The Panzer VI Tiger and Tiger II are amongst the most famous weapons of the Second World War, with a fearsome reputation then and now. This fairly short book looks at both versions of the Panzer VI, covering their development, technical details and combat performance.
The size of the book means that there isn’t room for a detailed account of the Tiger's combat career, so the author has chosen to focus on key examples, providing a background history of the events leading up to the battle, and then a detailed account of the fighting itself. The choice of encounters is nicely balanced. We get the inevitable account of Whitmann's exploits at Villers Bocage, but there is also an examination of the battle in which he was killed, where a single Sherman Firefly probably destroyed three Tigers. There are also interesting sections on the Sherman Firefly and the Soviet IS-2, with technical comparisons to the Tiger and examples of how they performed in combat. This is an interesting approach, although it perhaps over plays the important of tank-vs-tank battles on battlefields increasingly dominated by man-portable anti-tank weapons, air power and powerful anti-tank guns.
Some mistakes do creep in - the tapered bore gun that was originally intended to go on Henschel's precursor to the Tiger I is placed in the Tiger II section by mistake, while an interesting picture of the Tiger I's interleaved suspension in place on the side of a tank, but with the track taken off for maintenance is labelled as being 'before assembly'. Other than these minor quibbles, this is a good short, low price, history of the Tiger that should be of interest to the general reader of military history.
Design and Development
Crew Training and Organisation
Tigers vs Allied Armour
Glossary and Abbreviations
Author: Marcus Cowper