Tiger II is the common name of a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, often shortened to Tiger B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 182. It is also known under the informal name Königstiger (the German name for the Bengal tiger), often translated literally as Royal Tiger, or somewhat incorrectly as King Tiger by Allied soldiers, especially by American forces.
The Tiger II was the successor to the Tiger I, combining the latter's thick armor with the armor sloping used on the Panther medium tank. The tank weighed almost 70 metric tons, and was protected by 100 to 180 mm (3.9 to 7.1 in) of armor to the front. It was armed with the long barreled 8.8 cm KwK 43 L/71 gun. The chassis was also the basis for the Jagdtiger turretless tank destroyer.
It was issued to heavy tank battalions of the Army (Schwere Heerespanzerabteilung – abbreviated s.H.Pz.Abt) and the Waffen-SS (s.SS.Pz.Abt). It was first used in combat with s.H.Pz.Abt. 503 during the Normandy campaign on 11 July 1944; on the Eastern Front, the first unit to be outfitted with Tiger IIs was the s.H.Pz.Abt. 501, which by 1 September 1944 listed 25 Tiger IIs operational.
The Tiger II was developed late in the war and built in relatively small numbers. Orders were placed for 1,500 Tiger II — slightly more than the 1,347 Tiger I tanks produced — but Tiger II production was severely disrupted by Allied bombing.
Among others, five raids between 22 September and 7 October 1944 destroyed 95 percent of the floor area of the Henschel plant. It is estimated that this caused the loss in production of some 657 Tiger IIs.
Only 492 units were produced: one in 1943, 379 in 1944, and 112 in 1945.