01 Mar 2016

You Start a Tiger Tank by Cranking it!

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Who knew?

“The inertia starter ” Schwungmasse ” works by rotating a heavy mass at speed, once it reaches 60rpm a lever is pulled below the hand cranking arm, this pushes the drive pinion onto the fly wheel, making the engine rotate and start.”

It’s a Panzerkampfwagen VI, the Tiger I, named by Ferdinand Porsche.

This one is Tiger 131:

On 21 April 1943, a Tiger I of the 504th German heavy tank battalion, with turret number 131, was captured on a hill called Djebel Djaffa in Tunisia. A 6-pounder solid shot from a Churchill tank of the British 48th Royal Tank Regiment hit the Tiger’s gun barrel and ricocheted into its turret ring, jamming its traverse and wounding the commander. The crew bailed out and the tank was captured. After repairs, the tank was sent to England for a thorough inspection.

The captured tank was officially handed over to the Bovington Tank Museum by the British Ministry of Supply on 25 September 1951. In June 1990, the tank was removed from display at the museum and work began on its restoration. This was carried out both by the museum and the Army Base Repair Organisation and involved an almost complete disassembly of the tank. The Maybach HL230 engine from the museum’s Tiger II was installed (the Tiger’s original Maybach HL210 had been sectioned for display), along with a modern fire-suppressant system in the engine compartment. In December 2003, Tiger 131 returned to the museum, restored and in running condition. This Tiger was used in the film Fury, the first time an original, fully mechanically operable Tiger I has appeared in a movie since World War II.

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Lyrics translated here.

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