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Armor in World War II Discuss all aspects & disciplines of World War II Armor here.

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  #1  
Old 18 Jun 17, 14:11
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The story of how Königstiger's name came to be...

Is it true that the name "Königstiger" came from something a tank commander said, as a joke, about the tank when he saw it?

The story I remember was that a tank commander, who had previously crewed Tiger 1's, was visiting a tank factory to see the new Tiger II and when a tank was driven out before him as a surprise he said that it's "no longer a tiger... it's a königstiger!" - i.e the bengal tiger, which is the biggest species of tiger.

If it's true I think it's a pretty cool story.

Last edited by FireGodHamster; 18 Jun 17 at 14:25..
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  #2  
Old 18 Jun 17, 14:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireGodHamster View Post
Is it true that the name "Königstiger" came from something a tank commander said, as a joke, about the tank when he saw it?

The story I remember was that a tank commander, who had previously crewed Tiger 1's, was visiting a tank factory to see the new Tiger II and when a tank was driven out before him as a surprise he said that it's "no longer a tiger... it's a königstiger!" - i.e bengal tiger, the biggest tiger species.

If it's true, well, then I think it's a pretty cool story! And while the name Königstiger had a value in all the nazi propaganda I'm sure, it's pretty funny if was actually meant to be more of a tongue-in-cheek thing originally.
"Koenig" is the German word for King. The German word for "Bengal" is Bengal.

The Germans named their armor for animals, specifically hunting cats in the case of the Panther series. Example: the next in the series was to be the Lowe - Lion.
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Old 18 Jun 17, 14:33
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The closer you get to the equator the smaller the Tigers become. The Siberian Tiger is the largest size as the bulk helps keep them warm. Tigers don't have this problem in Indonesia.

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Old 18 Jun 17, 14:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireGodHamster View Post
Is it true that the name "Königstiger" came from something a tank commander said, as a joke, about the tank when he saw it?

The story I remember was that a tank commander, who had previously crewed Tiger 1's, was visiting a tank factory to see the new Tiger II and when a tank was driven out before him as a surprise he said that it's "no longer a tiger... it's a königstiger!" - i.e the bengal tiger, which is the biggest species of tiger.

If it's true I think it's a pretty cool story.
It's also untrue and a pretty silly story. Adding King to a name is a fairly standard German approach to meaning bigger (and better). Adopted in most of Europe and the former colonies. Never heard of King sized burger or king sized bed? Indeed it may have originated with Henry VIII of England who ordered an extra large bed.

Oh my God I'm agreeing with MM - pours king sized strong drink. Collapse of stout party.
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Old 18 Jun 17, 17:06
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Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
"Koenig" is the German word for King. The German word for "Bengal" is Bengal.
And the German word for Bengal tiger is Königstiger.
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  #6  
Old 18 Jun 17, 18:10
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Originally Posted by DogDodger View Post
And the German word for Bengal tiger is Königstiger.
Yup. So it's obvious the germans were most likely not thinking so much about the word "king", but more about the bengal tiger species and how it's a big kind of a tiger, possibly believing it was the biggest - but apparently the siberian tiger is bigger. Their lack of natural knowledge was revealed already though with the naming of the Panther - it's a family of species, not an animal! A tiger is a kind of panther for example. DOH!

Naming it after a russian beast though...

But as for the story, it is false then?

Last edited by FireGodHamster; 19 Jun 17 at 06:58..
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Old 18 Jun 17, 19:41
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Actually in the US the Panther is another name for a Cougar/Puma. The were supposed to be some melanistic Pumas referred to as Black Panthers. The Fish and Game Department claims Pumas do not go melanistic, but the closest big cat that does is the Jaguar, which only appears along the Mexican border now. The fartherest East one was found was near Eunice Louisiana in the Nineteenth Century. People report seeing big black cats in Louisiana still.

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Old 20 Jun 17, 15:20
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One of the ironies of the King Tiger is that despite being underpowered, after its initial teething troubles, it was fairly reliable, as much so as the PzIV, and better than the Tiger 1 and Panther.

The same holds true with the KV/IS tanks. A heavy tank does not necessarily mean an unreliable tank.
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Old 29 Jun 17, 16:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Actually in the US the Panther is another name for a Cougar/Puma. The were supposed to be some melanistic Pumas referred to as Black Panthers. The Fish and Game Department claims Pumas do not go melanistic, but the closest big cat that does is the Jaguar, which only appears along the Mexican border now. The fartherest East one was found was near Eunice Louisiana in the Nineteenth Century. People report seeing big black cats in Louisiana still.

Pruitt
So it's like it is with other mythical animals, there's constantly new claims and the myth just never die out. Makes for fun stories though I'm sure. I wonder, is there anything superstitious that would happen if one would see a "Black Panther"?

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
One of the ironies of the King Tiger is that despite being underpowered, after its initial teething troubles, it was fairly reliable, as much so as the PzIV, and better than the Tiger 1 and Panther.

The same holds true with the KV/IS tanks. A heavy tank does not necessarily mean an unreliable tank.
My knowledge is limited but heard that it was only the first model of the KV-1 that was so unreliable that it couldn't really be used as an effective weapon, and later models fixed this.

The opinions on Tiger II's reliability seems... varied to put it lightly. It's because of that that I've been curious about the actual mechanical performance of this tank, and the fact that it seems to have been the only real weakness. Maybe someone who knows the facts closely would like to reveal the truth about whether the Big Bad Kitty was actually pretty bad-ass, or just bad.

Last edited by FireGodHamster; 29 Jun 17 at 16:07..
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Old 29 Jun 17, 16:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
Actually in the US the Panther is another name for a Cougar/Puma. The were supposed to be some melanistic Pumas referred to as Black Panthers. The Fish and Game Department claims Pumas do not go melanistic, but the closest big cat that does is the Jaguar, which only appears along the Mexican border now. The fartherest East one was found was near Eunice Louisiana in the Nineteenth Century. People report seeing big black cats in Louisiana still.

Pruitt
The Black Panthers are Leopards and Jaguars that go melanistic.

Tigers and Lions, along with Jaguars and Leopards are technically Panthers, that is the Genus. Tigers are Panthera Tigris, Lions are Panthera Leo, and so forth.

Pumas is in its own genus. Cougars are in the specie Puma Concolor.
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Old 29 Jun 17, 16:57
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Originally Posted by FireGodHamster View Post
My knowledge is limited but heard that it was only the first model of the KV-1 that was so unreliable that it couldn't really be used as an effective weapon, and later models fixed this.

The opinions on Tiger II's reliability seems... varied to put it lightly. It's because of that that I've been curious about the actual mechanical performance of this tank, and the fact that it seems to have been the only real weakness. Maybe someone who knows the facts closely would like to reveal the truth about whether the Big Bad Kitty was actually pretty bad-ass, or just bad.
The first KV's were not too bad. They were few, built to a relatively high standard, and quite capable. They had some automative issues, but none much more so than the Matilda 2. The problem with the KV's is that production was increased beyond that which could be quality controlled, and worse of all, because it was thought the 88mm or similar weapons would be the enemy norm, the KV-1C was introduced. This was an even heavier, although better protected, tank than its previous incarnations. This was truly unreliable.

To put the KV-1C in perspective, the next incarnation was the KV-1S. The S model was considered a reliable tank, and went on to become the KV-85 and IS series of tanks. However, while its automative elements were mow much superior to the earlier models, its combat power was probably diminished. To take its debut as an example, three quarters of the tanks used were lost in its opening tank campaign in the Don 42/3. The other main tank in this theatre was the Churchill III. From a Western perspective this British tank was ****-poor, and totally unreliable. It had a huge number of issues that the British in N Africa, with engineers on site from the actual Vauxhall tank plant, did not sort out until the start of the Tunisian campaign in 43. Even so, apparent rubbish British reliability in this case, appears superior to decent Soviet reliability. Even more damning, Churchills survived being shot at when the KV-1S could not. Much of it might be that the Churchill was a much smaller target, KV's are huge. Armour quality and thickness tended to be on the Churchill's elements of strength as well.

Back to the King Tigers actual capabilities. It had a really decent gun and thick armour, easily the best frontal armour of any tank in WW2. However, side armour is another issue, and it was 80mm thick maximum. This meant it was practically invulnerable to most W Ally and Soviet 75mm and 76.2mm guns, and these were most prevelant up to the end of WW2. However, once you are up against British AT weaponry, US 90mm's and Soviet guns of 85mm and up, this level of thickness was not nearly enough.

Automatively, the King Tiger proved more reliable than its previous incarnation. However, as far as mobility was concerned, while it proved better than the Sherman on soft ground, it chewed up the roads behind it. This proved to be a failure during The Bulge, when it was forced to advance behind Panzer IV's and supply trucks to prevent holding up said advance.
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Old 30 Jun 17, 06:10
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And the biggest German tank of the lot was the Maus - mouse!
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Old 30 Jun 17, 07:00
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However, as far as mobility was concerned, while it proved better than the Sherman on soft ground, it chewed up the roads behind it. This proved to be a failure during The Bulge, when it was forced to advance behind Panzer IV's and supply trucks to prevent holding up said advance.
And many small bridges were limited to about 30 tons and certainly could not take 70 tons. many were also too narrow. Routes through villages often had to be avoided as it couldn't get through narrow roads.

The SSyms Köln wagons used to transport the Tigers by rail carried the narrower transportation tracks with them - they were not part of the tank's equipment and at journey's end the tranportation tracks were stored back on the wagon. However because the tracks on the Tiger II were different it needed different tracks for rail transport so the Germans ended up with two classes of SSyms Köln wagons - green and red each class equipped with different transport tracks green for Tiger I and red for Tiger II this greatly complicated logistics.

Because the Tigers only just fitted inside the European standard loading gauge there would be severe speed restrictions on some parts of the network to avoid swaying etc which would limit how quickly they could be got anywhere
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Old 30 Jun 17, 16:19
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I didn't know the use of transport tracks was complicated like that, thanks for sharing.

So Tiger II was more reliable that Tiger I? That's pretty surprising, didn't it share the same transmission? I know some parts in the transmission got reinforced during the summer. Before that there's some examples I remember coming across where it seemed almost unusable in operations- the combat debut on the east front comes to mind, where all but 4 of a battalions tanks broke down before reaching their objective (and the last was destroyed in an ambush by a single T-34).

There's also some examples from later on where reliability seems to have been substantially improved, yet also some showing that issues impeded it in operation still, like Battle of the Bulge- maybe could've been badly trained drivers though, or excessive steering between trees?

Michael Kenny seems to be a researcher who've dug deep into archives, maybe he would like to share some light on how the Tiger II fared during its career. The Tigers are something of a geek thing for me but some answers just can't be found by purely reading in books.
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