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The Tiger I,
is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly impressive Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, in its first armoured fighting vehicle-dedicated version, the (KwK 36). During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable.
While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, using expensive materials and labour intensive production methods. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and immobilizations, and limited in range by its high fuel consumption. It was, however, generally mechanically reliable, but expensive to maintain. It was also difficult to transport, and vulnerable to immobilization when mud, ice and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved road wheels in winter weather conditions, often jamming them solid. In 1944, production was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.
The tank was given its nickname "Tiger" by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H ('Panzer VI version H', abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 182, but the tank was redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943, with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.
Today, only a handful of Tigers survive in museums and exhibitions worldwide. The Bovington Tank Museum's Tiger 131 is currently the only one restored to running order.
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