In the south of England there is a small community called Bovington and there is one of the world’s largest tank museum. World War I developed the technical warfare that had begun in the first world war. But it was only during the second world war that both tanks and aircraft gained the notoriety that they did not have in the first world war. Aircraft such as the English Spitfir, Japanese Zeron, German Messerschmitt and the american Mustang have given places in history. It also has the American tank Sherman, the Soviet T-34:an, the, the German Panther but no one has perhaps achieved such notoriety and dread as the German tank Tiger I (Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausfuhrung H).

Tiger I had an armor that the enemy tanks had difficulty penetrating from distance. The 88 mm cannon of the tiger, on the other hand, could easily knock out enemy armor at the same distance. The tiger’s thick armor and powerful cannon, however, was at the expense of its speed and mobility and that it was extremely fuel thirsty. Tiger I was first manufactured in 1942 and was first used at the Leningrad front in autumn 1942. Only 1,355 were produced between 1942 and 1945. This can be compared to the Soviet T-34:an which at the end of 1945 had been produced in as many as 57,000 copies. Despite its numerical disadvantage, the Tiger was feared on all fronts. A battle between a Tiger in a tank and several T-34s resembled a battle between an angry bull (Tigern) and a pack of wild dogs (T-34). The Tiger knocked out several T-34s, but the numerical superiority of the latter often led to the Tiger being forced to flee or being defeated by the ferocious T-34s.

Current status: Museum (2008).

Address: Linsay Rd, Bovington, Wareham BH20 6JG.

Get there: Train to Wool then bus to the museum.

My comment:

In several places in Europe, there are both T-34:or and Sherman’s erected at cemeteries, museums or other places as a form of memorial monument. In the case of Tiger I, there are only seven left that can be visited, albeit in varying condition and sometimes a hoplock of several tigers. In addition to Bovington, there are two in Moscow, two in France, one in Australia and the United States. Another one or a few jumps are likely to be found at private collectors in the United States. Although I am not interested in the history of armour, there is something special about the Tiger that feels fascinating, exciting and mythical. Something that makes me unable to deny that there is a military romantic inside me that is brought to life every time I approach a Tiger.

Bovington’s Tiger was captured in Tunisia in April 1943 and had been defused in battle with an English churchill tank. It was later taken to England where it remained standing for a long time. But in 2003 it was repaired for about 2.5 million Swedish kronor to runable condition. The Tiger tank is just one of several tanks at the museum, but there is probably no doubt who is the main attraction.

Follow up in books: Spielberger, Walter J: Tigers I and II and Their Variants (2007).