Germany’s famous, and very heavy Tiger tank entered production Summer of 1942.
Time for a quick look at one of the very first to see combat.
The heavy tank program that led to the Tiger really had its origins in 1930s. But war with the Russians and the shocking discovery of how modern, or just plain big some of their armor was led to new urgency in the program.
By Summer of 1942 Hitler was getting impatient with testing of the new beast and ordered the type into combat immediately. This meant small detachments sent to Leningrad and Tunisia for their trial by fire.
This example represents one from a detachment of three Tigers that saw action on December 1, 1942 against US Army M3 Lee tanks. They destroyed two for no loss. In fact, no Tiger was lost to gunfire until January 20 when a British 6-pounder scored a kill.
No doubt the Tiger came as a shock to Allied tank crews. But it was never present in large numbers. Also, its strategic mobility was poor; that is, its ability to be moved from one battlefield to another. Those first Tigers in North Africa wore out very quickly from the harsh climate, and there was no ability to move them by rail. The vast majority became operational losses, of those destroyed in combat more were done in with mines than gunfire.
This is the Tamiya kit and was an easy build, except for the pure number of road wheels to paint! It sort of amuses me that they went to the trouble of kitting this pre-production example. It had different parts for the air filters in back, the gun mantlet, fenders and one half of the turret.