- Tiger’s first steps, near St-Petersburg, august 29th 1942
- [SPzAbt 502 “100”]
- Mga, near St-Petersburg, Russia. August 29th 1942
Because of what happened in a French forest, Germany had a massive inferiority complex, and thus little small tanks. Well, someone was about to make a change. Unfortunately this someone knew little about making tanks. The original specifications were beefed up to suit a Führer with a small penis and a penchant for Wagnerian music. It was great. It was beautiful – in a manly sort of way. It was utterly obsolete by the time it left the factory. Amen.
Admitted – they were serious pieces of frightening iron. Big (and very good) gun, armour plates thicker than Ahnuld Schwarzenegger’s head, big howling engine… hey, nice toy. No diesel, though, nor sloped armour, sufficient cooling, decent electrics… Oh, and they had to secure the turret if they wanted to drive around, turning their fancy Panzer into a big Sturmgeschütz. Anyway. [/rant over]
The first ones were sent east, still heavily under development. All had different exhaust systems, the turret bins were utterly improvised. Some Henschel guy (Hans Franke) even came along with a few trucks of spare parts and mechanics to look after the vehicles. At Mga, southeast of St. Petersburg, they were offloaded (see photo) and sent in to action. A Major Richard Merkel, commander of 1. Zug, sPzAbt 502, took along a couple of older tanks for support and went towards Sinyavino where they were shot at by Russian artillery. Major Merkel ordered his tanks to attack after which the first Tiger broke down, its transmission gone. The second’s engine seized up minutes later and Franke tried to repair it. Merkel came by, said not to bother – the third one had broken down too and they were going back. Some SdKfz 9’s towed the broken Tigers back to base.
They had to use three (3) Sd’s per Tiger. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of these trucks but they’re huge. Even by today’s standards, I mean gargantuan. And they had to use three! My goodness.