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The Chieftain's Hatch: A Bigger Kitty


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The_Chieftain #1 Posted Jun 06 2016 - 20:08

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VK 45.03. Tiger III. Tiger II. Tiger Ausf B. And they’re all the same tank. Even after reading and re-reading the books on King Tiger’s development (Notably the Jentz/Doyle one), I’m still a little confused, though perhaps a little less than some. You’d think that a country with a reputation of organization such as Germany would have had a system which was easier to decipher, but as Hilary Doyle intimated in Operation Think Tank, the various companies all competing for contracts tended to be as much interested in the money as they were their patriotic duty to see the war won. Doubtless the winds of fortune changed as the company leadership leaned upon their patrons in the political hierarchy which had no small role in the development of vehicles by the middle of the war. Anyway, since the VK 45.03 premium tank is now on sale, let’s have a look at the background.

The 45.03 existed only on paper, and, as near as I can tell, in the condition wee modelled it, only for about six weeks. Writing a historical article on it to support the sale has proven a challege!

The middle of the war is where we start off. You will recall from the "hello kitty" article I did some time back that Tiger 1 was the result of multiple companies fighting over the contract, and eventually it was figured out how to get the 8.8/71 into Tiger’s turret.

The development of the King Tiger followed a surprisingly similar pattern, led, again by Porsche. He proposed in January 1942 that perhaps it was about time to start sloping the fronts of his tanks, and promptly enough came up with the “Typ 101 verstarkt”, or “strengthened Typ 101”, the Type 101 of course being the batch of Porsche Tigers which were turned into Ferdinands. Subsequent batches were to be produced with the sloping front.

With this, however, came the requirement for a new turret. It had to have the Flak 41 8.8 cm cannon. There was no particular choice with that one: Hitler set that requirement in 1941 which, if you will recall, pre-dates even production of the Porsche Tiger. As a result, there was some effort being made to make an effective turret for the larger gun (which, of course, would eventually actually be the KwK.43). Krupp spent much of 1941 and half of 1942 working on this problem, while the more familiar turret with the 8.8/56 was under production. Once the turret design was sorted out, production was started in the latter half of 1942. This resulted in what has since become known as the “Porsche turret”, although Porsche actually had nothing to do with the design or manufacture of the thing. It was just built as part of the development process of the tank incorporating the Porsche hull, which by this point had been known as VK 45.01 (P2), VK 45.02 (P) or Tiger P2 depending on what season it was. As it could have been built, the vehicle can be seen in Tier VIII and IX in the Maus line in the game. The problem was, however, that the Porsche electrical transmission design, of course, didn’t really meet expectations, and eventually the entire VK 45.02 (P) project came to a screeching halt and orders cancelled at the very end of 1942. This left a bunch of (Technical term for ‘fifty) big turrets sitting around with nothing to put them on.

In the meantime, over at Henschel, they also started working on a bigger tank in spring 1942. Originally the VK 45.02(H) / Tiger II, they threw out that design and started over again in late 1942 with the Tiger III, also known as the VK 45.03 (Aha! We got there!). Initially, the design was really just going to be something of a tweak to the then-in-production Tiger VK 45.01, with internal components rearranged to increase ammunition capacity, and a sloped front. The armor thickness was the same 100mm as on the VK.45.01, sufficient effectiveness would be provided by the 50 degrees. The eventual order from Hitler, interfering as he always did, that the new tank’s glacis be increased to 150mm cost the tank over 1.7 tonnes.

Sloping the front actually led to something of a problem, as the Tiger’s ball mount for the MG and vision ports were designed for something a bit more vertical. As a result, they borrowed the solutions from Panther: The ‘letterbox’ type MG port, and the raising driver’s visor.

To fit a turret onto this hull, they looked again to Krupp and the turret design for the KwK.43 they had already produced. The only thing which needed to be done to mount the turret onto this new vehicle was to convert the turret’s traverse mechanism from electrical to hydraulic, just as had to be done with the previous vehicle’s turret.

As a result, the VK 45.03 in the game is basically the vehicle as drawn at the very end of 1943, before the ordered armor increases were incorporated.

As you can imagine, the tank evolved from there with a few more changes, in addition to the extra armor, new driver’s vision, and a working ball mount for the machinegun.

Similarly Krupp modified the turret primarily for ease of manufacture, making what is commonly known as the “Henschel Turret”, which, just like the Porsche turret, Henschel had nothing to do with. These became the main production turret once the stock of earlier ones ran out. Eventually new changes were also made to the power train. Included in these changes were the names, being variously called Tiger B, Tiger II, Tiger Ausf B, Koenigstiger, and by Inspectorate 6 (Panzer branch) as Pz.Kpfw.Tiger (8.8cm Lw.K. L/71) (Sk.Kfz.182).

Whatever one called the tank, 492 manufactured successors to VK 45.03 went on to become legendary.



Blackhorse_Six_ #2 Posted Jun 07 2016 - 22:41

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I had read somewhere how the turrets came to be known as "Porsche" and "Henschel" but I've since lost the source (British Intelligence?).

 

Those misappellations may have had roots during the war, but they spread like a virus in the growing modeling community of the mid-to-late 1960's and onward, when wartime youngsters and post-war progeny who wanted to know what their fathers and grandfathers did in the war.

 

Hoooo ... Need to take a breath after that sentence ...



Redcoat #3 Posted Jun 08 2016 - 18:22

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Now, there's a development lineage I can actually follow... phwew! Thx Chieftain!  :great:

DV_Currie_VC #4 Posted Jun 08 2016 - 18:50

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 06 2016 - 12:08, said:

As a result, the VK 45.03 in the game is basically the vehicle as drawn at the very end of 1943, before the ordered armor increases were incorporated.

As you can imagine, the tank evolved from there with a few more changes, in addition to the extra armor, new driver’s vision, and a working ball mount for the machinegun.

So, the VK 45.03 is the most direct prototype ahead of the production Tiger 2 with either the 50 Porsche or main production Henschel turrets.



rollingthunder133 #5 Posted Jun 08 2016 - 19:19

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So Gameplay wise whats the difference between this and the 45.02A?

shapeshifter #6 Posted Jun 08 2016 - 20:29

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And here's a lovely report done by the British on the Tiger 2 P turret to round things off.

 

http://imgur.com/a/10hUv



Gwennifer #7 Posted Jun 08 2016 - 20:31

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View Postrollingthunder133, on Jun 08 2016 - 12:19, said:

So Gameplay wise whats the difference between this and the 45.02A?

 

Almost everything. They're kind of close in penetration and shell velocity. :U

 

Edit: They're very similar in height!


Edited by Gwennifer, Jun 08 2016 - 20:35.


SlotRacer #8 Posted Jun 09 2016 - 05:22

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This tank never existed even on paper. it was discussed but no plans existed for it.

BluntedBaboon #9 Posted Jun 09 2016 - 15:26

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Jun 06 2016 - 15:08, said:

also known as the VK 45.03 (Aha! We got there!). Initially, the design was really just going to be something of a tweak to the then-in-production Tiger VK 45.01, with internal components rearranged to increase ammunition capacity, and a sloped front. The armor thickness was the same 100mm as on the VK.45.01, sufficient effectiveness would be provided by the 50 degrees. The eventual order from Hitler, interfering as he always did, that the new tank’s glacis be increased to 150mm cost the tank over 1.7 tonnes.

Sloping the front actually led to something of a problem, as the Tiger’s ball mount for the MG and vision ports were designed for something a bit more vertical. As a result, they borrowed the solutions from Panther: The ‘letterbox’ type MG port, and the raising driver’s visor.

 

 

 

 I am so glad they didn't introduce the only worth while planned improvements that would have made a German with some frontal armor brawling ability.

 

Otherwise, still an interesting read. Still all this tank is, is food for others.


Edited by BluntedBaboon, Jun 09 2016 - 15:27.


dinocamo #10 Posted Jun 09 2016 - 18:47

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Why didn't they call the Tiger 2 the Panzerkampfwagen VII? But simply Panzerkampfwagen Tiger ausf B or Panzerkampfwagen VI TIger II (according to certain souces from Wikipedia).

 

The Panzerkampfwagen VII is known as the Lowe (Lion), it got the military designation but it was never put into the production line. The Lowe was also designed at same time as the Tiger 2 and both designes are extremely simillar and competitive,

 

After certain research, I found that the Tiger 2 is more similar to the Tiger I than I believe. Though the Tiger I and Tiger II look different, their internal modules are pretty much the same. They use the same engine, same transmission system, same turret ring's size and turret mechanism, same track designed though enlarged to compensate the heavier weight. The main differents are the armor slope, front armor thickness/slope and the new turret. The differences in term of hull size is simeply the sloped nose of the hull and the wider track, the base chassis of Tiger II is still the same as the Tiger I. So, the Tiger II is simply an improvised Tiger and not a "different" vehicule, hence the name of version B or version 2 (as the Nazi follow the aphabetic order, B is the second letter of the alphabet). I also assume that the Lowe has many differences in the interior designe compare to the Tiger I and II. it's possible that for the sake of the production, the Nazi preferred the Tiger II over the Lowe due to the similarity. About the Tiger III, they didn't even put the Tiger II into the production, wasn't that too soon to start thinking about a Tiger III?



Tim_Bush #11 Posted Jun 11 2016 - 03:29

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I was thinking this looked like the Tiger 2 minus the track skirts, thanks for the history.  Good read.

 

 

Edit:  I like this tank also, although I say it feels to me more like a heavy medium than a true heavy.  


Edited by _Timothy_, Jun 11 2016 - 03:31.


lightwaveTT #12 Posted Jun 13 2016 - 23:18

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The Tiger 2 was meant to use the longer 88mm L71 gun aka, (8.8 cm PaK43 anti tank gun) which was too heavy for the tiger 1 to mount. 71 calibers long (6.3m or 21 feet), had a maximum effective range of 10km (6.2 miles), and extremely accurate.

Hitler the OKW wanted a tank that could mount this gun.

 

Ammunition type

  Muzzle velocity
(m/s)
Penetration (mm)
100 m 250 m 500 m 750 m 1000 m 1250 m 1500 m 2000 m 2500 m 3000 m
PzGr. 39/43 (APCBC) 1,000 m/s (3,300 ft/s) 232 227 219 211 204 196 190 176 164 153
PzGr. 40/43 (APCR) 1,130 m/s (3,700 ft/s) 304 296 282 269 257 245 234 213 194 177

 

180 mm of penetration is about 7 inches.

The gun was capable of killing any existing tank with one shot even at 2000 meters or more.

 

https://upload.wikim...,_8,8cm_Pak.jpg

 

This from a history / hobbiest board game site

Block Quote

 in order to standardize tank production. The VK4503(H) design was completely different from that of theTiger I, with some resemblance to the enlarged Panther, with which it shared some common parts. On October 20, 1943, a wooden mock-up of Henschel’s Tiger II was presented to Adolf Hitler at Arys (Orzysz), in East Prussia.

 

Preparations for production at Henschel’s plant in Kassel started in December 1943, with three prototypes produced. Tiger II production began in January of 1944 and ended in March of 1945.

 

Only 489 production vehicles (and the three prototypes – V1, V2 and V3) were built in four production series (420500, 420530, 420590 and 420680), out of the original 1,500 ordered. It was predicted that monthly production would reach 125 tanks per month from August of 1945 onwards.  Production was delayed by the overall war situation, shortages of labour, material and bombing raids on the Henschel factory at Kassel, which left the plant in ruins. 

.

Other companies involved in production of Tiger II components were Krupp, Wegmann, Skoda and DHHV

.

Cost of a single King Tiger was approximately 800.000 Reichsmarks and required total of 300.000 man hours.  Interestingly enough, 800.000 Reichsmarks was an equivalent of weekly wage for 30.000 people !

 

 

right off wiki.

Block Quote

 The anti-tank gun version of the 8.8 cm KwK 43 was known as the 8.8 cm PaK 43. This name was also applied to versions of this weapon mounted in various armored vehicles, such as the Jagdpanther, Hornisse/Nashorn and Ferdinand/Elefant Panzerjäger tank destroyers. The Nashorn was the first vehicle to carry the KwK/PaK 43 series of guns. The series included: PaK 43 (cruciform mount), PaK 43/41 (two-wheel split-trail carriage), PaK 43/1 (Nashorn), and PaK 43/2 (Ferdinand/Elefant), all with monobloc (one-piece) barrels; PaK 43/3 and 43/4 (Jagdpanther) with two-piece barrel, and KwK 43 (Tiger II) with two-piece barrel.

 

The earlier versions could traverse its turret 360 degrees in 19 seconds provided the engien was reved up.

Its mobility was actually fairly good considering its size.

 

Block Quote

 The Tiger II was powered by 12 cylinder Maybach HL 230 P30 engine producing 700hp (as used in the Panther).  Engines were produced by Maybach and Auto Union.  As of August of 1945, new engine – 900hp Maybach HL 234 was to be used.  Maybach engine was coupled with an 8-speed Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B gearbox (8 forward and 4 reverse) produced by Adlerwerke and ZF.

 

It got .1 miles per liter.

Most were simply abandoned when they ran out of gas. Germany didn't have the fuel to run these things this was a really massive 70 ton tank most allied forces would opt not to directly engage it and for good reason, most any enemy who saw it probably just ran.

 

Block Quote

 The first time the Tiger II saw action was in May 1944 near Minsk, followed by another action (of schwere Panzer Abteilung 501 commanded by Oberstleutnant von Legat) in July 1944 atSandomierz in Poland. Only two companies of schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 commanded by Hauptmann Fromme, equipped with Tiger II tanks (with Porsche turrets), were committed to the fighting in Normandy, where their mechanical problems and Allied fighter-bombers as well naval gunfire proved fatal and, by the end of August 1944, all were lost. Tiger II tanks of schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 commanded by Major Lange, saw combat during the "Market Garden" operation in Holland in September of 1944. King Tigers also took part in the Ardennes Offensive, serving with schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 501 (Kampfgruppe Peiper). On the Eastern Front, Tiger II tanks took part in the fighting in Hungary and in central Poland in 1944 and 1945. The Tiger II saw combat on both Western and Eastern Fronts, where it proved to be a superb weapon and worthy opponent when operated by an experienced crew and properly maintained.

 

"Klein Tiger"In December of 1944, Henschel proposed the design for 33ton heavy Klein Tiger (Small Tiger), which was to be a lighter versionof Tiger II. It was to be powered by Tiger II’s Maybach HL 230 P 30 engine producing 630hp. It was to have 80mm thick sloped front armor and 160mm thick horizontal side armor. The side armor was to be newly developed (or being developed) layered armor. Klein Tiger was to be armed with Krupp’s 100mm PWK (Panzerwurfkanone), able to penetrate 200mm of armor. Small Tiger remained only a paper project.

 

Today, a fine example of an accurately repainted and externally intact Königstiger is left as a monument at La Gleize, north of St. Vith in Belgium. In addition, Tiger IIs can be seen in museums in Saumur, France; Bovington and Shrivenham, England (the Tiger II in Bovington is the V2 prototype, while the "104" in Shrivenham was captured in August of 1944 at Magny en Vexinon and belonged to sSSPzAbt 501); Munster, Germany; the Patton Museum at Fort Knox in the USA; Thun, Switzerland; and Kubinka in Russia.

 

Tiger II from the first ss pnz division on the road in la gleize with battle damage and all.

 

 


Edited by lightwaveTT, Jun 14 2016 - 05:06.


WulfeHound #13 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 01:51

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No Tiger II's were destroyed in battle? Then explain the three that were knocked out due to ammunition rack detonation near the village of Ogledow by T-34-85's, and how up to 14 (including those 3) were lost in ambushes by ISU-122's, IS-2's, and T-34-85's from 12-14 August 1944?

Edited by WulfeHound, Jun 14 2016 - 02:39.


Anlushac11 #14 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 02:20

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First use of Tiger II at Minsk was a disaster. Soviets set up a ambush and were able to get side shots on advancing Tiger II's. The sides of the turret was fairly easy to pen by Soviet SU's and several Tiger II's were lost when their ammo storage in rear of turret was hit and set on fire. Tiger II crews quickly learned not to store ammo in turret rear and the extra ammo was placed on floor. Was fairly common to see extra tracks hanging on the front and rear sides of the Tiger II turret's.

 

Tiger II's in Normandy caused some concern but there were never enough of them to make a difference. There is one famous incident where a Firefly rammed the rear corner of a Tiger II which disabled both vehicles.

 

Mobility was roughly the same as the Tiger I due to the wider tracks and more transmission speeds.

 

"When maintained properly" ...By 1944 German factories and fuel production infrastructure were being targeted and bombed almost daily. Germany started war with a deplorable and almost non existent logistics system for spare parts to keep any of their AFV's operational. Thus spare parts were hard to get and were never sufficient to meet demand. If the vehicle was repaired there was usually not enough gasoline to do much more than a test drive.  That German repair depots were able to maintain on average a 50% operational rate til late in war is almost a miracle in itself considering what they had to work with.

 

 



lightwaveTT #15 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 02:57

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Well i could be wrong about that i was just quoting one site on that point.

Regardless i cant see how a t34-85's gun is penetrating that much armor.

Are you sure it was actually the tiger II that was destroyed ?

 

Any way, Im pretty sure lack of gas was the number 1 thing that rendered these tanks lost not poor armor or lack of a good gun.


Edited by lightwaveTT, Jun 14 2016 - 03:31.


shapeshifter #16 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 02:57

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lightwaveTT #17 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 03:03

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that's basically in line with what i posted for apcbc.

WulfeHound #18 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 03:22

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View PostlightwaveTT, on Jun 13 2016 - 20:57, said:

Well i could be wrong about that i was just quoting one site on that point.

Regardless i cant see how a t348's gun is penetrating that much armor.

Are you sure it was actually the tiger II that was destroyed ?

 

Any way, Im pretty sure lack of gas was the number 1 thing that rendered these tanks lost not poor armor or lack of a good gun.

 

Yes, those were Tiger II's destroyed at Ogledow.

http://tankarchives.blogspot.com/2013/07/king-tigers-at-ogledow.html



Belesarius #19 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 03:28

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What's with the retarded wehraboos lately? I thought we had seal-clubbed them to death long ago?

 

 



Walter_Sobchak #20 Posted Jun 14 2016 - 04:53

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View PostlightwaveTT, on Jun 13 2016 - 17:18, said:

It got 2 miles per gallon None were destroyed in battle.

Most were simply abandoned when they ran out of gas. Germany didn't have the fuel to run these things this was a really massive 70 ton tank most allied forces would opt not to directly engage it and for good reason, most any enemy who saw it probably just ran.

 

 

Oh for heaven's sake, a modern diesel engine in a 70 tank can't manage 2 miles per gallon, let alone a 1940's gasoline engine.  The Tiger II had a fuel capacity of 228 US gallons and an operating range of approximately 110 miles on road or 75 off road.  That comes out to less than 1/2 mile per gallon on road or 1/3 mile per gallon off road.  

 

 

 






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