Pen & Sword's Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank Batallions 1942-45

Author/Artists: Ian Baxter


Pen & Sword


$22.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 126 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-52-6747871

Pen & Sword have chosen an interesting title for one of their latest books. This one is onTiger tank battalions during the operational period of these tanks. The Tiger was Germany's first production heavy tank. It was initially deployed to the Leningrad sector in 1942. More units were to be sent there, but in late 1942, the situation in North Africa became such that two battalions were eventually sent to Tunisia. While the tanks performed very well and proved to be quite a shock to Allied tank forces, they were simply too few and arrived too late to be of any real help to an already fairly decimated Afrika Korps.

Tiger battalions were instrumental in holding back the Allies in Sicily as well, allowing Axis forces to escape to the mainland. However, their main use was in the Soviet Union, where they proved to be able to defeat everything that the enemy had to put against them. Were everything to be equal, they would have overwhelmed the battlefield. However, there were several factors working against these units. One is that the Tigers needed well trained crews. With weights of about 57 tons, the tanks were hard on transmissions and required careful drivers. This weight also was a limitation in regards to bridges, few of which were truly safe with that sort of weight. Getting spare parts was always an issue with the German Army in the east as supply lines were long and often under attack.

In the end, the Tiger was unable to perform its main role, which was a breakthrough tank during offensive operations. It was used in a defensive role for most of its operational life and during the even shorter life of its follow-on tank, the Tiger II or King Tiger.

This volume follows what has become a standard format for this series. It starts with a brief history of the development of the Tiger then is divided into several sections that cover various times and places during the war where the Tiger was used. Each smaller section has a few pages of introduction, but the vast majority of the book is photos. Since this is on Tiger battalions and not just the tank, there are photos of the other vehicles used by these battalions as well as the troops that were assigned to these units. This makes for a most interesting and well rounded book that is sure to please. Highly recommended.

July 2020

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