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.

Although the question of the origin of the colloquial names King Tiger and Königstiger is addressed in the video, Kast does not come to a definite answer. He notes that according to a high-profile figure like Heinz Guderian, the name was given by the Allies, but in the same breath mentions his memoires are full of errors. Can we take Guderian’s word for it, or do we need to look further?

To find out the origins of the name Königstiger we take a deep dive into the history of naming the Tiger II. In this article, we follow the Tiger II in the months before and after its first employment, from both Allied and German perspectives.

Special thanks to Max Stein for providing additional information on the Tiger’s nicknames, as well as to Jairo Erdmann Nasarre for hosting a comprehensive collection of German documents (also concerning tank designations) at panzer-elmito.org. Also, not to forget, the author would like to thank Bernhard Kast for making his video about the subject, which triggered the writing of this article in the first place.

Table of Contents

In the West

We first turn our attention to Northern France. On July 18, 1944, the Allies launch Operation Goodwood to defeat the German resistance around Caen. During the offensive, British and Canadian troops for the first time encountered the Tiger II. The only Tiger II tanks active in that sector at the time, were the ones of the first company of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 5031. Under the command of the 21st Panzer Division, the unit was positioned unusually close to the front, and went into action on the first day of the offensive2. The debut of the new tank was not flawless, and several were knocked out on the first day.

Surprisingly, the new type of tank remained unnoticed. The end of the month passed without 21st Army Group having a clue about the presence of a new German tank on their front. Interestingly, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, told Parliament in August that the enemy had not yet brought any new weapons into the battle. This is all the more astounding since at least four Tiger II tanks had already been knocked-out in the British sector.3.

“But there is one more general feature which has emerged in the fighting in Normandy to which I must draw the attention of the House. No new tank weapon or type of ammunition has been employed by the enemy. They have brought out nothing new so far (…)”.

Winston Churchill to Parliament (HC Deb 2 August 1944, c1472)

It was not until 12 August that the Tiger II was actually discovered by 21st Army Group. The technical branch of General Staff Intelligence (GSI) announced by telex that a 67-ton German tank had been inspected4. The message was addressed to the First Canadian and Second British Army, as well as Military Intelligence (M.I. 10) and the War Office. This may be an indication of the importance of the discovery, and seems to indicate that this is actually the first time that the British are aware of a new heavy German tank in Normandy. The original telex commences as follows:

“CONFIDENTIAL . Brewed up 67 tonnes Tiger Two mounting 8.8 cm Kw K 43/3 examined three hours today . Unchecked Details as Follows . (…)”


Seemingly, the tank being inspected had not fallen in to the hands of the Allies unscathed and was rather beaten up. The report provides a list of features and data for the new tank. It does not mince words about the Tiger II’s familiar looks, as it plainly notes “General appearance scaled up Panther”.

The fact that, to the untrained eye, the Tiger II looks so much like a Panther, may explain why it could go unnoticed for a relatively long time after its deployment in Normandy. Many components of the tank were recognized as being similar or identical to those on the better-known Panther tank, such as the commander’s cupola and engine deck lay-out.

“Turret roof centre horizontal with latest type Panther cupola near side with seven vision openings rail for Fliegerbschussgeraet (…).”

“Engine. Not examined but external superstructure roof layout similar Panther therefore believe HL230”.

GSI (TECH), “[Telex to 21 AG, MI 10 and WO about the Inspection of a Heavy German Tank on the Orne Front].”

Interestingly, the message notes that the chassis number for the inspected vehicle was “P 2800637” followed by the code “DKC or DKR or DKP”. Apparently, the author had a hard time making out the digits and characters in the otherwise heavily damaged hull. The manufacturing code “DKR” refers to the Henschel firm, but the reported chassis number could not have existed, as only 489 Tiger II were built starting from chassis 280 001.

It appears that the ‘280 637’ described on 12 August was in fact the Tiger II with chassis number ‘280 031’ at Le Plessis-Grimoult5. This tank was destroyed just a few days earlier, on 7 August, by the 5th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry during Operation Bluecoat6.

Legend has it that it was knocked out when a mortar landed on an adjacent ammunition truck. What is certain is that an explosion tore the turret out of its bearings and was thrown on to the side of the hull. Eventually, the turret slid off the hull entirely and landed on the ground. Soon after, its turret was shipped to England for an extensive analysis.

A Tentative Nickname

With the Tiger II’s obvious resemblance to the Panther and the use of an improved 8.8 cm gun as on the Tiger, a certain nickname was obvious. Within a week of the British discovery of the Tiger II, the Associated Press first reported on its existence. They referred to the tank by the name “Pantiger”. On August 19, the New York Times headlined “Nazis Use New Tank, 65-Ton ‘Pantiger’”. Another newspaper wrote the following:

A new German tank with six-inch armour plate has been found abandoned on the Orne front. The British christened the tank “Pantiger” because it combines features found in the Panther and Tiger tanks.

Associated Press, “New German 65-Ton ‘Pantiger’ Tank.”

It so appears that the name Pantiger was coined by the British troops. Other newspapers informed about the tank’s appearance on the Eastern Front.

“The Germans have thrown a huge new, heavily armored tank into action on both the Russian and northern French fronts in an effort to stem the Allied advances, but first reports denied it was a ‘super weapon’”.

Canadian Press, “Hun’s Biggest Tank No Superweapon; First Is Captured after Breakdown.”

More than three weeks after its first deployment on July 18, the British were now finally aware of the new German threat. From mid-August, the tank was aptly named Pantiger until further notice. Events later that month would soon change all that, however.

On the Eastern Front

The next part of the story takes place on the Eastern Front. Although the Russians still had a relative information deficit on the Tiger II in mid-August, they would soon catch up with the British. It began when the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 501 was rushed into central Poland. This unit was the first to be equipped with a full complement of 45 Tiger II. Their task would be to cut off the 1st Ukrainian Front’s newly formed Sandomierz-Baranów bridgehead, west of the Vistula.

Tiger II of 3. 501 in Poland 1944

The deployment of the 501st was disastrous. The Red Army, alarmed by German troop movements, set up an ambush. During its first deployment on August 12 near Ogledow, no less than three Tiger II were knocked-out1. One was even captured completely serviceable, and it stands today in Patriot Park. A Russian message, dated August 15, reported on the capture:

“Troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front 12.8.44. In the district Laguv, 4 tanks of the type Королевский Тигр were captured, one of them operational.”

Ulyanov, “[Information about the New Heavy German Tank ‘King Tiger’ and Methods of Dealing with It].”

Noteworthy is the author’s use of the name “Королевский Тигр” [Korolevskij Tigr], which translates to Royal Tiger. Apparently, this early after the discovery of the Tiger II, it was already commonplace to use this moniker. The captured trophies were promptly inspected, and it was learned that they had caught a new type of Tiger tank, replacing the earlier Tiger I. Surprisingly, the report refrained from making a comparison to the Panther. The report concluded as follows:

“CONCLUSION: From a comparison of the basic data, it can be seen that the heavy tank “Royal Tiger” is a modernized tank from the T-6 “Tiger” type, but with reinforced frontal armour from 100 to 180 mm [sic], which in turn increased the weight of the tank from up to 68 tons.”

Ulyanov, “[Information about the New Heavy German Tank ‘King Tiger’ and Methods of Dealing with It].”

A few days later, on the 18th, the British United Press (BUP) reported about the events on the Eastern front. At this time, the link with the appearance of a new tank in Northern France had not yet been made.

“The Germans also have a new tank in action – on the Russian front. It is the Royal Tiger, a combination of the famous Tiger and Panther tank, and to of them were put out of action in their first engagement, said a Moscow B.U.P. message today”

British United Press, “Two New Tanks – Ours and Theirs.”

Hello, my name is Panzerkampfwagen VI “Tiger” mit 8,8 cm KwK L/71

It is remarkable how quickly the Russians have taken up the name Королевский Тигр (Royal Tiger). Could they have thought of the name themselves, like the British invented “Pantiger”? In any case, it did not come from the Germans, as neither Royal or King Tiger existed in their vocabulary – at least not officially.

Official documents prepared by the army high command (OKH) corroborate this. In an appendix of a letter by the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen from 1943, we find a list of designations. This list includes designations for both Tiger variants: Panzerkampfwagen “Tiger” (8.8 cm 36 L/56) and Panzerkampfwagen “Tiger” (8.8 cm 43 L/71). This would go to show that both variants used the same nickname. In official documents, either variant was usually just referred to as “Tiger”, the context making it sufficiently clear whether it was dealing with the Tiger I or Tiger II – or otherwise a distinction was not deemed necessary. If the specific variant did matter, the calibre length was added.

That the nickname Tiger applied to two tanks, both of which were also referred to as Panzer VI is further evidenced by a document by the Organisationabteilung IIIb from December 11, 19437. This letter was sent to the propaganda department within the Wehrmachtführungsstab of the OKW in response to a request for Suggestivnamen für neue waffen (suggestive names for new weapons). The letter reads, “I. Names introduced so far, the retention of which is desired: (…) 2) Tiger für Pz. VI”. This name was later approved by Hitler and recorded in Suggestivnamen for the army by February 19448.

On August 8, 1944, Organisationsabteilung III wrote that due to the introduction of several new tanks and Sturmgeschützen, a “general uncertainty in naming occurred.” The request included the designations Tiger I and Tiger II, but still no sign of a Königstiger.

The GenStdH [Army General Staff] requests that the following designations be used in principle (including incorporation in the “Überblick über den Rüstungsstand des Heeres” and in the AHM [Allgemeine Heeresmitteilungen]):
1.) Panzer
d) Panzer VI mit 8,8 cm KwK L/56 as“Tiger I”
e) Panzer VI mit 8,8 cm KwK L/71 as“Tiger II”

GenstdH/OrgAbt/GenInspdPzTr, “Bezeichnung von Panzern, Sturmgeschützen Und Panzerjägern.”

An appendix to a letter by the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen from September 11, 19449, shows the variety of official designations in use in different types of correspondence.

Suggested designations of armoured vehicles

Designation with the troopsDesignation in Hauptband [Main volume]Designation in manuals and K-Gerätverzeichnissen (Spare parts lists)
12)Tiger ITiger I (8,8/56)Tiger Ausf. E
13)Tiger IITiger II (8,8 /71)Tiger Ausf. B
GenstdH/OrgAbt/GenInspdPzTr, “Benennungsvorschlag von Gp Fahrzeugen.”

Indeed, in the brochure “Panzer helfen Dir!“, intended for the Panzergrenadiere and published in September 1944, only the names “Tiger” and “Tiger II” are utilized10. Notably, technical publications, like the manuals for the turret and chassis shown below, exclusively used the designation Tiger Ausführung B.

Intelligence Exchange

On August 25, 1944, the head of the British Military Mission to the Soviet Union, Colonel Brinkman, forwarded the latest information about the new German tank that was found in France to the Russian Major-General Evstigneev. The information in the message was directly taken over from the GSI report of August 12:

“We have recently received a report from NORTHERN FRANCE about a new type of tank “TIGER”, captured there and weighing 67 tons. The chassis of the captured tank is marked with the number P 2800637. (…) I will be grateful for any data on its use on the SOVIET-GERMAN front. We will forward you further details and photos of this tank, as soon as we get them from England.”

Brinkman, “[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev about a New German Heavy Tank].”

Meanwhile, the Russians had captured several Tigers, one of which was functional, which provided a wealth of information. A knowledgeable reply followed in two days’ time. Clearly, in terms of intelligence, the Soviets were now ahead of the British.

“‘Royal Tiger’ (‘Tiger-B’) were used by the Germans in limited numbers on the 1st Ukrainian Front. The ‘Royal Tiger’ is a modernized version of a ‘Tiger’ tank (T-VI-H) and has different armament, armour thickness and hull design. Characteristics of a ‘Royal Tiger’ are attached to the current letter.”

Lebedev, “[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev Regarding the Request from the British Military Mission to the USSR].”

It is quite possible that the British first heard of the name Royal Tiger via the above message from August 27. On the same day 21st Army Group produced their first detailed report on the Tiger II. This report is referred to in several documents, but has yet to surface11. This document, in part or in full, will certainly have served as the basis for the description given in the War Office Technical Intelligence Summary No. 14112.

In Appendix A of this publication, dated 30 August 1944, the Tiger II is described in detail, including a diagram of its armour. An official name, “Pz.Kpfw. Tiger (8.8 cm KwK 43) – Sd.Kfz. 182“, is noted, but a “Royal Tiger” is nowhere to be seen. In the DRAC Intelligence Digest of September, we find the following striking ‘late information’ that became available shortly before it went to print13:

“14. Tiger II.
Reference para 2(c). German semi-official documents use the colloquial name of ‘Koenigstiger’ (Royal Tiger) for the Tiger II.”

Director Royal Armoured Corps, “DRAC Intelligence Digest No. 3.”

This might be the very first time the name Königstiger appeared in an official British publication. From September onwards, the Anglicized version of Königstiger, ‘Royal Tiger’, gained popularity and was increasingly used in conjunction with official desginations of the Tiger II.

Meanwhile with the Americans…

Apparently, developments regarding the naming of the Tiger II had not reached the Americans by October. In their October issue of the intelligence magazine Tactical and Technical Trends (No. 51), there is only mention of the “Pantiger, a redesigned Tiger, newest enemy heavy tank”14. The tank at Le Plessis-Grimoult was pictured as an example. A month later, the Americans contacted the Russians about a so-called heavy “Imperial” tank15.

Tiger II 280031 Soldier Inspection
For the lack of better imagery, this photo of a British tank crew inspecting the Tiger II at Le Plessis-Grimoult was used in official publications for a while. In T&TT No. 51 it was captioned “The Pantiger, latest German heavy tank.”

US troops first encountered the Tiger II tanks of the Panzer-Lehr Division near Châteaudun on August 18, 1944. This unit’s schwere Panzer-Kompanie (Fkl) had been equipped with the first five series production vehicles, which were plagued by automotive problems. Later that month, the Americans were also met with the Tiger IIs of 3./sPzAbt 503 and 1./sSS-PzAbt 10116.

These events seem to have gone by largely unnoticed. It was not until November, when the Americans faced far larger quantities of Tigers of the sPzAbt 506 and sSS-PzAbt 501, that the press took notice. On November 24, 1944 one paper headlined about the King Tiger’s apparent ‘debut’: “King Tiger, 70-Ton Nazi Tank Makes Debut With 60 Percent Loss”17

Nomen est Omen

Even though the name Königstiger might not have been official, it was eagerly used in German propaganda. Its first known use occurred in the Wochenschau of October 11, 1944. The newsreel contains a fragment showing Tigers of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 during an inspection at Sennelager. The scene was cleverly montaged, and as seemingly endless quantities of Tiger II tanks rolled on, the narrator proudly proclaimed:

“This is the Königstiger. These weapons are forged non-stop by the productive Germany for the final decisive battle”

“Die Deutsche Wochenschau № 736.”

From January 1945, the name really caught on with the German propaganda press and became widely published. Many articles followed the narrative in which the enemy who had come up with the name Royal Tiger. The Berliner Illustriete published an article with the headline “Die Anglo-Amerikaner nennen ihn den Königstiger” (The Anglo-Americans call him the Königstiger), describing the new tank as a “Supertyp”18.

Another propaganda article, dedicated to the “masterpiece of the Germany’s armaments industry”, claims the origin of the name was due to the perceived superiority by the Panzermännern:

“Out of this feeling of superiority, the front took on the proud name ‘Königstiger‘, which was coined from the knowledge that the new tank simply crushes every enemy it encounters.”

“Der Königstiger, Ein Meisterwerk Der Deutschen Kriegstechik.”

Still in January, short propaganda articles appeared in various newspapers with the cleverly conceived name “Wie der Herr des Dschungels” (Like the Master of the Jungle) – a reference to the natural habitat of the animal Königstiger19. These articles each had a picture of Tiger II chassis No. 280 006 (V6), taken at Kummersdorf. The accompanying caption claimed that the name Königstiger was an honorary name, given by the enemy.

Tiger II 280006 Verskraft Kummersdorf Censored

“The new German tank, which the enemy has given the honorary name “Königstiger“, moves powerfully and smoothly. Its heavy armament, an anti-aircraft gun that has proven itself a thousand times over, makes it a particularly dangerous opponent. Series production has been underway for some time on the instructions of Reichsminister Speer.”

“Wie Der Herr Des Dschungels,” January 17, 1945.

Note that most of these stories revolve around the story that the Tiger II received its nom de guerre from its enemies out of pure awe. Whether it is credible that the enemy would give such a significant name is debatable, but there is no doubt that this narrative had incredible propagandistic and moralistic value.

German Naming Theories

On December 1, 1944, Speer commented on the Tiger II’s newly acquired name. He was certain that the Allies had thought up the name. In his speech to the members of the Reichskabinett and the chairmen of the armament committees at Rechlin, he said:

“It is, however, the case that the Russians and now also the English have adopted the name Königstiger on their own accord for the Tiger II, which they know from previous deployments, and we have adopted this designation on our turn, as it truly is a königlicher [royal] tank”

Speer, “Schlußrede Reichsminister Speer Am 1.12.1944 in Rechlin.”

The name Königstiger resonated with the Speer ministry. So much so that the name began to appear in correspondence concerning production statistics between GenStdH/Org.Abt. III and the Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion. The earliest example of Königstiger appearing in these reports dates from December 1944.

The idea that the name was coined by the Allies, is further reinforced by the post-war statements of, amongst others, Arnoldt and Guderian. Chief Engineer at Henschel’s Haustenbeck testing facility, Kurt Arnoldt, was not familiar with the name Royal Tiger and neither was Henschel’s director, Von Heydekampf. He told his British interrogators the following anecdote:

Herr Arnoldt believes that the name “Royal Tiger” (Königstiger) was never associated with Tiger Model B until the BBC began referring to it as such in their broadcasts to GERMANY. Dr. Stieler von Heydekampf, managing director of Henschels, (producer of the “Royal Tiger”) asked Arnoldt one day what the new German tank “Königstiger” was. Arnoldt did not know, but subsequent inquiries disclosed that it was the Tiger B, for the design of which he had been mainly responsible.

GSI, “Interrogation of Herr Kurt Arnoldt, Chief Technical Engineer Henschel AFV Research and Experimental Establishment at Haustenbeck.”

Furthermore, in his book “Panzer Leader” from 1952, Guderian writes the following about a viewing of new weapons on October 20, 1943, implying the name came from the Allies.

“This included wooden models of the Tiger II—which our enemies were later to christen the ‘King Tiger’ and which was an exceptionally successful new model”

Heinz Guderian, “Panzer Leader”, 1952

Call a Spade a Spade

If the British did indeed take over the name from the Russians, then where did the Russians get this information from so quickly? Did the Allies make up the name themselves, as Speer and others claimed?

The October issue of the Russian “Bulletin of the Tank Industry” states there is no evidence for the Tiger II’s name being “Royal Tiger” other than the testimonies of German prisoners of war. Moreover, the author states that none of the captured documentation contained this name whatsoever.

“According to the testimony of prisoners, the new German heavy tank “Tiger B” in the German army is called
“Королевским тигром” [Royal Tiger]. However, in the instructions and maintenance manual of the tank found in the captured tanks, the name “Королевский тигр” [Royal Tiger] is not confirmed.”

Сыч, “Новый немецкий тяжелый танк „Тигр В“.”

What is even more interesting is that this information had been long known by the Russians, months before the Tiger II first saw action in Normandy. Gefreiter Otto Maingarut 20 of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503, captured in the Kamyanets-Podolsk pocket, revealed on April 27 that a new tank, the “Royal Tiger”, was about to make its introduction.

“It is shown that on the eastern front, a new type of super-heavy tank “KENIGSTIGER” / Royal Tiger /, which has not yet entered serial production, will soon be used. The new type of tiger will allegedly have thickened frontal, side and engine armour”

TsAMO RF, 341-5312-663

Although the British had their own intelligence indicating the existence of a new 8.8 cm KwK 43 gun, as of March 1944 there was no information yet as to which tank it would be used on. More concrete information arrived in May, published in the AFV School Gunnery Wing Bulletin:

“There have been indications that a new mark of Tiger will shortly be introduced, having a sloping sided turret and hull. There is however, no definite information available on this subject.”

AFV School – Gunnery Wing – Information Bulletin No. 8 / May 1944 – Appendix D

The Russians and the British were now on the same page, as far as intelligence was concerned. What the Russians did not say, however, was that they already knew the name of this tank. This seems a good explanation for why the British were so late adopting the name “Royal Tiger” while the Russians embraced it immediately.

Remarkably, the Americans were able to get hold of information regarding the Tiger II’s nickname earlier than the British. On August 8, British and Canadian troops received a message from “FAH”, the main teleprinter station of the First United States Army. Apart from information regarding the tactical situation in Normandy, the message contained a particularly noteworthy extract of a prisoner of war interrogation:

“Prisoner stated new type of tank called KOENIG (KING TIGER) heavier and faster than Mark VI being used.”

FAH, “[Telex to 3rd US Army, US Airforce, 2nd British Army and 1st Canadian Army on Tactical Development on the Normandy Front].”

A Matter of Taste: Royal vs. King

Although British reports exclusively used the nickname Royal Tiger, in the press the name was often alternated with “King Tiger”. Although the two names were in-fact interchangeable, a reporter for the BUP seems to have believed they referred to different versions of the same beast. He reported as follows in November 1944:

“New type Royal Tiger tanks, a development of the monster King Tiger model used against the Red Army, are in action in the West for the first time”.

British United Press, “New Tanks Thrown In.”

Although the use of Royal Tiger initially dominated, King Tiger became more and more prevalent. In March 1945, it was the only term to appear in the American handbook on German military forces.21. In the years that followed, the threat of the Tiger II became irrelevant and the term Royal Tiger went out of fashion. Nowadays, when people refer to the Tiger II, they almost exclusively use King Tiger.

Final Words

It is thus evident that the name Königstiger originated from Germany, and in particular from the Tiger II crews. Based on the available documents, we must conclude that Königstiger was conceived by the first crews training on the Tiger II as early as April 1944. This is supported by the recollections of veterans of sPzAbt 50322. This name was used informally among the crews and not an officially accepted designation. The newfound colloquial name was thus left out of formal writing and reports. This resulted in a situation where the higher army authorities had no idea of the name’s existence.

Even before the first deployment, the Russians learned the name Königstiger from a prisoner of war, and was subsequently translated Королевский тигр. They enthusiastically began to use this name and seemingly passed it on to the British when they were asked to provide information on the Tiger II. On their turn, the British translated the nickname to Royal Tiger. Shortly after, the synonymous “King Tiger” also began to be used, which stuck with the Americans.

Finally, the widespread Allied usage of the nickname caught the attention of German authorities, who in turn sincerely believed their enemy had coined this flattering name. The Speer Ministry eventually adopted the name in their official correspondence regarding production numbers. The German propaganda also picked up on the name and flaunted it.

Bonus: Yet More Nicknames

Apart from the usual King, Royal and Königstiger, the Tiger II received even more nicknames. One of those we have already seen is Pantiger, owing to its likeness to the Panther. Apart from these names a Canadian summary on the Tiger II, also mentions the nickname “Tiger Rex”23, which sounds like a newly discovered dinosaur species. Of course, the Latin word ‘Rex’ means ‘King’, so this is yet another way of saying King Tiger. I have yet to come across other documents utilizing this name.

From the German side, the tank was also mockingly referred to as “schnecke“, which translates to slug or snail22. This name was partly due to automotive problems that schwere Panzer-Kompanie (Fkl) of the Panzer-Lehr Division experienced with the first batch of Tiger II tanks. New drivers of the Tiger II quickly came to dislike the vehicle, and the crews found that the tank was sluggish and crawled along… just like a snail.


A.F.V. School – Gunnery Wing. ‘Information Bulletin No. 8’, 1944.
———. ‘Information Bulletin No. 13’, 1944.
Associated Press. ‘Nazis Use New Tank, 65-Ton “Pantiger”’. The New York Times, 1944, sec. Archives. https://www.nytimes.com/1944/08/19/archives/nazis-use-new-tank-65ton-pantiger.html.
———. ‘New German 65-Ton “Pantiger” Tank’. Shields Daily News, 1944.
Brinkman, P.P. ‘[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev about a New German Heavy Tank]’. TsAMO RF 38-1355-2704, p.51-53, 1944.
British United Press. ‘New Tanks Thrown In’. Liverpool Echo, 1944.
———. ‘Two New Tanks – Ours And Theirs’. Liverpool Evening Express, 1944.
Canadian Armoured Corps. ‘AFV Recognition Notes – German PzKpfw VI – Tiger Model B’. LAC RG24, 1944.
Canadian Press. ‘Hun’s Biggest Tank No Superweapon; First Is Captured After Breakdown’. Globe and Mail, 1944.
Deane, R. ‘[Letter Thanking Assistant-Director of the Red Army Tank Corps, Lieutenant-General Lebedev for His Information Pertaining to the Tiger Imperial]’. TsAMO RF 38-1355-2704, p.64, 1944.
———. ‘[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev about Several New German Tanks and Self-Propelled Guns]’. TsAMO RF 38-1355-2704, p.58, 1944.
‘Der Königstiger, Ein Meisterwerk Der Deutschen Kriegstechik’. Litzmannstadter Zeitung, 1945.
‘Die Anglo-Amerikaner Nennen Ihn Den Königstiger’. Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, 1945.
Die Deutsche Wochenschau № 736. Ufa, 1944. https://archive.org/details/1944-10-11-Die-Deutsche-Wochenschau-736.
Director Royal Armoured Corps. ‘DRAC Intelligence Digest No. 3’, 1944.
FAH. ‘[Telex to 3rd US Army,  US Airforce, 2nd British Army and 1st Canadian Army on Tactical Development on the Normandy Front]’. LAC RG 24, C17, Vol. 13,624, 1944.
GenstdH/OrgAbt/GenInspdPzTr. ‘Benennungsvorschlag von Gp Fahrzeugen’. NARA T78 R621, TsAMO RF 500-12451-495, BArch RH10/363, 1944.
———. ‘Bezeichnung von Panzern, Sturmgeschützen Und Panzerjägern’. NARA T78 R413, 1944.
GSI. ‘Interrogation of Herr Kurt Arnoldt, Chief Technical Engineer Henschel AFV Research and Experimental Establishment at Haustenbeck’. 21 Army Group Technical Report No. 5, 1945.
GSI (TECH). ‘[Telex to 21 AG, MI 10 and WO about the Inspection of a Heavy German Tank on the Orne Front]’. LAC RG24, C17, Vol. 13,624, 1944.
Guderian, Heinz. Panzer Leader. New York Dutton, 1952.
Holmes, J.G. ‘Examination of German Pz.Kpfw VI (Tiger) (Model B) Also Alternatively Referred to as “Tiger II” and “Royal Tiger”’. DTD, 1944.
Hunt, Eric. Mont Pinçon : August 1944. Leo Cooper, 2011.
Lebedev, I.U. ‘[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev Regarding the Request from the British Military Mission to the USSR]’. TsAMO RF 38-1355-2704, p.54-55, 1944.
Lukin. ‘[POW of SPzAbt 503, Captured on April 25, 1944, Showed That a New Type of Super-Heavy Tank Would Soon Be Used on the Eastern Front]’. TsAMO RF, 341-5312-663, 1944.
Military Intelligence Division. ‘Pantiger, a Redesigned Tiger, Newest Enemy Heavy Tank’. Tactical and Technical Trends, 1944.
OKH/GenStdH/Org.Abt. (IIIb). ‘Suggestivnamen Für Neue Waffen’. NARA T78 R416, 1943.
Organisationsabteilung III b. ‘Beitrag Zum KTB’. NARA T78 R533, 1944.
Panzer Helfen Dir! : Was Der Grenadier Vom Gepanzerten Kampffahrzeug Wissen Muss. OKH, GenStdH/AusbAbt (II), 1944.
Schneider, Wolfgang. Tigers in Combat. Vol. 1. Stackpole Books, 2004.
Speer, Alfred. ‘Schlußrede Reichsminister Speer Am 1.12.1944 in Rechlin’. BArch R 3/1556, fol. 77, 1944.
Sych, А. М. ‘Новый Немецкий Тяжелый Танк „Тигр В“’. Вестник Танковой Промышленности, 1944.
Ulyanov. ‘[Information about the New Heavy German Tank “King Tiger” and Methods of Dealing with It]’. TsAMO RF 4408-0089068-0007, 1944.
United Press. ‘King Tiger, 70-Ton Nazi Tank Makes Debut With 60 Pct. Loss’. The Knoxville News-Sentinel, 1944.
United States. War Department. Handbook on German Military Forces. Vol. TM-E 30-451. United States Government Printing Office, 1945.
Volgin, Alexander. Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.B : Construction and Development. Peko, 2018.
War Office, M.I. 10. ‘Technical Intelligence Summary No. 141’, 1944.
WFSt/Wpr/Füst and Jodl (OKW/Chef Heeresstab). ‘Suggestivnamen Für Neue Waffen’. NARA T78 R146, 1944.
‘Wie Der Herr Des Dschungels’. Memeler Dampfboot, 1945.
‘Wie Der Herr Des Dschungels’. Deutsche Zeitung in Den Niederlanden, 1945.
Zaloga, Steve. Pershing vs Tiger : Germany 1945. Osprey Publishing, 2017.


  1. Schneider, Tigers in Combat.[][]
  2. Schneider, Tigers in Normandy.[]
  3. According to Schneider, tanks 101, 111, 100 and 122 were already disabled on 18 July[]
  4. GSI (TECH), “[Telex to 21 AG, MI 10 and WO about the Inspection of a Heavy German Tank on the Orne Front].”[]
  5. Holmes, “Examination of German Pz.Kpfw vi (Tiger) (Model B) Also Alternatively Referred to as ‘Tiger II’ and ‘Royal Tiger.’”[]
  6. Hunt, Mont Pinçon : August 1944.[]
  7. OKH/GenStdH/Org.Abt. (IIIb), “Suggestivnamen Für Neue Waffen.”[]
  8. WFSt/Wpr/Füst, “Suggestivnamen Für Neue Waffen.”[]
  9. An undated copy of this list, with a different title, was also found in the files of Organisationsabteilung III[]
  10. Panzer Helfen Dir! : Was Der Grenadier Vom Gepanzerten Kampffahrzeug Wissen Muss.[]
  11. 21 A Gp/INT/1070 dated 27th August, 1944[]
  12. War Office, M.I. 10, “Technical Intelligence Summary No. 141.”[]
  13. see also A.F.V. School – Gunnery Wing, “Information Bulletin No. 13.”, which cites DRAC No.3 in October regarding the newly discovered name Royal Tiger[]
  14. Military Intelligence Division, “Pantiger, a Redesigned Tiger, Newest Enemy Heavy Tank.”[]
  15. Deane, “[Letter Thanking Assistant-Director of the Red Army Tank Corps, Lieutenant-General Lebedev for His Information Pertaining to the Tiger Imperial].”, Deane, “[Letter to the Head of the External Communications Department Major-General Evstigneev about Several New German Tanks and Self-Propelled Guns].”[]
  16. Zaloga, Pershing vs Tiger : Germany 1945.[]
  17. United Press, “King Tiger, 70-Ton Nazi Tank Makes Debut with 60 Pct. Loss.”[]
  18. “Die Anglo-Amerikaner Nennen Ihn Den Königstiger.”[]
  19. “Wie Der Herr Des Dschungels,” January 22, 1945., “Wie Der Herr Des Dschungels,” January 17, 1945.[]
  20. A later copy of the Russian report, dated May 11, spells the name differently; Maigarud[]
  21. United States. War Department, Handbook on German Military Forces.[]
  22. Stein, Max. Communication with author. Facebook, 2021[][]
  23. Canadian Armoured Corps, “AFV Recognition Notes – German PzKpfw vi – Tiger Model B.”[]


4 responses to “What’s in a name? From Tiger II to Königstiger”

  1. Great article! Could the Rex in the Canadian report refer to the Latin word Rex meaning king/ruler rather than the dinosaur?

    1. Pleased to hear that, Sonny. What you say makes total sense. I had not considered the Latin meaning of the word before, thanks for sharing!

  2. Well-researched and written article, as usual. Glad the Pantiger name didn’t stick around. Very interesting how the name spread back and forth!

    1. Hi Russel, comments like yours keep me going! Glad to hear you like the articles 🙂

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