King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal


Technical details




























































King Tiger with pre-series turret (Porsche-turret)                                                                                                 Source: U. Feist / Schwere Panzer in Detail






























































King Tiger with production turret / Henschel turret                                                                                              Source: U. Feist / Schwere Panzer i Detail





There were two types of turret mounted on the King Tiger: The first 50 vehicles had a turret which is commonly referred to as Porsche-turret, while the regular production turret, also called Henschel-turret, was used until the end. Both turrets were not interchangeable without modifications due to different turret connectors.


Three major disadvantages ultimately lead to the Porsche-turret being stopped:


  1. The appr. 10 cm high gap between hull and lower turret edge can act as a projectile gap and cause turret immobility in case of a hit of the turret ring area.
  2. The rounded turret walls, particularly around the exposed commander cupola were prone to cracks in the steel during rolling. The problem became more severe due to shortage of necessary alloy metals to make an appropriate steel.
  3. A larger facial area compared to the production turret.


A welcomed side effect was the possibility to load 84 rounds with the production turret compared to 72 rounds with the pre-series turret.


The turret consists of the following components:


  • Turret and turret ring                                 Electrical equipment
  • Gun shield                                                   Close defence weapon
  • Internal travel lock                                      Ammunition racks
  • Machine gun mount                                   Crew seats
  • Ammunition supply and shell discharge  Compressor
  • Gun sight                                                     Rear hatch
  • Periscope mount                                        Loader’s hatch
  • Turret traverse drive                                  Commander’s cupola
  • Elevation mechanism                                 Firing circuit





Initially the tanks were factory-painted dark yellow / RAL 7028 to receive individual camouflage pattern with red-brown / RAL 8017 and olive green / RAL 6003 by the troops.

Starting in august 1944 the cars got a three-tone pattern of these colors at the factory.

From September 1944 on the cars came without Zimmerit. The basic color was now red-brown / RAL 8017 with patterns of dark yellow / RAL 7028 and olive green / RAL 6003.

Starting in march 1945, the basic color was olive green / RAL 6003. Patterns of dark yellow / RAL 7028 and red-brown / RAL 8017 were added with sharp contours.

Supplied parts may have come in different tones.




































                                                                                                                                                                          Source: U. Feist / Schwere Panzer in Detail



The sloped front and side plates were a considerable improvement to Tiger I. They were influences from experiences with the T 34 and Panther.





Motor: Maybach HL 230 P 30


This engine, a Maybach HL 230 P 30,  was initially used in the Panthers and later in the King Tigers and Jagdtigers.


It is a V 12 with 60° cylinder angle and a cast iron block and cylinder heads, dry sump lubrication aluminium pistons in wet cylinder liners and one camshaft per cylinder head with overhead valves.

The crankshaft was 1029 mm long and weighted 88,2 kg.

Two membrane gas pumps supplied four Solex 52 JFF 11D-carburetors with gas.


The engine had a permanent power of ca. 600 hp at 2500 rpm and ca. 700 hp at ca. 3000 rpm. It was governed at 2500 rpm as standard.






















                                                                                                                                                                          Source: Culver & Feist:  Schwere Panzer in Detail


The engine could be started on three different ways:


  1. Bosch starter motor
    This method was typically used at warm weather and warm engine.


    2. Bosch inertia starter 
        Two persons turn the flywheel of the engine with a hand crank. A spring mechanism interrupts traction when the engine is

        running. This is the way to start very cold engines.


    3. External starter engines
        An external engine can rotate the crankshaft directly via a flangeable shaft. In operation situations this could have been done

        by e.g. a truck or a Kübelwagen.


Electrical Equipment:


Components of the electrical system:


  • Alternator with governor
  • Starter motor
  • Accumulators:  2 x 12 V / 150 AH
  • Fuses:   8 x 15 A, 2 x 40 A.
  • Accumulator heatings: Two bottom plate heaters with 100 W or 300 W each. The plates could be supplied externally.
  • Fire extinguisher: The electrically operated automatic fire extinguisher consisted of a container with ca. 3 l tetrachloromethane and 3 nozzles which sprayed on carburetors, gas pumps and starter motor when temperatures exceeded 120°C. A shock was 7 sec long and could be repeated if needed. The content lasted for ca. 10 shocks





Suspension components:


  • 18 road wheels, each wheel consists of two metal wheels  of 800 mm diameter and a rubber cushion in between. Per side 4 inner and 5 outer wheels

  • Two idler arms for track tensioning, eccentrically moved via a large

  • threaded shaft
    Two drive wheels with two sprockets each bolted on

  • 18 road wheel support arms, 9 in a pushing configuration on the left and pulling on the right

  • 18 torsion bars

  • 2 sets of cross-country tracks

  • 4 shock absorbers, oil filled



Gas tank system:


The gas tank system of the King Tiger comprised 7 tanks with a total volume of appr. 860 l. The filling was done through the tank at the highest position, located behind the engine. All tanks were connected with each other for filling and venting.

The entire volume was separated into three segments which could be selected individually by the driver with a mechanical rod behind the driver seat:


1. Main tank engine compartment:      2 tanks with ca. 145 l each between fans and side walls

                                                                 1 Tank with ca. 65 l beneath the right fan

                                                                 Filling tank with ca. 85 l.


2. Spare tank engine compartment:    1 Tank unter dem linken Lüfter mit ca. 80 l


3. Main tanks fighting compartment:  2 tanks with ca. 170 l


each in the fighting compartment





























                                                                                                                                                                          Source: T. Jentz, H. Doyle: Germany's Tiger tanks





The cross-country tracks of the King Tiger had a width of 800 mm in order to reduce the ground pressure to a reasonable value.

For rail transportation narrower transportation tracks needed to be put on because the wider tracks exceeded the maximum clearance width which allows rail car transportation.

Transportation tracks had a width of 660 mm. an experienced team was able to change a track with ca. 30 min.


Three different cross-country tracks were used for the King Tiger during its production time:


Initially the double-link cross-country track Gg 24/800/300 was used. Each link had an opening for a cog of the sprocket and a sprocket had 18 cogs.


Starting in may 1944 the double-link track Gg 26/800/300 was used. The connecting links didn’t have cog openings and the sprocket had only 9 cogs.


In November 1944 or march 1945 (two serious sources are incoherent) a switch again to a new single-link track Kgs 73/800/153 occurred.


The transportation tracks apparently never changed.

The cross-country tracks weighted 2.8 to 3.3 to. while the transportation weighted ca. 1.9 to.

Ground pressures was 1,02 kg/cm2 for the two-piece cross-country track and 1.23 kg/cm2 for the transportation tracks.



Gun 8,8 cm KwK 43 L/71:


The 8,8 cm anti-aircraft gun was modified to a tank gun and initially introduced in tank turrets for a precursor of the Tiger I. This type 8,8 cm KwK 36 /L56 was similar to the 7,5 cm long barrel gun of the Panther in terms of penetration power. A considerable improvement of penetration power was achieved with the long tube barrel 8,8 cm KwK 43 L/71.


The barrel  had a rifled length of 5151 mm with 32 rifles. Life expectancy of a barrel was ca. 6000 shots.


The penetration power of the 8,8 cm gun was legendary and was approached resp. surpassed only by the german 12,8 cm gun of the Jagdtiger and the 12,2 cm gun of the Joseph Stalin III. The latter had a much lower rate of fire.


The gun could fire armor-piercing rounds, explosive rounds and hollow charged rounds.


The armor-piercing shell 39/43, e.g., had a total weight of 22.8 kg with a total length of 1130 mm. The head had a weight of 10,2 kg and contained appr. 50 g explosive. The cartouche had a length of 822 mm, a diameter of 132 mm and contained 6.8 kg explosive material.