The Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. H/E Tiger I (Mark VI-H/E, Panzer VI-H/E, Pzkw VI-H/E, SdKfz 181-H/E, Sonderkraftfahrzeug 181-H/E, Tiger 1, Tiger I) was a German tank of World War II.
This combat vehicle was first used in late-1942. It was the heaviest German production tank to date at 55-57 tons. It had a crew of five, and was armed with an 88mm cannon (the KwK 36). The Tiger I was in use until the German surrender and was given its nickname by Ferdinand Porsche. This design eventually resulted in the Pzkw VI Königstiger, known as the Tiger II or King Tiger.
The Tiger was possibly the most sophisticated and best engineered tank of its time. The internal layout was typical of German tanks, dividing the hull into four parts - two front compartments for the driver and the radio-operator, a central fighting compartment and the rear engine compartment. The tank had front armor up to 100mm thick, with 80 mm on the turret, to simplify production flat sections were used where possible with interlocking andwelding rather than bolted joins.
It was the first German tank to have triple interleaving road wheels, which improved load distribution. The steel and rubber wheels were mounted on eight independent torsion bar axles, which gave a relatviely soft and stable ride for such a large vehicle. The complex system had a number of drawbacks, a major one was that the wheels could become packed with mud or snow which could then freeze. The Russians discovered this and on occasion timed their attacks to early morning to maximise the possibly that the Tigers would be immobilised.
This tank also featured a
hydraulically-controlled pre-selector gearbox and a
semiautomatic transmission. The weight of the tank also
meant a new steering system, rather than the
clutch-and-brake designs of lighter vehicles a variation
on the British Merritt-Brown system was used. The initial
engine was a 590 hp 21 litre Maybach petrol design, found
to be rather underpowered this was soon upgraded to a 24
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Tiger I - German WW2 Tanks (Tiger 1)