King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal



The story for us starts in September 2006, when the Swiss Military Museum received one of the last remaining Tiger II King Tiger as a permanent loan from the Swiss Army. The tank is currently in the process of being restored from scratch. Final goal is the drivability of the tank and movability of turret and barrel.
























The history of the Tiger II with the VIN 280215 is yet unknown to the largest extend. It has been built in mid 1944 at Henschel in Kassel-Mittelfeld and delivered to the Heavy Tank Unit 506 during 3rd and 12th September 1944. After that its track is lost.

The vehicle shows no traces of combat damage or wear of extensive use. The barrel has supposedly been blown by the crew in order to make the tank unusable for enemy troops. At the time an order was existing to make tanks which have to be abandoned for technical breakdown or running out of fuel unusable to the enemy. Many tanks were entirely blown by an on-bord charge, on others only the gun was destroyed.

The finding place of the tank after the war is unknown. It is known that the Heavy tank Unit 506 was called into action around Arnhem, then in the battle of the bulge and finally in the Ruhr area.

No photo of the tank could be found from this time. The blown barrel and further unique marks could be helpful for an identification. Any hint for the reconstruction of the history of the Tiger is welcome.

Unknown is as well how the Tiger found its way to Switzerland. Documentation began in the mid 50s on the former training area Thun, where it was used for recovery exercises and later is was displayed in the outdoor museum of the army base Thun, exposed to whether impact.



Two recovery tanks in a recovery excercise with the King Tiger in 1956.


Until 1976 the tank was painted only with anti-rust primer. The paints applied afterwards had no relation to the initial, unknown camouflage pattern.

















In 2007 the King Tiger was transferred to the Swiss Military Museum for restoration


Please see also our extensive picture gallery with photographs of the original status by the time of arrival.























What would we encounter when the turret is removed??


The absence of combat traces is a positive sign and suggests a low mileage and little utilization. This gives hope for a good condition of the sensitive parts like the reduction gears, the steering gear and the engine. On the other hand, 60 years outside will have certainly left its traces.

The findings with the beginning of the restoration work were not very pleasant. Even though engine, transmission and steering were still rather complete, several parts such as carburetors and air filters were missing and others like alternator and ventilators suffered from extensive corrosion.

The tank appears to have stood slightly sloped to the right because corrosion on the right hand side from standing water in the armor hull is stronger than on the left

Irretrievably lost were all items made from thin metal, such as gas tanks, ventilator blades cover and floor plates.






















The restoration work began in November 2007 in a section of the main Museum hall which provided for the interested visitors the possibility to watch the team at work and ask questions. The engine was in a pitiful condition and was handed over to a specialist immediately after removal.


Work became stagnant by 2010 until the successful removal of the idler arms boosted the works again: In mid 2012 the empty armor hull was sand blasted and corrosion primed. At the end of 2012 we declared the disassembly finished and started the re-assembly.


In the continuing process of the work many parts were reproduced, e.g. the radiators, the ventilators, tanks, metal sheets of all kind, the ammunition racks, track skirts etc. And repeatedly missing parts could be found: machine gun holders for the radioman’s place and for the commanders cupola, spare track links, two carburetors, the headlight, radio units with transformers.

Particularly noticeable is the finding of the long barrel piece, which has been blown on our tank. It was used as a post to tie boats at a river in Poland.


We are especially grateful to the company Luhn & Pulvermacher, Dittmann & Neuhaus, who had manufactured the torsion bars for german tanks already back in 1944 and supported us now in a tremendously generous way with the reproductions of the unusable bars.



It will not be boring!


You are welcome to join us by following the work in the picture gallery.

Naturally an immense operation like the restoration of an old tank permanently demands substantial financial recourses. The resourcing and reproduction of missing parts, but first of all the work on engine and transmission will be in the range of several hundred thousand CHF. In addition to the voluntary work done by the team, the work depends upon donations.


Individuals, who are willing to support the restoration of the Tiger, are invited to become a member in the ‘Team Königstiger’ with donations from 200,- CHF up to 5000,- CHF.


Any help is appreciated.