PzKpfw VI (Tiger II)

Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw) VI Tiger II Ausf. B, Königstiger
(Popular versions: King Tiger, Tiger II, Kønigstiger, Koenigtiger the two latter being wrong)

The Königstiger was presumably the most powerful axis tank of World War 2, up until the very end of the war the Allied forces did not produce anything that could (effectively) counteract it (The Stalin Tanks, JSII, JSIII were the only ones barring tank-destroyers.) The Königstiger was ordered by the tiny man (in 1943) himself to pack a 88mm turret that was originally built for the Tiger (I), have 150mm frontal armor and 80mm side armor. It's design was much more streamlined than the original Tiger I (which was rather square), it's front and side plates were sloped and interlocked (similar to the Panther Tank), not hard-edged.

Under the command of Hitler, there were two main types of the tank, the Porsche design, and the Henschel design. Porsche made two designs, Type 180 (Turm Vorne) had a centrally mounted turret, while Type 181 (Turm Hinten) had the turret mounted in the rear of the tank resulting in a more tankdestroyer-ish layout (if I may). These two types Porsche made were designated VK4502P.

Henschel's design was developed faster than Porsche's and hence made it into production sooner. His design (VK4503H), was totally different from the Tiger I, and had more resemblance to the Panther line of tanks. However, production was severely delayed by the allied bombing runs on Henschels factory, that also left a factory in ruins. But prodution continued nevertheless. The turrets were later named the Krupp Prodution Turret, serien turm (serial turret).

The first Königstigers to enter prodution were coated in Zimmerit anti-magnetic paste, as a shield against mines and the likes. After some 50 or so tanks with the Porche turret installed, the Porsche turret project was fully rejected. The later Königstiger tanks were built with Krupp Production Turrets.

The Königstigers were powered by a 12 cylinder Maybach HL 230 P30 engine capable of producing 700 horsepower with an eight-speed Maybach OLVAR EG 40-12-16B gearbox (8 forward, 4 reverse). Included was also a brand new L801 Henschel steering mechanism. This rugged combo allowed the megatank to turn at the spot, 360°.

The wheeling consisted of nine sets of (overlapping) 80cm steel road wheels on eahc side of the tank, five outer, four inner. There were two main types of tracks; the 660mm track, and the 800mm track. The 660mm track was mainly used for transportation, while the 800mm track was used for combat, or other heavy duties. The Königstiger suffered heavily from lack of mobility (as did the Tiger I) due to its high fuel comsumption (or power to weight ratio, which btw was 10.1 hp/ton) rate. Maximum road speed was 35.5-38km/h (22-24 miles per hour), and rough terrain, cross country or similar was at ~17km/h (~10mph). The fuel consumption was considered a serious problem, because a single Tiger II consumed up to 500 liters (2 gallons/mile) per 100km whilst fuel was at its scarcest, and it only carried 860 gallons, making it rather short-ranged. It's max range was considered to be around 100-120km, or 68-75 miles on the road, and 80km (50 miles) off-road. It also needed constant maintenance to be fully operational during combat.

«On the road from Bollersdorf to Strausberg stood a further 11 Stalin tanks,
and away on the egde of the village itself, were around 120-150 enemy tanks
in the process of being refuelled and re-armed.I opened fire,
and destroyed first and last of the 11 Stalin tanks on the road.
My own personal score of enemy tanks destroyed in this action was 39.»

-- SS-Haupstscharführer Karl Körner,
Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung (103) 503 / III SS Panzer Corps,
East Germany, April of 1945.

(src: lexica of war, internet)
(Original quote from British Broadcasting)

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