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Tiger I - Early Production

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Tiger I

German industry first began working on heavy tank designs in 1937. When the German Panzers in Russia encountered the Soviet T-34's and KV-1's in 1941 it was all too apparent that a new heavy tank was needed. Ultimately, this resulted in a specification for a 45-ton tank with an 88mm gun, heavy armor, speed and manuverability.

Production was ordered to start in August 1942. It began at a rate of 25 tanks per month and peaked in April 1944 at a rate of 104 per month. It took 300,000 man hours to build one Tiger, almost twice as much time as a Panther required. The design program had been known as the Tigerprogram and in March of '42 the Germans began referring to the panzer as the Tiger.

The early production Tigers had rather tall commander cupolas which used bullet proof glass as its vision ports. Other visible characteristics were a top opening commander’s hatch, smoke dischargers on the turret sides, rubber rimmed road wheels, dual headlights and Feifel air cleaners.



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