Tank Craft 20, Tiger I, German Army Heavy Tank, Eastern Front, Summer 1943

Another addition to the very popular Tank Craft series, taking the Tiger I story on. There is a concise analysis of the tank’s design, development and variants with in-action photographs and specially commissioned full colour drawings and exhibition grade models of a selection of available kits. – Very Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Tank Craft 20, Tiger I, German Army Heavy Tank, Eastern Front, Summer 
1943
FILE: R3055
AUTHOR: Dennis Oliver
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Tank Craft
BINDING: soft back
PRICE: £16.99                                                                
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, German Army, 
Eastern Front, 1943, armour, armoured warfare, Tiger I, heavy tank, reliability, 88mm 
canon, heavy armour, ground pressure, bridge crossing

ISBN: 1-52675-582-3

IMAGE: B3055.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/tfympl5
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: Another addition to the very popular Tank Craft series, taking the 
Tiger I story on. There is a concise analysis of the tank's design, development and 
variants with in-action photographs and specially commissioned full colour 
drawings and exhibition grade models of a selection of available kits. – Very 
Highly Recommended.

The Tiger I was undoubtedly one of the most important designs of WWII. It has 
justified many model kits and specialist alternative components and it justifies this 
carefully presented book with its specially commissioned full colour artwork and 
models.

The Tiger I introduced thick armour equal to Allied tank anti-armour capability, 
combined with the very potent 88mm canon. To provide adequate mobility, it was 
necessary to mount a powerful diesel power pack and very wide tracks that required 
overlapping road wheels to keep ground pressure to acceptable levels. Even so it was 
too heavy for some bridges on the Eastern Front. It was also demanding in 
maintenance and repair and especially demanding in terms of tank transporters and 
battlefield recovery vehicles.

In some respects the Tiger I was an interim design. In 1939, the German Army was 
being required to fight a war planned provisionally for 1944 or later, after weaker 
neighbours had all be absorbed into the Third Reich. Predominately, the Wehrmacht 
was being required to fight with light tanks that had been designed as training vehicles 
and reconnaissance vehicles. This was adequate for the invasion of Poland but it 
would have been much harder had it not been for the Czech Skoda 38t which was a 
38 ton armoured fighting vehicle equipped with good armour, an effective main gun 
and very good cross country performance. The chassis was still in demand to the end 
of the war for assault tanks and tank killers. The medium/heavy Pkw III and Pkw IV 
were a great advance on the Pkw I and Pkw II light tanks but were still being 
introduced into service during the Battle of France. As the British proved at Arras, 
the German tanks could be destroyed by the main gun fitted to the Matilda infantry 
tank, while German shells just bounced off the Matilda's armour. The French also 
had some very capable tanks that showed similar superiority. Had the British and 
French used their tanks in mass formations, as the British did at Arras, the Germans 
might have been stalled as in 1914 and even have been pushed back over their start 
line in Germany.

The Tiger I was hurried through testing and pre-production to enable the first models 
to be issued to the Afrika Korps and to units on the Eastern Front. It achieved 
acceptable cross country performance for such a large and heavy machine, but its 
great strengths were the thickness of armour and the power of the 88mm cannon. It 
was more than a match or the American Grant and Sherman tanks, until the British 
began fitting their powerful 17 pounder cannon to Shermans.        

There continued to be serviceability issues through the life of the Tiger I and batteries 
proved a special problem on the Eastern Front in the low winter temperatures. The 
design also provided some shell traps. The Panther medium tank and the Royal Tiger, 
AKA Tiger II, completed the development upgrades from the Pkw IV, introducing 
thick sloped armour for turrets and frontal armour. The remaining weakness being the 
rear armour which was vulnerable to attack aircraft with heavy cannon and to well-
sited anti-tank artillery.

This book provides useful information for military history enthusiasts in its 
introduction but the outstanding full colour illustrations are specially important to 
model makers. The colour drawings have been specially commissioned and the 
photographed models have been especially commissioned, achieving exhibition 
standard.