28 Images of Tiger 1 Wrecks

Jesse Beckett
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1805-12 / Scheck / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The thing that scared allied tankers the most during World War Two was the Tiger I. The Tiger had thick armor and an 88 mm gun capable of destroying a Sherman tank from over 3000 metres away.

As most Allied tanks needed to be within the hundreds of meters away to have a chance to penetrate the armor of a Tiger, fighting one was a dangerous task.

The original rather long winded name for the Tiger I was the Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H or E depending on the variant. Ferdinand Porsche (founder of the car brand) gave the tank the nickname Tiger. After the introduction of the Tiger II, the Roman numeral I was added to the Tiger I.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1805-12 / Scheck / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1805-12 / Scheck / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Tiger I was first used in North Africa in 1942, and they would continue to serve in many places until the end of the war.

The fear the Tiger put into Allied crews meant they experienced ‘Tiger  fever’. This was where any enemy tank spotted was reported to be a Tiger. This however is highly unlikely as only 1,247 Tiger Is were built during the war, compared to 50,000 Shermans.

Even though production stopped in 1944, the fearsome Tiger could comfortably handle any tank fielded by the Allies throughout the entire war, and in some cases tanks made afterwards. They were not perfect though, as their complex engineering and heavy weight led to slow production and break downs in the field. The complexity also made them hard to fix without a full maintenance depot.

They also consumed large amounts of fuel, not a good thing for a country rapidly running out of this precious wartime commodity.

The only running Tiger I. Image by Toshonenov CC BY-SA 4.0
The only running Tiger I. Image by Toshonenov CC BY-SA 4.0

Once the war ended, many Tigers were simply cut up for scrap, meaning very few remain; only 7.

Only one of these, Tiger 131, runs. Tiger 131 lives at The Tank Museum, Bovington, in the United Kingdom, and was used in the 2015 movie “Fury”.

This Tiger is historically significant, as it was the first Tiger to be captured intact by British forces when the crew abandoned it in Tunisia in 1943. Up until that point, German crews had followed strict orders to completely sabotage Tiger tanks in order to prevent their capture and subsequent inspection. At the point Tiger 131 was captured, this type of vehicle was essentially still a top secret weapon.

The capture of 131 removed the veil of the unknown about this new tank, and provided invaluable intelligence to the Allies. The fate of the crew remain unknown, with a note in the crew’s unit diary simply saying: “Crew members of Tiger 131 panic and abandon the tank after two harmless hits from a Churchill.” The extensive damage that can still be seen on the tank seems to give good reason for abandoning the tank however.

Tiger 131 after capture in Tunisia, 6 May 1943
Tiger 131 after capture in Tunisia, 6 May 1943

A 6pdr shell struck the under side of the 88 mm gun, deflected down into the bottom of the gun mantlet and lodging into the turret ring. This was a critical blow to the tank, as it jammed the turret preventing it from traversing. A tank unable to aim its gun is as good as dead.

This shot also sent shrapnel inside the tank, reportedly destroying the radio. It is also theorized this could have injured the driver and radio operator.

A second 6pdr shot hit the right turret lifting lug, and a third impacted the open loaders hatch, potentially injuring more crew inside.

Tiger in Florence area, Italy
Tiger in Florence area, Italy

 

American Soldiers Passing by Destroyed Tiger Tanks in Tunisia
American Soldiers Passing by Destroyed Tiger Tanks in Tunisia

 

Knocked out Mk VI Tiger tank at Belpasso, Sicily,
Knocked out Mk VI Tiger tank at Belpasso, Sicily,

 

A late variant Tiger 1
A late variant Tiger 1

 

Massive explosion to lift the turret off like that
Massive explosion to lift the turret off like that

 

Looks like the engine deck is blown off
Looks like the engine deck is blown off

 

Destroyed in Tunisia
Destroyed in Tunisia

 

Tiger of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504, Ponte Dirillo Sicily
Tiger of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504, Ponte Dirillo Sicily

 

Doesn’t looked damage – broken down?
Doesn’t looked damage – broken down?

 

British troops inspecting a knocked out Tiger
British troops inspecting a knocked out Tiger

 

Range target?
Range target?

 

Major explosion
Major explosion

 

The feared Tiger in Italy?
The feared Tiger in Italy?

 

Either being recovered or victim of a bombardment
Either being recovered or victim of a bombardment

 

508, Villa Bonnaza Italy
508, Villa Bonnaza Italy

 

Total destruction
Total destruction

 

Blown off turret or is the tank underneath?
Blown off turret or is the tank underneath?

 

GIs inspect two Tigers
GIs inspect two Tigers

 

Was an open field tank
Was an open field tank

 

Huge forces to throw this Tiger up in the like this
Huge forces to throw this Tiger up in the like this

 

Seems to have been in that position for a long time
Seems to have been in that position for a long time

 

Serious battle damage
Serious battle damage

 

Vimoutiers Tiger
Vimoutiers Tiger

 

 

Looks like the eastern front
Looks like the eastern front

 

 

Barrel cut/blown off?
Barrel cut/blown off?

Another Article From Us: 40+ Images of Knocked out M4 Sherman tanks

 

Two tigers in this crater
Two tigers in this crater