King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
2018 Summer season
Works in the hull and sand blasting the turret
Modifying our initial plans to utilize only the rear top fuel tank which is used as the filling point we eventually decided that a fuel volume of only 50 liters would be too little even for limited operation of the Tiger and the that volume would last for little more than the warm-up, thus would make frequent re-filling necessary.
Therefore we have included also the bottom fuel tank on the left underneath the fan unit with a direct line from the filling tank to the second tank and further directly to the gas filter. For pressure equilibration we laid an additional vent line. The original vent system includes the upper left fuel tank and we passed that volume by as our goal was to involve as little gas volume as possible.
Furthermore we manufactured the lines for the transmission oil cooling system and have installed them preliminarily. The line from the transmission and the return line start at the bottom left of the driving gear and run parallel backward up and above the right fighting compartment fuel tank container through the firewall and from its backside along the upper rim of the engine compartment to the cooling water reservoir. In there the transmission oil is cooled by running through a spirally line immersed in the cooling water.
Our Tiger appears to be the only one to be equipped with such a system. I am not aware of it being used on any other of the remaining tanks or of hints in respective literature which point to a one-time conversion or permanent change from a certain model onward as is the case for the official instruction for the modification of the mechanical to hydraulic clutch operation from august 1944.
The artistic bends along the firewall were a real challenge for someone who did that the first time
The biggest project of his summer was the sandblasting of the turret and its components turret ring, gun shield, barrel cradle and commanders cupola. Recoil cylinder and recuperation cylinder were missing on our tank but we could use the ones mounted on a Jagdpanther gun which we own for many years. Both parts have been removed sand blasted at the same time.
As far as the turret ring is concerned it was important to protect the ball treats from blast impact and as well the gear ring should be blasted only where it was attacked by corrosion.
All in all it worked out well and the most strenuous was sweeping up the blast sand which spread wide in front of the museum hall.
After a long hazzle we eventually found a specialized company which was willing to take care of the transmission unit after a first group which already has begun the disassembly has quit he job for 'political' reasons.
The problem about projects like this one is that it usually doesn't fit into the workflow of known or standard operations and many companies are not willing to invest or simply don't have time, stuff and capacity for work in addition to the daily routine.
The happier we are now to have found a bunch of transmission specialists which is enthusiastic, capable and flexible enough for that challenge. The driving gear in the meanwhile is entirely disassembled. Apart from the hydraulic steering units which have suffered from gummed oil all inner parts presented themselves in an unexpectedly good condition. The toothed wheels, bearings and other components showed as good as no rust and wear. The biggest problem in times was the removal of backed and gummed grease residues from the hardly accessible niches of the extensive shell.
Those findings support the assumption that our Tiger has seen little if no combat and possibly may have been more a test vehicle than a combat vehicle.
See also the picture gallery 'Transmission'.