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Tiger I
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"During World War II --No, even in modern times, this tank is famous around the world!"
―Yukari

The Tiger I (its official designation being Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E) was a German heavy tank and one of the most famous and well-known armoured vehicles of all time. In the anime, it appeared in a flashback in Episode 5, and was first seen during Episode 6.

History

Development

The Tiger's development began before the war in 1937, as the Wehrmacht acknowledged that there would be a need for a heavy tank suitable for breakthrough operations; however, work on prototypes failed to prove completely satisfactory until the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. Meeting the then-formidable Soviet tanks like the T-34 or the KV-1 (with the latter possessing armor that could not be reliably penetrated by anything other the FlaK 18 88 mm gun) led to an urgent need for tanks that were better armoured and equipped with better fire power.

  • Both the Henschel and the Porsche firms submitted prototypes under the designation of VK4501, both of which shared the same Krupp turret on different hulls; the Henschel prototype proved superior to the mechanically unreliable and overly complex Porsche prototype, and therefore was accepted for production as the PzKpfw VI Tiger tank. It went into mass production in July 1942. 1,347 vehicles were built before it was phased out of production in August 1944 to focus production on the superior Tiger II.

Description

The Tiger (weighing some 50 metric tonnes) was almost twice as large as the earlier Panzer IV. Although it featured very thick armour, considerably including the sides and sometimes rear (reaching up to a maximum of 120mm around the gun's mantle) combined with the effective 8.8 cm KwK 36 (a tank gun variant of the famous 8.8 cm FlaK), it was by no means particularly slow, thanks to its powerful Maybach Hl210 engine (later changed to the Panthers HL230 in July 1943). To support such a massive weight, a torsion-bar suspension with the wheels arranged in a peculiar, and popular Schachtellaufwerk (overlapping road wheels) design, with very wide tracks to reduce ground pressure; a lesson learned in the Soviet Union. The Ausf.E had three main models. The earliest model can be recognized by the two headlamps on the hull front of the tank and a drum-type commander's cupola. The mid-production model can be recognized by a single headlamp between the machine gun ball and the driver's visor and a shortened commander's cupola. The late and final model had a different Schachtellaufwerk arrangement and had steel road wheels in replacement of the ones with rubber tires on the earlier models.

While powerful and very resilient, the Tiger was also quite a troublesome tank: its weight meant that it was unable to use most bridges, the turret traverse was slow, and, although better than its failed Porsche counterpart, it suffered from reliability problems throughout its career; Tiger units rarely completed a road march without having some tanks suffering breakdowns. The tracks and road wheels ensemble proved difficult to maintain, especially in harsh climate conditions (being very susceptible to mud and ice), and recovery on the battlefield was also quite problematic. More importantly, as the war dragged on, its price (in money and resources) was very high, costing as much as four times more than the ably-performing StuG III.

Tiger-Tanks-2

Tiger I Ausf. E

Service History

Despite this, and despite the fact that the first tanks were rushed to the front line too early (near Leningrad, on September 1942), the Tiger soon rose to prominence on all the battlefields it went to. Usually employed in separate heavy tank battalions, it proved both impenetrable to almost all the Allies' weapons (during its time) at anything other than point-blank range, only later guns like the OQF 17-Pounder, the 90 mm M3 and the 122mm D-25T ever managed to reliably defeat its frontal armour. It was also capable of destroying almost all the enemy's tanks at extreme long ranges. There are reports of Tigers knocking out enemy tanks at distances up to 4 km (2.5 miles), a feat made possible due to its excellent optical sights. Tanks that made up the backbone of the Allies' armoured forces such as the American M4 Sherman or the Russian T-34 often had to resort to flanking tactics to overcome such enemies, with the prospective losses of some, if not most, of their own forces.

In Girls und Panzer

Anime

Kuromorimine employs some Tiger I tanks, one of which is Maho's own command tank, a model of January/February 1943 sporting the recognisable rounded exhaust caches and Feifel sand filters of the first version. When Miho was still a Kuromorimine student she also commanded a Tiger I. The tank commanded by Maho is based upon Tiger 212, a vehicle that historians theorize was commanded by German tank ace Michael Wittmann. Maho's tank could be considered the chronological "final boss" of the series, though it's not technically the strongest tank, which would be the Maus.

With only one tank in Ooarai's arsenal with comparable weaponry and protection (that being the Tiger (P)), the Tiger's technical advantage was largely offset by Ooarai's use of daring and unconventional tactics and their superior manoeuvrability; thus, they were unable to take advantage of their superior armament, although their protection served them well.

During the last showdown between the two Nishizumi sisters, the superior mobility of the Panzer IV enabled Anglerfish Team to use a last-ditch tactic to drift up to the Tiger's rear, its only vulnerable point, and defeat it with a point-blank shot. This strategy, whilst effective in the end, was an extreme risk: it is possible that a shot could have penetrated the tank from the front. A shot to the side could also have proven effective, although previously a shot to the side plate is seen to bounce harmlessly off.  

Little Army 2

During the events of Little Army Volume 2, the Tiger I is the first tank acquired by Bellwall Academy's Sensha-dou team, under the leadership of Emi Nakasuga. The Tiger I was restored by Hitomi Yuzumoto, and first saw action against the Kashiwaba Sisters during a race. It had its first actual battle against West Kureouji Grona Academy, where it experienced some mechanical failures, particularly with its tracks, but ultimately triumphed over the enemy team, knocking out the Infantry Tank A43 "Black Prince" that led the opposing team.  

During the commemorative cup, it first saw action against Gilbert High School.  

Trivia​​

  • The Tiger was operated by many famous "Panzer Aces", some of which survived the Second World War (i.e. Otto Carius).
  • The Tiger that is commanded by Maho Nishizumi, Tiger 212, shares the same turret number as the one German Waffen SS Panzer Ace, Michael Wittmann, commanded in Villers-Bocage. In the fierce fighting, he took out an entire Armoured Motorized Company, 15 tanks, and extra Artillery Pieces and Anti-Tank Guns in the period of 15 minutes. After the battle, he was awarded with the prestigious "Knights Cross with Oak leaves and Swords" by der Führer himself. During the battle there was a chance to instantly kill "The Black Baron" with one shot, but the opportunity was missed because although a Cromwell Tank was in the vicinity, it didn't have its Gunner inside the tank. Luckily enough, 'The Black Baron" did not notice them.
    • Wittman's last commanding Tiger I tank was the Tiger 007 and was last seen near the town of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil during Operation Totalize where he died in combat.
  • The Tiger that is commanded by Miho Nishizumi during the last championship is Tiger 217, sharing the same turret number as the one German Wehrmacht Panzer Ace, Otto Carius, commanded during the battle of Malinava and alongside Albert Kerscher destroyed 17 tanks (including the new IS-2).
  • This Tank was operated by Maho Nishizumi in every match of the 63rd Sensha-do championship, Miho Nishizumi in the final match of the 62nd Sensha-do championship, and Emi Nakasuga during the Commemorative Cup.
  • There is only one Tiger still operational in the world, the Tiger 131 at The Bovington Tank Museum, which was used in the movie Fury.
  • The Tiger I is one of the few tanks with the B1 Bis to possess a steering wheel for driving.
  • On December 10th 1943, Otto Carius's Tiger Tank gunner annoyed by the sound of Russian fighter bullets bouncing off the tank got the permission of his commander to shoot at them. On the second shot he managed to hit the plane (presumably an IL-2M) in the wing and bring it down.

Gallery

Main article: Tiger I/Gallery
Tanks ☰ 
Light Tanks and Tankettes Poland7TPFranceAMR-35FinlandBT-42UKCrusaderItalyCV.33FranceFT-17UKHarry HopkinsUnited StatesM22 LocustUnited StatesM24 ChaffeeUKMark VIGermanyPanzer IICzechoslovakiaPanzer 38(t)FranceR35SovietT-60SovietT-70UKTetrarchPolandTK TanketteJapan2Type 95 Ha-GoJapan2Type 97 Te-Ke
Medium Tanks UKCenturionUnited StatesM3 LeeUnited StatesM4 ShermanItalyM13/40UKMatilda IIItalyP26/40GermanyPanzer IIIGermanyPanzer IVGermanyPanzer V "Panther"FranceSOMUA S35SovietT-34SovietT-44Japan2Type 89BJapan2Type 3 Chi-NuJapan2Type 97 Chi-Ha
Heavy Tanks FranceARL 44FranceB1 BisUKBlack PrinceUKChurchillSovietIS-2SovietKV-2United StatesM26 PershingUKMark IVGermanyPanzer VI "Tiger"GermanyPanzer VI Ausf. B "Tiger II"GermanyPanzer VIII "Maus"GermanyVK45.01 Porsche Tiger
Tank Destroyers GermanyElefantGermanyHetzerSovietISU-152GermanyJagdpanzer IVGermanyJagdpantherGermanyJagdtigerItalySemovente da 75/18GermanyStuG IIIUnited StatesT28 Super-Heavy Tank
Self-Propelled Artillery GermanyKarl-Gerät 040
Main Battle Tank Japan2Type 10