King Tiger – Henschel Turret

King Tiger w/ Henschel Turret – Abt.505
Manufacturer: TAKOM – Scale: 1/35

Model by Clayton Ockerby

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A brief history

‘Hitler’s Wunderwaffe’

Through the mid part of the Second World War, the German military highlighted a need for a weapon that could house a high muzzle velocity gun, such as the 88mm Pak43 L/71, in order to take on some of the Soviet heavy tanks of the time.

The existing Tiger I chassis was unsuitable to house the turret required to take such a weapon, and in January of 1943, Porsche and Henschel were given the brief to produce the new tank, capable of delivering the punch the Germans’ were so desperately looking for.

After a number of prototypes were delivered with little success, the design for the new tank would be awarded to the Henschel factory in October of 1943, with mass production beginning in December, later that year.

The design had sloping armour, with the frontal armour increased to 150mm thick, and 80mm on the sides.

The Tiger II, or King Tiger was powered by a V-12 Maybach HL230 P30. It had an output of 700hp at 300rpm, with 8 forward gears and 4 reverse. The 69 metric tonne tank could reach speeds of up to 35km per hour, and despite it’s size, accounts would suggest the tank was reasonably easy to drive.

The Tiger II saw two different turret variations. The first 50 models had the one designed by the Porsche project, and the remainder would see the Henschel turret fitted.

Hitler saw the King Tiger as his “Wunderwaffe”, or ‘miracle weapon’, and on paper that may well have been the case. Its’ 88mm gun had an effective range of 3km, and could hit and kill just about anything, and the bulk of its’ armour meant it was virtually impregnable from a frontal attack. Unfortunately however, the tank was costly, expensive to run and maintain, over engineered and prone to failure.

As an interesting comparison, for the cost to produce one King Tiger, the Soviets were able to produce ten, highly effective T34/85’s.

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