Book Review
Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank
Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank Battalions 1942-1945
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This book covering Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank Battalions 1942-1945 is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subject matter mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information. It is often said that the Allies called nearly every tank a Tiger when they came across them, this title provides a clearer idea of just how few there really were.

The following portion of the introduction is provided from the publisher:
With rare, often unpublished photographs and full captions Hitler’s Heavy Tank Battalions provides a superb record of the Wehrmacht’s Schwere Panzerableilung on operations between 1942 and 1945. In addition to the Tiger I and successor Tiger II heavy tanks, these battalions were equipped with Pz.Kpfw III’s, Flakpanzer IV, Sd. Kfz 7/1 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, Sd.Kfz 9 and 10 halftracks, Sd.Kfz 2 and Kettenkrad gun tractors. The Tigers required substantial maintenance and the Berge Panther armoured recovery vehicle played a key role.

Heavy tank battalions saw action on the Eastern Front, in Italy and North West Europe before being pushed back to Berlin for the final defensive battles and there are graphic photographs and descriptions of vehicles on operations in all these theatres. While feared by the Allies in the early years, these units suffered increasing attrition from anti-tank artillery, ground attack aircraft and mechanical issues. Modellers and equipment buffs in particular will find this latest Images of War book extremely useful and fascinating.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank Battalions 1942-1945 has been authored by Ian Baxter, Ian Baxter has authored a good number of titles in this series of books concentrating on Germany during World War 2. The contents of this title are provided over 128 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
a brief history of the Panzerwaffe 1941-42
Chapter 1 – Eastern Front and North Africa 1942-43
Chapter 2 – Sicily and Eastern Front 1943
Chapter 3 - Eastern and Western Front 1944
Chapter 4 - Last Year of War 1944-45
Appendix 1 - Tiger Profiles
Appendix 2 - Tiger Tank Battalion History
Appendix 3 - Tiger Tank Battalion Markings
Appendix 4 - Tiger Tank Battalion Equipment
Appendix 5 - Organisational Structure of Heavy Panzer
Appendix 6 - Tiger Tank II Battalion 1944

The dedicated text in this offering is limited to a short introduction and background at the start of the various chapters. what the text does make clear is just how small a number of Tiger tanks were available and perhaps more accurately functional at any given time. I did find a grammatical error in the title where the word 'Russian' was used instead of 'Russia' so no big issues there and at the end of the day this is supposed to be a visual journey rather than the delight of the written word. With that said the small amount of text is worth taking the time to read as it contains some interesting snippets of information

The photographs in this offering are all period black and white offerings with very good captions that clearly explain who or what and where and when where possible. These images show some very interesting images of not just Tiger tanks but also of the support vehicles and other armour that travelled as part of a Battalion. I am particularly pleased to see Tiger tanks in all the main theatres of war. at the end of the title there are some appendices as listed above which should prove especially helpful to the modeller as details such as unit ID's and where they served and when will prove of interest to us all.

The period black and white photographs are very well captioned and have been well chosen for the clarity of them. I feel these images will best serve the modeller who wishes to depict a specific scene or setting; one that caught my eye was a Tiger one that had tried to cross a short wooden bridge and ended up with the back end stuck up against the back of the bridge in a dip and the front end on the other side of the bridge, I would like to see how that was recovered. The pictures show a good number of settings that I find appealing and possibly consider trying to replicate in miniature.


This offering from Pen and Sword should prove of great appeal to the modeller due to its primary content being on the Tiger 1 which is possibly the most modelled tank anywhere in the world. I like that the theatres where the Tiger 1 served is faithfully replicated here for your information and will I believe prove of particular interest to those modellers who like to place their models in a diorama. All told a great offering for the fans of the Tiger 1 and the units they served in, but not one for the heavy reader.
Darren Baker takes a look at another title in the Images of War series from Pen and Sword and this time it is the 'Hitler's Heavy Tiger Tank Battalions 1942-1945'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526747877
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  PUBLISHED: Mar 09, 2020

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Since I have some Tiger knowledge, I'll quickly comment on the sample pages in this article. I may review the entire book at a later date. The publisher promises "rare, often unpublished photographs". But in the five samples of the review, there are no Tiger photos new to me. On the book's cover, two of the photos clearly show Panthers! Sample 2: The lower photo is claimed to be January 1943. But in fact it's well established that this is 26 February. The caption says that Tigers were a "relief to the... Afrika korps". In fact the Afrika Korps had no Tigers. The Tigers in Tunisia all belonged to Panzerarmee 5, in a different country to the Afrikakorps. They did meet up at the very end. Sample 3: A caption claims that "PnKpfw.IV, especially during the latter part of the war, were often found in Tiger battalions..." Well, I can't say categorically that this is untrue, but it would certainly surprise me. Despite looking at thousands of Tiger photos, I have not seen Pz.IV with them "often". Nor do I recall Pz.4 being mentioned in Tiger battle reports "often". (Panzer Regiment 7 in Tunisia is a notable exception.) The photo for this caption shows some Pz.IV but I see no reason to think that they're in a Tiger battalion! David
MAR 10, 2020 - 11:49 AM
Hello David. I too have found the occasional (and sometimes occasionally more) factual or descriptive error in these books, and while I appreciate photos that I might not have seen, I have little patience with sloppy identifiers or simply factual errors casually committed and passed off as "facts". If this is the case in this book I'll give this one a pass; it is not like I'm short on quality reference material already. I can vividly recall one so-called reference source that identified Rommel and the 7th Panzer serving on the Eastern Front no less! Or a row of mid-Tigers purportedly on the way to the battle at Kursk, etc.
MAR 10, 2020 - 12:08 PM

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