal of the gun tube. This heavy hatch featured a pistol port closed by a plug which is missing on this Tiger. To aid closing the hatch it was supported by a torsion bar on either side. Starting in August 1944, both torsion bars were protected by armoured covers.

Commander’s Cupola

The cupola is of the bolted type which replaced the earlier welded variant in mid-July 1944.

Hatches and Accessories

The loader’s hatch is of the later simplified 40 mm thick variety introduced in June 1944. Note the various manufacturing codes stamped into the hatch, Nahverteidigunswaffe and armoured extraction fan cover. Directly in line with the commander’s cupola a blade sight was mounted as a rudimentary aiming guide. Three Pilze were welded to the turret roof to facilitate mounting a Behelfskran (jib boom). Each mount features a drainage opening.

Gun mantlet and various

The following images show the bell-shaped gun mantlet in more detail. Note that the machine gun opening was incorporated into the mantlet. On the underside of the mantlet there is clear evidence of shrapnel damage. Some bolts on the front still retain their tension wire, preventing them from loosening on their own.

On top of the mantlet is a holder for a Losterkennungstafel (gas detection panel) which, including the two on the back of the turret, makes for a grand total of three such holders.

Bibliography

Jentz, Thomas L, and Hilary L Doyle. Germany’s Tiger Tanks VK45.02 to Tiger II. Atglen, Pa: Schiffer, 1997.

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