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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 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 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 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 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.

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