About this detail of the Tiger
The later Tigers were fitted with holders on the turret sides for spare links of track. These diagrams, copied from German originals, show the form and position of the holders. Green dimensions are quoted on original German documents; blue ones are measured from various sources and may be a few millimeters wrong.
For each holder, a pin was mounted on a bracket welded to the lower turret side. This diagram shows the mounting.
There was a hinged hook on the top edge of the turret. Its part number was cast prominently on top
The number seems to consist of two parts, the letters "oKH" and below them, in larger font, the digits "2760-3". This example is in Saumur museum.
The lower and upper parts were slightly offset. They were welded at right angles to the hull armour.
The hook could be locked by putting a U-shaped metal rod into two holes.
It was first decided in May 1942 to put spare tracks on the turret sides [2, see 184.108.40.206] . The need for a turret stowage bin was not foreseen then, so a total of 15 track links were going to be attached. This diagram shows the positions they would probably have taken, and nearby fittings on the turret.
With the introduction of the standard stowage bin on the rear of the Tiger's turret, six of the planned track link holders were deleted. The remaining nine were applied to at least one turret for testing; this turret is photographed in [2, see page 108] . The track holders are spaced 195mm apart.
Testing showed that the engine hatch could not be opened any more. The rearmost holder on the right side was deleted. Film and photographic records show that a few tanks were issued with 8 holders, as shown above.
However, the hatch was still difficult to open. The links on the right-hand side were moved forwards, and a few more tanks were issued with this configuration. At least two photographs survive, one tank being used by LSSAH.
Another link was then deleted from the right-hand side, possibly to leave the vision port unobstructed. The remaining run of 'early' turrets were issued with this layout.
When the Tiger's turret was redesigned in July 1943, the track link holders were moved. They were also bunched up together, with a new spacing of only 180mm.
Some time in late September 1943, a final change was made to the layout. Without moving the two forward-most units, the holders were spaced 205mm apart. This layout was retained for the rest of the Tiger's manufacture.
This diagram shows how a track link was held in its holder. Note that only the wider 'combat' track links would fit. Also note that the track guide horns are towards the lower end of the link. The pin on the bottom support fits into the hole for the track pin.
If a track pin were dropped into the right-hand side of the link, it would come to rest like this. Photographs show that pins were often stored in the left-hand side; they would have to be locked in place somehow.(The latest version of this article)