The German Sdkfz 182 Tiger Ausf B tank was known informally to the Germans as Konistiger (Bengal Tiger) whilst being commonly referred to as the Tiger II or King Tiger by Allied troops. It was the replacement for the earlier Tiger Tank and was introduced into service in 1944.
Featuring thick well sloped armour on all sides up to 180mm thick it was virtually impregnable to Allied anti tank weaponry of the time. However, its weight of almost 70 tons affected mobility and the overlapping wheel design, whilst dispersing the weight and allowing for good mobility, proved a considerable maintenance overhead. The Tiger Ausf B featured 2 turret designs, both designed by Krupp. The first 50 chassis, constructed by Henschel, featured a turret designed for the failed Porsche entry for the German military’s new heavy tank (the VK4502P) with a rounded frontal design. The main production turret, however, was of more angular construction with a small silhouette across the frontal aspect.
The types Maybach HL230 P30 petrol engine produced 690hp which was somewhat inadequate for a tank of its size and weight. Its fearsome 88mm Kwk43 L71 gun however, could destroy all Allied armour at ranges of 1,500m+, with Allied tanks having to close to within 100m to enable a shot to the sides or rear.
Airborne forces encountered a number of Ausf B tanks during Operation Market Garden which were part of the German 506th Panzer Battalion, which arrived on the 23/24 September.
The tanks proved difficult to manoeuvre within the narrow streets and one Ausf B was lost to the combined fire firstly from a 6 Pounder Anti Tank gun (where the rounds were ineffective and bounced off), then a 75mm pack howitzer (which jammed after 6 rounds but did set the Ausf B on fire) and finally a few PIAT rounds to finish off the destruction. All the weapons had been fired by Lt A Donaldson and LBdr J Dickson of the 1st Air Landing Light Regiment RA, who moved from one weapon to the next to stop the tank at virtually point blank range. After the loss of the tank, the Germans largely withdrew their prized weapon system from the area and as the war progressed the Tiger Ausf B became less and less common as the Allied bombing campaign interrupted production.
Weight: 69.8 tonnes
Length: 6.4 metres
Width: 3.755 metres
Height: 3.09 metres
Crew: 5 (commander, gunner, loader, radio operator, driver)
Armour: 25–180 mm (1–7 in)
Armament: 1× 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71
Secondary Armament: 2× 7.92 mm MG 34