Jagdtiger – Tank Fighter
The base of the Jagdtiger was the chassis of the heavy tank Tiger II (also called Königstiger), on which was placed a massive fixed superstructure that carried armour and a gun of truly extraordinary parameters. A mock-up was demonstrated in October 1943, two prototypes were tested in February 1944 and mass production began in the summer. At first, the chassis used was from Porsche, but eventually switched to Henschel products.
The original designation of the vehicle was Panzerjäger Tiger, but later changed to the more familiar Jagdtiger. According to various sources, the armouries delivered between 77 and 88 production vehicles. The Jagdtiger had a huge 128mm anti-tank gun, initially a PaK 44, later a PaK 80, which had a magazine of about 40 rounds. It was a quite exceptional weapon, capable of destroying all Allied medium armoured vehicles at a distance of 4,000 m with penetrating shells, and at a distance of 1,500 m it could destroy all heavy machines.
Crew: 6 men
Weight: 72 t
Length: 10.65 m
Width: 3.6 m
Height: 2.8 m
Manoeuvring: up to 250 mm
Power unit: petrol Maybach HL 230
Engine power: 522 kW
Max. speed: 34 km/h
Range: 120 km
Main armament: 128mm PaK 44
Secondary armament: 2 × 7.92mm MG 34
The Jagdtiger, on the other hand, was an extremely difficult target for Allied anti-tank weapons, as its frontal armour was 250 mm thick. At the time, there was virtually no weapon that could penetrate such armour, even at zero range. Fortunately for the Allies, however, the seemingly unstoppable Jagdtiger had many shortcomings. It was very slow, had an extremely short range, and was not among the most reliable armor.
Only about twenty Jagdtigers were destroyed in combat, most of them being disabled by malfunctions or simply running out of gas. The Jagdtiger was clearly too slow and clumsy to „keep up with the tanks“, but as a defensive weapon it could cause considerable problems. Some of the Jagdtigers produced at the end of the war carried 88mm guns. As a replacement, armoured vehicles based on the E-series tanks were designed to carry even more powerful guns (up to 170 mm calibre), but these remained only on paper.