Tank crewmember points out a salvo of five rounds from Sherman tanks that failed to penetrate his King Tiger’s armor

King Tiger

Königstiger or "Royal Tiger"

Preparation for the Ardennes Offensive was under strict radio silence.  Here a messenger delivers a verbal communiqué to a commander.

Model by Ross Kelley-Vincent

      Called the King Tiger by the Allies, Königstiger meant Royal Tiger. During World War II, the German tank that was designated the Panzerkampfkanonewagen VI-B Tiger II, or more commonly known as the "King Tiger" was a much feared weapon by Allied Forces, because of its powerful 88mm (8.8cm) main gun and thick armor plate.

     Development of the massive King Tiger began in February 1943 to counter the increasing threat of Russian Tanks. A more powerful cannon was added, upgrading from the L56, 88mm of the Tiger I to the Type 43 L71, 88mm high velocity gun. The chassis front armor was 150mm thick with 80mm thick side armor. The Henschel and Porsche companies came up with rival turret prototypes. After the trial production of 50 tanks with the Porsche turret, the Henschel design, with its extremely thick armor that measured 185mm on the front and 88mm on the side panels, was adopted for mass production. The Henschel turret itself was revised mid-way through production, from a stepped gun mantle to a smooth one.

    Due to the havoc wreaked by the King Tiger during the final German offensive on the Ardennes front in December of 1944, the Allied forces that moved in on Berlin would fear the King Tiger up until the very last day of the war.

Crewmen prepare their new King Tiger
King Tiger crew await inclement weather and orders to begin the Ardennes Offensive
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