King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
Winter season 2014 / 2015
Assembly of all wheels and one track
A year ago we finished the insertion of the road wheel suspension arms, the goal this year was the finalisation of all wheels and tracks.
Again we realized that good things take a little bit longer …..
The assembly of the wheels and tapered roller bearings proceeded rather smooth. Each inner bearing of the two road wheel bearings needed to be heated to ca. 110 °C before adjusting them on their place on the wheel arm. Afterwards the wheel, the outer bearing and finally the cap were fixed.
It is a pretty sight with fixed sprocket (the Tiger looks great as well):
After having been disassembled many years ago the track segments which consisted of up to 15 links were stored on pallets. After years of hardly being moved we now discovered that many links didn’t move at all.
Trying to loosen segment by segment with a blow torch was very strenuous job. Nonetheless many track pins didn’t move out again. In such cases we left the track pin in its place and only welded a securing ring with a locking pin onto the track for optical reasons.
We are confident that the track pins will not move out during the limited running times to come.
Initially it was intended to leave the armor hull resting on its four wooden blocks even with the tracks mounted. In order to relieve tension for the tracks, Willy, our team leader wanted to insert two more links, which would later again be removed. Willy views things predominantly through rational pragmatic glasses and fails to notice the aesthetical part of it. Looking at it with the additional two links we shook our heads and it didn’t take much to persuade Willy to remove the links again. Not only this: We also removed the wooden blocks.
And so, after almost 8 years, the Tiger is standing again on … hmmh ….. at least one of his own feet..
Parallel to the work on the suspension, work in the armor hull continued. The lubrication points of the two rear shock absorbers still had to be connected to the central lubrication system.
We received the new cover plates for the lower spaces left and right of the engine bay with the two lower tanks and the shock absorbers. All threads needed to be reworked.
Johnny prepared a template for an inscription of directives for railway transportation. Unfortunately the entire wording is lost and we know only the upper three of total four lines.
We are grateful for any hint in this matter.
Suspensions in comparison:
The Panthers and the first Tiger I until ca. February 1944 featured a suspension with interleaved wheels. Both were different in number and arrangement of the wheels, relating to the different weight of the vehicles.
The interleaved suspension allowed a more even distribution of the entire weight on the tracks. A major disadvantage in the Russian campaign with its muddy landscapes in winter were blocked suspensions from frozen mud in the spaces between the road wheels.
The first 250 Tiger I featured road wheels with surrounding rubber liners. The high vehicle weight led to rapid wear. Since rubber supply was short a change was made to a so-called rubber-saving suspension with full metal double-disc wheels with a rubber cushion between the discs. This rubber cushion was not prone to wear. Running, though, was rougher and track strain was higher.
The King Tiger featured an overlapping suspension with 9 sets of double-disc steel wheels on both sides. The outer wheels were dropped, probably for weight saving reasons for the anyhow overweighted tank, but traded in for other problems: It led, e.g. to an uneven load of the suspension arms on the one side, resulting in a movement of the wheels, and bending track pins on the other side.
From a retrospective point of view there was no ideal suspension for the Tiger. Each one had its individual merits and disadvantages.