Tiger II (King Tiger) Main battle tank (MBT)
The final development of the Tiger MBT, the Tiger II or King Tiger was the most powerful tank on the battlefield in the Second World War. In 1942 Hitler demanded that the Tiger tank should be fitted with 88mm long barrelled gun and frontal armour of 150mm, despite rivals designs (one of which was to be the Panther II which never made it
into production before the war ended) and several refinements the detail design was completed in 1943 and the pilot model ready by Nov 1943. By December production had started with the first models completed in Feb 1944. The final tank looked like the Panther but had many features of the Tiger E.
The Tiger II was an extremely powerful tank combining heavy armour (virtually impenetrable front armour) and a lethal 88mm gun, but it was slow to build and very difficult to maintain.
As the Germans started to concentrate on building only two tank types by autumn 1944, the Panther became the main production model as two could be built for every Tiger II. By March 1945 production was only 25 a month. The Tiger II was the heaviest tank in active service during World War II and a fore runner of the modern MBT, weighing in at nearly 71 tonnes (69.7tons) with a top speed of 37.8Km/h(23.5mph) it saw action on the Eastern Front in May 1944 and on the Western Front in August 1944.
How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (9 August 2000), Tiger II (King Tiger) Main battle tank (MBT), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_tiger2.html