Even though the Panzerkamfwagen VI Tiger heavy tank was only used in relatively small numbers during WWII, its fearsome reputation and sinister appearance ensured it is regarded as the most famous tank of the Second World War. Another tank developed as a result of Wehrmacht experiences on the Eastern Front, the Tiger may not have shared the cultured appearance of the Panther, but this was a war machine pure and simple and one which was devastatingly effective on the battlefield. Heavily armoured and equipped with the powerful 88mm gun, the sighting optics on the Tiger were so effective that enemy tanks could be destroyed at great distances and well before they were in range to return fire. By the time of the D-Day landings, the reputation of the Tiger was already assured, but even though they managed to inflict heavy losses on Allied armoured units, their small numbers were swamped by an overwhelming tide of Allied armoured numerical superiority. Unable to control the battlefield, damaged and unserviceable Tigers were simply abandoned to be captured by advancing Allied troops.
Spz.Abt.502 Heavy Tank Battalion is distinguished by the fact that it was the first to deploy the new Tiger 1 in combat. Formed in August 1942, the battalion arrived at the Leningrad front and soon began to use its Tigers in battle. The turret carries the unit’s famous mammoth insignia.