Tank Craft #31: Tiger I & Tiger II Tanks - Last Battles in the East, 1945

Author/Artists: Dennis Oliver


Pen & Sword


$22.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 64 pages, softcover, 200 illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-5267-9122-6

This book from Pen & Sword's series on military vehicles concentrates on the Tiger I and Tiger II heavy tanks as operated on the Eastern Front during the last months of the war. These tanks were operated by the best units that were still viable and despite their technical superiority, they were unable to do much to stem the Red Army in their push into Germany.

Germany never really had much in the way of a heavy tank prior to the start of the war. The few experimental vehicles proved to be cumbersome and not very useful. It wasn't until they came up against the Soviet heavy KV tanks that a real effort was put forth to develop a useful heavy tank. Typical of many German tanks, these two tanks were technically superior to everything in their class, but suffered from overly complex systems and design, meaning that often small things would put the tanks out of action. They were also quite difficult to recover due to their weight. Unlike their opposition, which had fairly robust automotive components, the Tigers had to hauled into the battle area on trains. Nevertheless, they were impressive vehicles in their own right and were to be treated with caution by the enemy.

As is the case with a lot of the books in this series, we get a brief look at how each of the Army's armored divisions used the tank and their combat record. There is then a fairly large section of large profiles, often accompanied by a photo of the vehicle in question. Then we get to some feature model builds along with a rundown of kits and accessories that are available for the Tigers. It was nice to see one of these featuring a 1/48 scale version. These sections are by no means comprehensive but do cover most of what is currently available. This is followed by a brief section that helps one identify the major features of the tank as production proceeded.

These books where you have a mixture of history, camouflage and models are becoming more and more the norm. This one is well done, as are the other books in the series as they are by the same author. Well worth picking up.

June 2021

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