bookTanks in Detail 5
PzKpfw VI Ausf E & B Panzer VI Tiger I & II

by Terry J Gander.
Published by Ian Allan Publishing.
Hersham, Surrey, KT12 5RG, England
Soft covers, 96 pages.

Review by Peter Brown

There can be few people interested in tanks who have not heard of Tigers, and there have been many books on them before now and maybe there will be more in future. This one is a good account of both series of Tigers, the original Tiger I and the later Tiger II, Royal Tiger or King Tiger. Their history is followed from early ideas and designs for "breakthrough tanks" which were spurred on when German tanks can up against foreign heavy tanks like the French Char B, British Matilda and Russian KV. Various competing designs were drawn up and some were built as prototypes before the final design, a mix of two rival products, was produced.

This Tiger I is described in detail with sections on transmission, suspension, engine, cooling and armament illustrated with wartime photos and modern ones taken during the restoration of the Bovington vehicle which is itself the subject of a regularly-updated web site The main variant of the Tiger I, the Sturmtiger, is covered with shots of a captured example including some interior views, and the unarmed, winch-equipped "Bergepanzer Tiger" gets a short mention and a couple of photos.

The next section of the book deals with the Tiger II though without as many detail shots or any interior ones. One wartime photo clearly shows the differences between the two turret types. Jadgtiger and the Porsche Tiger-based Elephant are also briefly covered as are late-war projects based on Tiger parts.

Finally there is a short account of Tigers in action which is not very detailed, and notes on markings with some descriptions, photos and colour paintings of specific Tiger markings alongside colour illustrations of Panzer division markings, turret numbers and Balkenkreuz variations. Apart from a few colour photos of Tigers in museums and collections, this is all the colour there is in the book.

Overall this is a good book, some photos have sections which are lost in the spine as they are printed across two pages but the biggest disappointment are the two sets of plans. These have been enlarged so much that the details become blurred, the muzzle brake of the Tiger I and whole sections of the Tiger II have been cut off to enable them to fit across the page. Other line drawings of projects and armour thicknesses are at least not spoiled in this way.

Not being a Tiger fan I do not have a stock of books to compare this with so I cannot comment on its accuracy or whether it has photos etc not seen elsewhere. It looks good enough and no doubt will be snapped up by old and new Tiger enthusiasts.

For information on ordering this book and others, see the web site.

Page created 12 August 2003

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