The Tiger II in Normandy
There is good reason to believe that the Tiger II saw action
for the very first time in Normandy.
Tank Museum photo No. 2402-D-1
If so it was a somewhat inauspicious beginning. The tanks
were still very suspect in terms of reliability and relatively
vulnerable in the face of concentrated air attack.
Tank Museum photo No. 2907-C-4
At least one of them was lost when it pitched into a bomb
crater and proved impossible to get out. It seems that the
crew must have destroyed it by blowing off the turret to
ensure it was of no use to the Allies.
Tank Museum photo No. 2907/E/3
Transmission failures appear to have been the main problem.
Something the tank inherited from its predecessor. Not surprising,
perhaps, when its great weight is taken into account but
very inconvenient in the face of aggressive opposition.
Crews made serious efforts to destroy disabled tanks, which
became a great source of interest to their captors.
Tank Museum photo No. 1323/C/3
Some of the tanks sported the later pattern turret, the
so-called Henschel type - seen here on a tank of 501st Battalion.
This is a good example of another problem that faces the
historian. According to 23rd Hussars this tank was knocked
out by one of their Shermans. On the other hand the German
Battalion War Diary claims that the tank had already broken
down and been abandoned when the Sherman drove up and made
a hole in it.