The Panzerkampfwagen V and VI were medium and heavy tanks respectively. Their development was influenced by experiences made during the war.


The Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther"

In November 1941 MAN and Daimler Benz were requested to develop a tank that would be at least equal the Russian T-34 and Kv-1 tanks. In July 1942 the MAN draft was selected and production started in December 1942 as Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther" with a long 7.5 cm gun.

The first production model, the Ausführung D, was however afflicted with numerous technical problems and only from Mark A on (starting from August 1943) the “Panther” was a full success.

Up to end of the war about 6,000 “Panther” of the Marks D, A and G were built and it is, together with the Russian T-34/85, respected until today as the best medium battle tank of the Second World War.

A further, very successful model on basis of the “Panther” chassis was the “Jagdpanther”, which was armed with an 8.8 cm PaK [short for Panzerabwehrkanone, the German word for antitank gun].

At the end of the war there were plans for further models (“Panther” Ausf. F and “Panther” II) as well as an AAA tank ("Coelian").


The Panzerkampfwagen VI "Tiger" and “Koenigstiger”

The Panzer VI "Tiger" [Same word in German and English] is probably the most well-known German tank of the Second World War. Its development already began 1937, with competitive models of Henschel and Porsche. In the summer 1942 the Henschel prototype was then selected for production.

The “Tiger” had a turret made by Krupp with an 8.8 cm gun, weighed 65 tons and its armor was up to 100 mm strong.

The “Tiger” saw its first combat in August 1942 at Leningrad. However, the employment was a total failure due to unfavorable terrain and technical problems. At the end of the day a nearly intact “Tiger” fell into the hands of the Russians. It wasn’t before December 1942 when the “Tiger” had its first successful employments in North Africa, where it started to get its myth of being invincible.

In reality however the “Tiger” was a tank which was afflicted during its entire production time by technical problems (mainly transmissions and engine). Despite of those problems the “Tiger” tanks destroyed about 10.000 enemy tanks. Altogether approximately 1,300 Tigers were built until August 1944. The only considerable Variant of the Tiger was the “Sturmtiger” [“Assault-Tiger”], which was armed with a 38cm rocket mortar to fight enemy fortifications.

Since Porsche had already begun with the production of chassis for its own Tiger draft, these were built partially to battle tanks “Tiger (P)” and to tank destroyers “Ferdinand” (later “Elefant” [“Elephant”]).

In May 1941 planning began for a heavy battle tank that should take the place of the “Tiger”. In 1942 Henschel and Porsche were requested to submit designs. In October 1943 the Henschel draft was chosen for production. The tank was built starting in January 1944 under the name Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B “Tiger II”, but became famous under the name "Koenigstiger" [“Kingtiger”]. With a long-barreled 8.8 cm gun, a weight of 68 tons and armor up to 180 mm the Kingtiger was the most formidable tank that saw action in the Second World War.

Due to allied bombardments of the German factories and the fuel shortage towards the end of the war the success of the Kingtiger was however reduced. Altogether only approximately 490 Kingtiger were finished until the end of war.

On basis of the chassis of the Kingtiger the tank destroyer "Jagdtiger" [“Huntingtiger”] was developed although it more resembled a moving bunker.

The Models:


PzKpfW VI Ausf. E

PzKpfW VI Ausf. B

Jagdtiger (Henschel)
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