Tiger Tiger...?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by von Poop, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    What is the Tiger fixation all about?

    Recalling the Japanese chap we met that had flown over for 3 days just to see 131 run has me musing.

    I'm interested in all tanks, perhaps mostly in British, Interwar & evolutionary dead ends, but I can still reach a foot to the left of me and grab a small pile of books on Tigger.
    If I got out of my chair I could find several more.
    That's possibly got as much to do with my scattergun approach to book-buying, but it interests me that I likely have more 'vehicle specific' titles on that machine than any other, despite not (I bloody hope) being part of the evangelical 'Tigrz R Kule' brigade.

    I'd venture you can find more books, kits, & general web discussion relating to it than any other tank.

    Yes, it's technologically quite interesting.
    Yes, it's big, has a fine gun, & just seeing 131 running at Tankfest is in itself imposing compared to many of its contemporaries, but that doesn't seem to fully explain the cultish devotion it inspires.

    It certainly left a mark on many allied veterans psyche, which perhaps plays a large part in its early 'fame', then feeding into its representation on paper & in plastic, but we've had decades now of more in-depth examination of WW2 machinery, & the fairly easy logical conclusion is that it had its strengths & its flaws, & the further you delve, the more the flaws become apparent.
    In truth:


    Big gun - weak engine.
    Thick armour - Often badly made/jointed.
    Imposing - Transport tracks & interleaved wheels.
    Etc. Etc.

    I don't find criticism of the thing particularly controversial (nor do I think it was the complete waste of time sometimes cited) but you can still trigger people into fits of defensive anger by even the mildest questioning.

    Why does it continually dominate discussion of WW2 tanks?
    Good reasons? Or another example of Signal magazine & silly-bugger-Goebbels still winning some sort of propaganda war 70+ years later?

  2. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    A heavyweight bout always gets far more attention than the welterweights. Especially with the dwarf being the Don King of his day.
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  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There's a mention of Tigers vs. Tigers in this... but it's just something incidental ;-) not a fixation as such... :) Tigers pretty rare "beasts" :)

    7880500 Sgt.B.Symes
    Sherwood Rangers


    My dear Phyl,

    This evening we have been listening to the fight between Nel Taleton and Al Phillips. It was good listening and we enjoyed every round of it. I ran a book and had bets total 25 Guilders on Nel Talerton and 40 Guilders on Phillips so I cleared 15 Guilders. There were eight of us listening and I don’t know that we weren’t as excited as the commentator. It was so amazing, to think Talerton is 39.

    I expected a letter this evening but the post was small so I expect it was just the sweepings.

    By the news there is an extraordinary lot of bombers over Germany recently. I wonder they can tolerate it. What relief it will be for everyone when it is finished. It is hard to understand why they…

    P2…don’t make some sort of effort to overthrow their maniac bosses before their whole country is reduced to ruins.
    We had three bottles of whiskey and one and a half of gin, six of us saw them off in three evenings, quite comfortably.
    I have written and posted a letter to Rob.

    The news that Turkey has declared war on Germany has just been given. If nothing else they will upset the German morale and they can put in a million men which is something, at least to overrun the country. We shall have to wait and see where they strike. I believe they have some German Tiger tanks, Tigers V. Tigers should be a good fight.

    I have just been grinding some coffee, it smells a treat. One of the boys went…

    …on leave and brought some back ready ground but it’s not as good.
    That reminds me, in the Times there was a letter that puts over the case for leave very well, we are all pleased with it, it’s a pity it wasn’t written before. I’ll enclose it if I remember.
    The housing business in Parliament would be amusing if it didn’t show how we are still in the hands of the people with money. They had better get a move on or we shall be seeing thousands of old shacks being put up by everyone who has a piece of land.
    I hope the parcel has arrived. The radio is playing Dream Lover, nice too.
    I haven’t posted the stamp album, it’s not worth it.
    I have tried to get a pair of shoes but although there are a few places I haven’t yet succeeded, but it won’t be for the want of trying.
    By the way I have about £15 in credit so if I can get a form I’ll get it sent.

    How are you managing to clothe our Janet? Hope she is OK. Don’t worry about Rob, just warn him he’ll have an uphill journey with me if he doesn’t alter for the better. He wants someone to interest him and give him an outlet for his energies.

    That’s the lot for this time my dear. So I’ll send a kiss to Rob and Janet and some to you my sweet from your loving husband Ben.
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  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I think the big draw with Tigers is that they epitomize scary Nazi German-ness. People are compelled to watch a Tiger being driven around, just as they would be compelled to see a real, live Velociraptor. It's something powerful and dangerous from the past that can now be enjoyed in a safe, domesticated context. If you view Bovington as basically Jurassic Park, then the Tiger is the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    The awesomeness of the Tiger is therefore double - it is big and powerful, but it was also used by the "baddies". If either one of those conditions do not apply e.g. the Panzer II or the IS-2, then the appeal is significantly diminished. If I was being particularly mordant and cynical, I would describe the Tiger as Auschwitz on tracks.
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  5. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Having been on, in, and around 131 I cannot see the fascination of many with the damn thing. I felt privileged to be invited to see it whilst it was being rebuilt but the vehicle itself holds no special place for me.

    A young granddaughter's modern parlance describes most of the interest that surrounds the Tiger as "a fan-boy thing", which I just don't get at all. Cult is perhaps the wrong word but the aura surrounding the Tiger has been built from the get go (Die Tigerfiebel?) and continued ever since.

    Well armoured, well armed, poor drivetrain and engine, a maintenance pain in the backside (that from one of the chaps who was working on the rebuild no less).

    And, if I could have the choice of any one inanimate object to own from The Second World War the Tiger would not be it, but for some it's always been a photo opportunity too good to miss!

    Kind regards, always,


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
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  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I think that your grand daughter is right it's all part of the 3rd Reich fan club that thinks all German WW2 weapons inherently superior to those of the Allies and if only they could have got the 1946 batch of wonder weapons into service they could have won. Mainly to be found in the USA but as one of my Irtish cousins says "there's eejuts all over the world".
  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Underlying that view is the ongoing myth about the quality of German engineering. The fact that the Tiger, and Panther, were too expensive, too complex and ultimately unreliable is generally ignored. As one historian noted, "the best way to kill a Tiger was to make it move".
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  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  9. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    They also ignored the economic realities. The manufacture of the . Tiger and the Panther required the use of large sophisticated machine tools. Germany had no problem in manufacturing these and indeed prior to 1941 sold large numbers to the USSR but such machines use tungsten tipped tool bits in large numbers and the Allies either owned or controlled most sources of the metal
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  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Nah. We know American weapons were inherently superior.
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  11. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

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  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Matt Helm had one of them :)
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  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Tiger....RAM which has been honed over the years but these dimensions of design were well known to wartime engineers whose priority was reliability,availability and maintainability dovetailed into production capability.But German tank designers were never able to manufacture tanks with a high availability return.Tanks were dogged by mechanical failures...designs were regarded as over engineered requiring an appropriate high level of maintenance and skills.

    In the case of German tank development,Hitler always had a interfering and guiding hand to new technology and had his favourite engineer in Porsche, as was his philosophy in the dynamic control of events on the battlefield.....he always maintained his Great War battlefield experience was greater than his Wehrmacht generals.

    The RAF could have been in the same situation in choosing the Vulture engine for both the Halifax and Manchester.It was only the appreciation that Vulture production would be too demanding and the decision to adopt the Merlin engine for the Halifax instead of the Vulture was made. Avro persevered with the Vulture on the Manchester until mechanical failures/adverse availability forced an engine change to the Merlin when the Lancaster design emerged.

    But above all, regarding war production output, the German war economy could not compete with that of the western Allies and the Russians as the war progressed.
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  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Did anyone else read this back in 1980something ?

    Tiger James Rouch.jpg
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Nope (Despite a strong teen Sven Hassel habit), but can you imagine a tankish presumably schlock novel from the period called 'PERSHING', or 'A10 CRUISER'...

    Seems unlikely, though I'm now hoping to be surprised.

    A thought occurs that Hassel might not have helped with the cultural bonus German WW2 stuff gained. Though the covers were usually Mk.IVs if a tank featured.

    Presumably I'm far from alone in having read Kurowski's shitty books 'Panzer Aces'.
    I know I've said it a lot but they really do read like a form of Third Reich Barbara Cartland.
    The very phrase 'Tank Aces' lingers around tales of Nazi soldiers in a way that it doesn't for any other participant nation.
    I keep going back to the long term effect of Signal propaganda being stronger than some might care to admit.

  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    He did this one about the Desert war.
    I think they started off in an A9.
    At one point they crewed a portee.
    Not many war novels mention those.
    War machines.png
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Crusader might have made a good title
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  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Interesting statistic on wartime period of 1940-1945 tank production,apart from the Russians

    The US built 88.276 armoured vehicles of all types....Lend Lease of the M4 Sherman allocated was 22.098 tanks.
    Great Britain built 24.803 armoured vehicles of all types.
    The Germans built 24360 armoured vehicles of all types.
  19. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Given that the Canadian War Museum states that Canada built 45,710 armoured vehicle of all types something is odd - I can't believe that Canada built almost as many as Britain and Germany combined!
    By 1945 Canada's war production was fourth among the Allied nations, less only than that of the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. Only some 30% of this was needed for Canada's armed forces: the remainder went overseas (see aircraft production and shipping and shipbuilding). Another of the most important was the mass production of 815,729 military vehicles, including 45,710 armoured vehicles. Canadian-made vehicles were crucial in equipping the British Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy. Canada also produced rifles, submachine guns, light machine guns, antitank guns and antiaircraft guns, as well as the multipurpose 25-pounder artillery piece.
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  20. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I'm guessing Windsor, Ontario was involved somehow. Windsor is part of the greater Detroit metropolitan area and has a lot of car plants. It is actually south of Detroit, which is kind of neat.

    Google Maps
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