It is the only Tiger tank that still works out of the nine that are preserved

The history of the Tiger 131, the large German tank that appeared in the movie 'Fury'

The Panzerkampfwagen VI, also known as the Tiger, is undoubtedly the most famous and one of the most powerful tanks of World War II.

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Designed in 1941 by the Henschel & Sohn company (which, in addition to tanks, also manufactured planes), the Tiger was the German answer to the Soviet T-34, a medium tank that the Wehrmacht encountered during the war. German invasion of the USSR in June of that year. The German tank weighed almost 58 tons, was heavily armored and its cannon was 88 mm, a small caliber by current cannons but which in World War II made it a formidable enemy for Allied tanks, whose guns had smaller calibers and whose armor was unable to withstand the Tiger's firepower.

Tiger 131 as abandoned by its crew on April 20, 1943 at Djebel Djaffa, Tunisia (Photo: The Tank Museum).

The Tiger's first appearances in combat took place at the Siege of Leningrad in September 1942, where its large size proved unsuitable for movement in wooded terrain, being limited to already prepared paths. The Western Allies first faced the Tiger in Tunisia in December 1942. This tank proved highly effective in the open terrain of North Africa, where it also offered good infantry protection. The Western Allies failed to destroy the first Tiger until 20 January 1943, and they did so not with tanks, but with a British Army anti-tank artillery battery.

British soldiers inspecting the Tiger 131 after being captured (Photo: The Tank Museum).

On April 20, 1943, Churchill tanks belonging to the 48th Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army encountered a Tiger at Djebel Djaffa, Tunisia. The German tank belonged to the 504th Heavy Tank Battalion. With less powerful guns than their rivals, the British tanks failed to destroy the Tiger, but scored three hits on their enemy, disabling its turret rotation. The crew of the Tiger left it almost intact. That tank, the Tiger 131, was the first of its kind captured, a milestone that was celebrated by the media of allied countries. King George VI and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill personally inspected the tank in Tunis, where it was repaired and displayed as a war trophy until it was shipped to the United Kingdom in October 1943.

Another image of the capture of the Tiger 131. In the background we see one of the British Churchill tanks that fought against the German tank (Photo: The Tank Museum).

In 1951, the tank was transferred to the Bovington Tank Museum, founded in 1947 in south-west England. Between 1990 and 2003 it was removed from the museum and underwent an exhaustive overhaul, being equipped with an engine from a Königstiger tank. After this process,Tiger 131 became the only working Tiger of the nine still standing today, of the more than 1,300 that were built during World War II. In 2014, the Tiger 131 appeared in the movie "Fury", starring Brad Pitt. It was the first time in 64 years that a real Tiger had appeared in a movie (movie productions typically use modified Soviet T-55 tanks to play the part).

This Friday, the channel Yarnhub published another of his excellent videos, this time dedicated to the combat in which the Tiger 131 was captured:


Lead photo: The Tiger 131 in a still from the movie "Fury" (2014).

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